MODEL ENGINE DESIGNER AND MANUFACTURING PROFILES
Fitzpatrick 60
No. 18 in a series compiled by David R. Janson,
SAM #273, AMA #78416 and MECA #210-04.

 

There, on page 79 of the August, 1978 Model Airplane News was the first ad for the NEW American Fitzpatrick 60 ABC Super Schnuerle model airplane engine which had the most macho advertising within memory! Described in the most glowing terms, "Rolls Royce", "Super Schnuerle", "Powerhouse", "Brute Power", etc. it blasted onto the market and within some 3-4 months had faded away.

The brothers Charles and Michael Fitzpatrick, originally of Throgs Head, NY and now from California, known for their prowess in speed circles, had teamed up with a "Swiss Craftsman" in engine assembly and tuning to offer these beauties...with checks or money orders payable to "Swisscraft"! The carburetor body as well as the exhaust and cylinder were cast in one piece, the cylinder head machined and polished, front and rear cover edges polished, a spinner nut attached, the long "elegant" silencer bolted on, the beautiful logo, "FITZPATRICK 60" cast vertically on the bypass, and the "jewel-like" insides, all promised exceptional performance. And for whatever the reasons after some 100 of the assembled engines the relationships dissolved. Those fortunate enough to obtain one of these first production engines were treated to faultless casting, machining and polishing the likes of which had never been seen before in the model engine world. All for $150 plus $3.00 shipping direct!

Some 8 years later, in the Sept. 1986 MAN an even more macho ad introducing two NEW American Fitzpatrick 61's FSR-ABC Schnuerle's by the brothers Fitzpatrick (their picture included) promised "out of sight vertical performance", again "brute torque", and "awesome" on and on about the engines (both rear and side exhaust), mufflers, headers, etc. and again noted they were "completely" manufactured in California, USA, at $169.95 for the RE, and $154.95 for the SE, from their new address 9016 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 127, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

As beautiful as the first model, the cosmetic changes were a solid polished cylinder head with small machined cooling fins surrounding the glow plug, a redesigned spinner nut, bronze carburetor "plumbing" and the "FITZPATRICK 61" logo, again vertically cast on the bypass. And astoundingly, again after a few full page ads and hoopla, the engine disappeared from the market, only to again reappear a few months later in small ads in the RCM "Readers Exchange" noting they could be obtained for $298.00 "direct". In August 1990 MECA members noted in their Swap Sheets that 100 Fitzpatrick 61's with special serial numbers had been "set aside" for them at $150 each! And suddenly all was quiet on the Fitzpatrick front once more! Estimates of possibly 200-300 engine sales in the second offering were "batted about"!

Incredible as it may sound, in 1993 the same blatant advertising again introduced to all of us modelers, this time manufactured by all new CNC equipment in Canada, and shipped to California for assembly and sales, (you guessed it) the Fitzpatrick 61 RIC etc. etc! This time the beautiful engine was distributed to a number of the larger hobby houses who discounted the $300 "retail" to initially $169-$198 each. A "spurt" of initial buying interest buoyed the Fitzpatricks but in less than two years the 61 was withdrawn suddenly from the market with America's Hobby Center selling the last of their engines in late 1994 and early 1995 some of the others. No sales total could be intelligently estimated this time, no one had tested it against the manufacturer's claims, no one had commented on it in the media except to parrot the advertising, no one had won any contests with it, but the first model Fitz 60 had become one hot collecting engine. Beautifully designed, flawlessly cast, polished and assembled, this "renegade" among engines appears to be laid to rest. Will those "determined" Fitzpatricks resurrect "it" again? Only the "Shadow" knows!

 

This page reprinted from "Model Engine Designer and Manufacturing Profiles" by permission of the author, Mr David R. Janson.

 


 

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