Northfield-Ross Power Four
No. 2 in a series compiled by David R. Janson,
SAM #273, AMA #78416 and MECA #210-04.


In the early 1970's a buyer paid $465.00 for the Northfield-Ross Power Four cylinder model airplane engine, to out-Jones all the Joneses and have one of the most magnificent and uniquely designed, compact and lightweight engines ever "put out!" Louis Ross, the designer and manufacturer had a demonstration trick of starting the engine on only one cylinder and then adding the next three one at a time until the screeming sound of all four cylinders was blasting away. Impressive!

Back in 1968 when Ross was finishing up the design prototypes of his soon-to-be produced twin 60, he envisioned many more types of engines at Concord and West, his company in Great Neck, NY. He began with various twins, then the magnificent four and six, added a neat inline twin 60 and did a "few" sixties along the way for good measure.

In all, between 1968 and the early 1980's when the Model Rectifier Corp. of New Jersey produced his gold head "improved" twin 60, 1,300 opposed twins, 275 in-line twin 60s, 92 fours and less than 60 six-cylinders had been manufactured. At that time in 1984, engine buff Jimmy Robertson of St. Joe, Mo., went to the MRC Corp. and purchased all the remaining stock and the "Rosspower" name and began assembling and selling the last of the engines and parts from his home. Included were parts for 62 last model Ross 60 R/C MkII engines with the highlighted stallion on the bypass and the anodized red head.

After selling what he could, Robertson sold the "remains of the remains" to one Jim Wood of Naples, Fla. Wood for whatever reason after finally taking delivery of the stuff hardly unpacked them and they sat in his home for years, while he was trying to locate a buyer. Then in the Nov. 1994 issue of the MECA Swap Sheet, one Richard Kommen solicited business to manufacture the Ross line with "limited gold editions, and choosing ones own serial number." A second plea for interest in the project was Kommen's ad in the Jan. 1995 Swap Sheet. So it "sounds" as if the project is dead at this time. Louis Ross, after selling the project to MRC and not really having been involved since 1974, continued his research and development interests building various experimental engines ranging in size from 10cc to over 1,000 cc's. His giant scale twins and fours were the hit of the 1983 Toledo show. Mr. Ross is now living in retirement in Tucson, Arizona.

For those of us interested in the "particulars" of the magnificent Rosspower 4, the following is noted. It is a horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, two-strokecycle, glowplug model airplane engine with a four ball bearing supported steel shaft. It has a reed valve (a la Cox) induction and synchronized twin Perry carburetors. It weighs 28.4 oz with exhaust manifolds and has a displacement of 1.206 cu. in. Specific power output is 1.30 bhp. The engine is anodized black with attractive bright aluminum highlights and has provision for both regular and inverted beam mounting. The engine brochures, themselves, are works of art. The extremely smooth running of the Rosspower Four is due primarily to the engines inherently superior balance and to its 180 degree firing intervals. All four cylinders are equally opposed, not staggered. The propellor size range is from 14/6 to 18/6.

It is apparent to the writer that with the exception of some twins and 60's this line of engines is safely ensconced in collections around the world. Prices currently asked, if one can find any Ross for sale, are out-of-sight! The original Ross engines are of major collecting interest to date and because of their small production numbers will undoubtedly remain of great interest.


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



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