The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

William James "Scotty" Hewitt

Added to museum: 3/19/09

Three-time winner of the Machinist's Challenge Contest at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Detroit

Scotty Hewitt holds one of his prize-winning contest entries, a miniature CO2 powered racecar. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Building engines for the fun of it.

When Joe Martin decided to go sports car racing in the early 1990's he first had to get a competition license through the Sports Car Club of America. One of his instructors, Scotty Hewitt, shared his interest in fine tools and small, precision projects. They each had some knowledge the other wanted, so they worked out a trade—race car driving lessons in exchange for miniature tools and some basic machining instruction. To be honest, each later admitted they didn't think the other had much chance at being successful, but fortunately both were proven wrong. Joe went on to race vintage cars and Formula Ford, winning the San Diego Region Formula Ford title in the 1990's. Scotty went on to win one of the few contests for miniature machining in the world not just once but three times.

One of the things about Scotty's work that Joe and others found attractive was the sense of "fun" that he seemed to be able to capture in his work. His race cars had a "play-with-me" quality to them that made them attractive to contest voters of all ages—the spectators at the model engineering show. Even his steam engines were displayed in tiny tugboats or wooden launches that looked like they would be great fun to play with. His "Wee Toy" Stirling engine would turn over 1500 RPM on just the heat from a cup of coffee.

Toss in his background of exciting experiences in the world of speed, his "colorful" turn of phrase (cover the kids' ears) and his exuberant attitude and you have a person most craftsmen would enjoy spending some time with. Here's a little more about the man and his fun creations.

Scotty Hewitt—Racer and Craftsman

Being a native of Glasgow Scotland, Wm. James Hewitt has become known as “Scotty” due to his uniquely colorful Glasgow accent. During the 1950's, Scotty’s racing involvement began in Scotland and has not stopped yet. In his career he has raced against the legendary Jim Clark, crewed for the famous “Ecurie Ecosse” team in Europe, raced speedway bikes and stock (saloon) cars in Britain, and run Jaguars in Cal Club races during the 60's and 70's. From l985 to 1996 he held a half dozen Regional Championships in GT-5 and G Production, driving Datsuns and Triumph Spitfires. Scotty has been an SCCA driver instructor for many years and received “Driver Instructor of the Year” award from Cal Club in 1996.

After a long career as a mechanic for Jaguar cars, Scotty worked with Jaguar, Rover, Triumph, Maserati, Lotus and Jensen automobiles as a service engineer representing the factory and working for the importer. This was an opportunity to travel to Italy, France, Canada and Hawaii, where he always looked for unique toys during the trips.

In 1973 he started a mail order business with a catalog, “Miniature Cars of the World”, which started the toy business that has kept his interest to date.  The Wee Toy Shop in Sherman Oaks was opened in 1993 but was destroyed by the Jan. 17, 1994 earthquake.

Scotty's prize winning model from the 1997 Machinist's Challenge contest, a quarter-midget type race car powered by a CO2 engine exhibits more engine detail than the previous model as well as a diorama backdrop of a dirt track to better display the model. The proportions and function of this project display the sense of "fun" that comes through in Scotty's work. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Award winning models

Scotty has turned his mechanical engineering skills into a combination of toys that really do something. The micro machining began with purchase of a Sherline Products lathe and mill, then produced in San Marcos and now Vista, California. The Sherline Machinist's Challenge, which was then held at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Wyandotte, Michigan, was and still is open to world-wide entries. The competition was irresistible for Mr. Hewitt, who proceeded to win third place in 1993, first and fifth place in 1994 and then first in both1995 and 1996. Another award was from the Pacific Rim International Model Engineering Exhibition, Sept. 1997 in the "Steam Engines, Marine" category.

Here are several examples of Scotty Hewitt's work:

(Click photos for larger images.)

Steam Engines

Scotty's V4 marine steam shows a wealth of details in a compact size--the block is only about 1" long. It is a 60% size model of an engine designed by Jan Gunnarsson in the 1970's. As on the original, the throttle, lubricator, drain valve and forward/reverse mechanism are all functional.

