This week I had the chance to interview someone that’s been on my bucket list since the inception of this show: Vic Edelbrock Jr! Vic has been a pillar of the aftermarket industry since (basically) it’s inception, and I’ve been fascinated at how Edelbrock the company has continued to be a leader of innovation, while simultaneously being a mainstay product. It’s likely that nearly everyone reading or listening has run an Edelbrock intake manifold, so I was glad to get the chance to do interview with the living legend.
Vic grew up with cars and racing, heavily influenced by his father, Vic Edelbrock Sr. who launched the mighty Edelbrock corporation….from a humble service station. As a young person Vic Jr. raced midgets and dreamed of flying airplanes. He applied to the ROTC for the Air Force which at the time was a three year program.
However, when the government later changed the program to a five year commitment he decided that staying away from his father that long was not what he wanted to do and decided to no longer pursued his flying career. This eventually opened the door to later run the family business and continue the legacy of Edelbrock performance.
In the early years his father started racing the family car, and it was truly there that the performance business started. The car was a 1932 flathead V8 Ford and he raced on the dry lakes against inline Chevy six cylinder cars.
Vic Sr learned that he could use Methanol as a fuel to lower the cylinder temperatures, and he could then raise the compression to get back the performance that was lost due to detonation when using regular fuel. This innovation allowed him to run 121.5 mph and helped start the V8 revolution.
Of course this was at a time when flathead V8s were not considered performance engines.Years later (1952) Ford decided to discontinue the flathead and of course everyone thought the performance industry was going to die with it. Vic Sr was able to start producing performance products and sold them even before World War 2 and evolved his products with the times after the flathead was discontinued.
In 1962 Vic Sr died of cancer and Vic Jr took control of the family business at just 26 years old. Many employees were naturally nervous about the transition, but with the guidance of seasoned advisers, the voice of his father in his mind, and his wife by his side, he successfully grew the business and made it the performance powerhouse it is today.
Edelbrock carburetors are a staple of the performance industry today but that was not always the case. Vic related the story of how Hot Rod magazine asked for an article about Edelbrock intake manifolds. Vic had heard about a high volume Holley carb that would be produced for a 1965 Chevelle.
He tried the Holley carb in combination with the Edelbrock manifold and it worked great! They wrote up the article and submitted it and readers ate it up. After the article came out Vic got a call from Holley saying to let them know next time they are going to do this as they sold out their stock of the limited run carb in 20 minutes! This article forced Holley into the performance carburetor market which Edelbrock itself now dominates.
Vic still loves to race cars and enjoys developing new Edelbrock performance parts. He told me that you have to learn to change with the trends to stay in business and they are currently developing new fuel injection systems and supercharger systems to work with even the latest vehicles. Edelbrock’s systems are designed to work together as a whole or individually so you can build your project at your own pace. Vic is determined to build everything he can in the USA and only outsource products they cannot build otherwise. He says it has been a lot of fun and is still a lot of fun everyday working with cars and high performance.
Thanks for the great interview Vic!
This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!
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