A born mechanical genius, Vic Edelbrock Sr. would have an impact on hot rodding unlike anyone else. His inventiveness, ability to create extraordinary performance from ordinary engines and ingenuity and dedication to engine building earned him a legacy that will last forever.
Born in Kansas in 1913, Vic Sr. grew up in a comfortable manner supported by the family grocery store. His jobs in auto repair shops soon earned him a reputation and some good money for a young kid. However the Great Depression left most of Kansas destitute and Vic was soon on his way to California.
In 1933 Edelbrock opened his first shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Business soon grew and so he moved again to Hoover and Venice where he took on a young kid by the name of Bobby Meeks. In 1938, Edelbrock bought his first “project car”, a 1932 roadster. This was to be the vehicle and entry into the hot rod road and the dominance of Edelbrock at the dry lakes. It would also serve as a testing ground for new Edelbrock products.
With the help of Tommy Thickston he designed a manifold for the flathead motor. However, unhappy with the performance, Edelbrock went on to design the Slingshot, a manifold that was to revolutionize the flathead engine. The 180 degree manifold used two Stromberg carburetors and had instant success at the dry lakes. In November of 1941 he clocked a speed of 121.42 at Rosamond.
During the war Edelbrock put his mechanical skills to good use helping fabricate aircraft parts. This work also gave him valuable machine experience and led to the invention of more speed equipment, including aluminum racing heads for flatheads.
After the war Edelbrock was consumed with midget racing. With chief wrench Bobby Meeks, the Edelbrock team soon made a reputation for themselves beating out the Offys with their V8-60s. Edelbrock also started a catalogue to sell speed equipment countrywide. With the help of Hot Rod magazine and the superior equipment being built, the Edelbrock speed shop was on its way to becoming the premier equipment manufacturer. Further, their success on the lakes, drag strips and Bonneville solidified their reputation as The Best.
The mid Forties and Fifties saw some of the most famous hot rods come out of the Edelbrock shop including: Bachelor/Xydias So Cal special; don Waite’s ’27 T (later called the Edelbrock Special) and the Pierson Bros famous 2D coupe.