Years after his death, Victor Edelbrock lives! Many years in fact. His company, Edelbrock, LLC has survived him by more than five decades.
He’s known to some as the founder of one of the greatest performance automotive companies ever. He’s known to others as the father of the American hot rod movement. Whatever he is to you, his innovative ideas in business and engineering have helped to define today’s aftermarket car parts industry.
Born in 1913, Edelbrock lived his early adult years during World War II. Of course we’ve all heard stories about rationed gasoline, but did you know that auto racing was temporarily banned as well? While working to support the war effort by day, he discreetly developed high performance car parts in his spare time.
Because of this, Edelbrock, LLC eventually gained a massive advantage over those who had completely retooled to make tanks and bombers. After the war, his business was distinguished as one of the greatest in the rapidly expanding aftermarket automotive world. Their success survives to this day.
But what could have caused such an obsession with car parts? People used their time carefully back then. If you weren’t working, you were fighting on the front lines. Whether you were a soldier or a mechanic, precious nights with the family were not given up easily. And for good reason.
Pearl Harbor had left us speechless. We could do nothing but wonder if all that bloodshed and destruction would come here. So what possessed this man to divert so much of his mind to head gaskets and intake manifolds?
Automobiles are an integral part of American culture. They have been ever since their initial inception. To some, they’re simply just that wonderful.
But something few people seem to remember about Edelbrock’s era is the prohibition of alcohol. Whatever your opinion about whether the stuff is fit for human consumption, that nasty little bugger of an amendment plagued our country with gangsters and murder for more than ten years.
These guys were willing to do anything to avoid capture. Upgrading a vehicle’s performance was one of their best ways to avoid a savagely violent encounter with the law. Of course an upstanding citizen like Mr. Edelbrock couldn’t possibly have been involved in bootlegging.
Could he? Some fail to see the correlation, but Prohibition and the feverish outbreak of high performance motoring all across the country happened right around the same time.
Victor Edelbrock was just as much of a businessperson as he was an automotive enthusiast. Not only did he develop some of the latest high performance technology of his time, but his company is sort of like an intrinsic little bit of America’s hot rod culture.
He passed away in 1962 but Edelbrock, LLC is still going strong. In fact, Vic Edelbrock Jr took over the company immediately after his father’s death, and has since retired from a long and successful career.
Great things stand the test of time. And Edelbrock, LLC continues to flourish long after it’s forefathers have left the stage. Ten years after going public in 1994 they decided to buy themselves back.
I guess they figured the old way was better. And after enduring the economic storms of this generation and the last, they really might be on to something.