1960, A great year of American manufacturing.


Vern and I worked in my shop today making parts for CC #39 and for stock. It was a record warm day here, 85F, but there was a nice breeze all day. When taking a break to throw lunch on the grill, we spent a few minutes at my back yard range with a magnificent piece of American hardware made in 1960. A Colt Python



Above, 1960 was the very first year of GM producing the Corvair. It was a very innovative design, it was awarded “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend. This Python was made by Clot the same year. Pythons started production in 1955. You will get some argument from S&W 686 fans, but the Python is arguable the finest revolver ever made. The 57 year old example in my hand is worth several thousand dollars. The round in my palm is a .357 magnum, itself an American classic from 1935 and still a very useful powerhouse today.



Above, Detail on the barrel. It is comparatively easy to shoot with great accuracy, even with full power ammunition. It is a perfectly engineered masterpiece, from an era when companies had great pride in their reputations, and their craftsmen were encouraged to design and make outstanding products that would last. They make plenty of good firearms today, but it is very hard to imaging most of them holding an interest  57 years from now. The same point can be made about the Corvair engine headed to power your aircraft. Some people understand classic things, other people just like consumer stuff. To each their own, but I know what I personally think is worth my attention.



Above, a size comparison, Python vs. Corvair cam gear. It fills the hand but doesn’t seem heavy nor awkward. Next time you are looking at an aviation magazine and studying the stuff presented as “new and exciting” ask yourself it anyone will be using it in 5 years, far less 50.





About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

7 Responses to 1960, A great year of American manufacturing.

  1. Douglas says:

    Love my all original Model .357 with 6″ barrel. My dad bought it new in 1954. Seriously accurate gun!

  2. Earnest Fontenot says:

    I must agree that 1960 production was an excellent year. Me, being born that year, doesn’t mean I’m biased in any way whatsoever, of course.

  3. George Gay says:

    Love the Colt Python. Was used in the movie, Electra Glide in Blue.

  4. Pj Jacobsen says:

    question on the revolver, when you quickly fire 5 or six rounds have you had any trouble ejecting the shells? Ive seen many magnum revolvers do this. Shoot .38 specials and there is no problem ejecting the shells. Its got to be the added heat from the hotter load and im wondering if 60 yo steel was the same back then as now.

    • It didn’t have any issues, just a touch on the ejector rod. I think it may also have to do with how smooth the surface finish is on the inside of the cylinder, giving the expanded case little to drag on.

  5. Sten says:

    How true. Magnificent Piece. Early Pythons had that stunning deep luster finish & from the factory the fit and finish of the lockwork was not to be improved. The distinct sounding engagement of parts when cocked spells Perfection.
    Only weakness was the missing front yoke lock, why careless handling & hot rod handloading would spring the yoke.

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