The engine was originally displayed in a wooden launch and won first prize in the Machinist's Challenge contest in 1995.A proper display sets off the 4-cylinder engine, giving it a sense of size and purpose.

  A small—but not his smallest—steam engine.
  This display board has three very tiny steam engines of different configurations. Each engine has an air line going to it so they can be run on compressed air at a show or for a demonstration.
The double acting steam engine on the far right of the board is the smallest. It has a horizontally positioned oscillating cylinder and a flywheel on a shaft that drives a pulley.
The center engine in the display is another single action engine with a vertical orientation.
 The final engine (left side of the display board) is similar to but about twice the size of the engine on the right. It drives a pinion gear as a power take-off.
This steam engine and pump circulates water in the tank at the left.
  A very tiny steam engine and boiler is modeled inside this plastic tugboat. Though the boiler is too small to be actually fired, the engine does power the boat's propeller shaft when run on compressed air.

Two overall views of the tiny tugboat, J.C. Tanner. The boat is about 5" from stem to stern, and the cabin is removable to show the powerplant. Scotty said it "ran like crazy" in the bathtub when air line was connected to the engine.

An in-line 4-cylinder compressed air engine.

Limited Production "Wee Toy" Stirling Engine


Scotty's "Wee Toy" was designed using modern, light-weight materials to update the venerable Stirling engine design of the 1800's, making it highly efficient. Scotty designed the prototype and had a machine shop build enough parts for him to assemble about 100 of these unique toys for sale. Place it on a hot cup of coffee and put an ice cube on the top surface and the differential in temperature between the top and bottom surface is enough to turn the flywheel at about 1500 RPM. It came with a nice little instruction manual too explaining how a Stirling engine works.

CO2 Powered Racecars

Scotty's first CO2 powered race car, #7 was a first place winner in the 1996 Machinist's Challenge contest. Voters young and old agreed it had a certain toy-like charm that drew their attention. A small cylinder is charged with CO2 to power the geared rear end. Scotty carved both the body and the driver by hand too.

A second race car, the yellow #9 followed up the '96 contest win with another in 1997. This time Scotty added more engine detail and a bit of race track as a display base to put the car in a dirt track setting. The name on the wall, "Willow Springs Raceway" was where Scotty taught Joe Martin the techniques of driving a sports car to win.

Racing Career Photos
Scotty's first win in a stock car race in Glasgow in 1961. He won what for him at the time was the equivalent of 4 month's salary in one race, beating the 1961 Stock Car Champion Jock Lloyd. Lloyd told him after the race, "If you don't die, you will be a hell of a racer!"
Scotty helped prepare and tested this Donald Healey Sprite for the race at Lemans in 1961. The car was totaled at White House corner by driver Bill Mckey. Scotty's face can just be seen in the far upper left corner of the photo.
The Triumph Spitfire in which Scotty won the 1990 G-Production SCCA Southern California Regional Championship.
This is a Datsun GT5 which Scotty won the 1986 Southern California Regional Championship.  Also, this car was the Nevada Regional Championship winner in 1991 at Las Vegas.
Scotty was one of the drivers to test the Star Formula Mazdas at the Streets of Willow (Willow Springs Raceway) in March, 1991. Scotty is in the white jacket walking behind the red car.

horizontal rule

New Submissions Welcomed

If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.

horizontal rule

This section is sponsored by

Makers of precision miniature machine tools and accessories. Sherline tools are made in the USA.

Sherline is proud to confirm that Scotty Hewitt uses Sherline tools and components fro some of his small projects.

To learn how your company or organization can sponsor a section in the Craftsmanship Museum, please contact


Copyright 2009, The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. All rights reserved.
 No part of this web site, including the text, photos or illustrations, may be reproduced or transmitted in any other form or by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise) for commercial use without the prior written permission of The Joe Martin Foundation. Reproduction or reuse for educational and non-commercial use is permitted.