In 1943, Robert Paxton McCulloch founded the McCulloch Motors Company in Wisconsin, which moved to California some years later. There McCulloch Motors produced a two-man chainsaw, the Model 5-49 before beginning to market a one-man chainsaw. This was a light chain saw called the Model 3-15. In the 1950s, the company became the McCulloch Corporation, whose products ranged from go-kart to airplane engines.
McCullouch fantasized about producing a unique sports car that would appeal to the ultra wealthy. In 1950 he set out to do that. In 1953, he created the Paxton Phoenix Steam Car, with styling by Brooks Stevens.