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Hassad Custom .61

The Hassad Custom was a .61 cuin spark ignition racing engine which was individually hand-crafted in relatively small numbers by Ira Hassad of San Diego, California, USA during the period 1946/47. Unusually for an all-out racing engine of its day, it featured crankshaft front rotary valve (FRV) induction, a layout which Hassad clearly continued to favour despite the ever-improving performances of the disc rear rotary valve (RRV) opposition. 

Apart from its use of FRV induction, the Hassad Custom was also distinguished by its front exhaust layout. Combined with its two spectacular exhaust stacks and prominent intake venturi, this gave the Custom a unique appearance among contemporary racing engines. The engine was made with both ringed and lapped pistons. All models featured twin ball-race main bearings. 

The Custom proved to be a formidable competitor when competently prepared, giving the RRV models all that they could handle. The quality of its construction was up to the very highest standards. Both of these factors allowed Hassad to charge a premium price for the engines, which sold in 1946 for $45 - considerably more than any competing model at the time. Despite this, Ira was able to sell all of the engines that he could make. Production ended in 1947 when Ira went to work for EDCO developing their well-known Sky Devil. 

Original and unmodified examples of the Hassad Custom are extremely rare today. The illustrated example is one of a series of some 50 superb replicas made by the very talented constructor Don Sohn of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. 

The full story of this and other Hassad engines may be found in the detailed Ira Hassad article which appears elsewhere on this web site. 

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