Edelbrock: A Legacy Of Performance And Innovation

You may be asking yourself what Edelbrock has to do with off-road truck and 4×4 vehicle performance. Edelbrock indeed has a legacy of performance and innovation when it comes to hot-rods, race cars, and street cars. After all, the first Edelbrock intake manifold was designed for a 1932 Ford Roadster with the famous flathead V-8 Ford engine. Edelbrock has always been ahead of the curve in V-8 performance and that truck you’re driving is likely also powered by a V-8 engine.

That first Edelbrock V-8 engine performance breakthrough would propel the company to design and manufacture some of the most innovative and successful V-8 engine power products for cars and trucks in the automotive aftermarket industry. Driven by a core of car and truck performance enthusiasts interested in making engines more powerful and making cars and trucks go faster, Edelbrock continues to pioneer groundbreaking performance products to this day.

Edelbrock Pro Flow 4+ EFI

Edelbrock’s Pro Flow 4+ EFI System has applications for many V-8s found in trucks, SUVs, and 4x4s.

Edelbrock Beginnings

Some can claim a couple decades of business, others still longer, but Edelbrock has a history of successful automotive performance product development that goes back nearly 100 years. 14-year-old Vic Edelbrock Sr. began his path toward automotive innovation in 1927 when he took a job as an auto mechanic in his hometown near Wichita, Kansas. He had a knack for all things mechanical, and within a few years, Vic had honed his skills and looked to Los Angeles to make a new home.

Vic’s first repair shop in Los Angeles prospered and by 1934 the growing business had moved to a larger location. From that point on, Vic Sr.’s reputation as an expert mechanic started to grow in leaps and bounds. The sentinel point in those early years was 1938 when Vic Sr. bought his very first project car–a 1932 Ford Roadster. That car was the beginning of his love of hot rods and racing. It was the spark that ignited the Edelbrock legend.

Edelbrock 1932 Ford Coupe

This is where the Edelbrock performance and innovation legacy began. Vic Sr.’s 1932 Ford Coupe was his project car.

Early Edelbrock V-8 Power

Vic Sr. was determined to get as much power out of that car as possible and that search led to the design and production of the very first Edelbrock intake manifold. It was called the Slingshot. The 180-degree manifold was topped with two Stromberg 97 carburetors. To prove his design Vic Sr. began racing and winning in his modified ’32 Ford roadster at Muroc and Rosamond Dry Lakes (both now within the confines of Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster, California) with the new intake system. He was clocked at 121.42 mph in 1941 at Rosamond Dry Lake.

The Slingshot was the first product to be branded with the Edelbrock name and it started an automotive performance equipment revolution. Vic Sr.’s Roadster was the first Edelbrock test vehicle and he would try his new ideas on it first to see how they worked. An early hit was his modified factory cast iron “Denver” cylinder heads with a high-altitude performance design. The heads were filled and milled to increase compression and power.

Flathead Ford V-8 and Slingshot intake manifold

The Edelbrock Slingshot intake manifold with its two carburetors is seen atop this flathead Ford V-8 with Edelbrock’s own cylinder heads.

Race-Bred Performance

Next came Vic Sr.’s first aluminum racing cylinder heads for flathead V-8 Fords, and the performance parts shop took off. Things got hot when Vic Sr. bought a Kurtis Kraft midget race car. With a crew that reads like a midget-racing hall of fame, the Edelbrock team became a consistent winner at tracks all over Southern California. By the early 1950s, Edelbrock-equipped cars were making their mark at Bonneville. The first car to go faster than 200 mph was the Bachelor-Xydias So-Cal Special streamliner, which was powered by a 1939 Ford V8-60 with an Edelbrock dual intake manifold and Edelbrock 9.5:1 combustion-ratio cylinder heads.

A series of new Edelbrock intake manifold designs were created for the small-block Chevy V-8 beginning in 1955, including the six-carb Ram Log manifold for street and strip. Vic Sr. scored a major industry first in 1958 when he was able to squeeze out a horsepower-per-cubic-inch from a 283cid small-block Chevy V-8 with his new Cross Ram intake manifold.

Edelbrock performance product race-bred design and testing continued to adapt to new vehicles such as the early Camaros.

After Vic Sr.’s passing in 1962, his son Vic Jr. continued to push the limits of automotive performance with newer and better Edelbrock technology for many decades. Among those are Edelbrock’s first single-bbl intake manifold (CB4) for the Chevy small-block 327, the first aftermarket complete EFI system including distributor for the small-block Chevy V-8 in 1976, and the Edelbrock Pro-Flo EFI system for other engine families in 1992.

Edelbrock Investment in America

One of the other things about Edelbrock that sets it apart from many of today’s car and truck performance equipment manufacturers is its first foundry established in 1990 and located near Hemet, California. A second plant was opened in the same location in 2007. Edelbrock is an American company invested in American industry.

Edelbrock Jeep 4.0 liter cylinder head

Current Edelbrock performance products include an aluminum cylinder head for the 1987 to 2006 4.0-liter Jeep inline-six and 1976 to 1990 AMC 4.2-liter inline-six.

These two U.S.-based foundries provide Edelbrock with state-of-the-art casting and manufacturing ability that allows the company to produce high-quality car and truck engine performance products with American-made value and quality. The Edelbrock foundries specialize in sand metal casting, core production, pattern making, heat treating, machining, and engineering. Its facilities are so highly regarded that other companies such as Mercury Racing, GM Performance Parts, Ford Racing, and Advance Adapters are among its roster of clients.

Edelbrock Today

Most of Edelbrock’s product research and design was aimed at V-8s in those early years, and those early lessons were transferred to other V-8 engines (including those found in trucks and SUVs) of multiple brands as the company grew. Edelbrock’s current engine performance equipment offerings range from standards such as its intake manifolds and cylinder heads to carburetors and ignition systems.

Edelbrock off-road carburetor conversion kit

The Edelbrock off-road conversion kit with its spring-loaded jets can be used on popular Edelbrock carburetors to improve off-camber fuel delivery performance.

In addition to the many V-8 engine cylinder heads Edelbrock offers is an aluminum performance head for the very popular 4.0L inline-six-cylinder AMC/Jeep engine. Edelbrock continues to make its famous off-road conversion kit for several carburetors that help avoid fuel flooding during off-camber driving situations. Edelbrock even offers ready-to-go crate engines for several different vehicle applications.

Always on the cutting edge of automotive performance technology, Edelbrock’s fuel injection systems came into the company’s offerings early in the fuel-injection movement, and its new Pro-Flo 4+ EFI system for a variety of truck engines continues to make its mark on the automotive performance equipment landscape. Today, Edelbrock can provide off-road enthusiasts with everything needed to make more power under the hood of their pickup truck, SUV, or 4×4 vehicle. For more details about how Edelbrock can help put some kick back in your pickup, SUV, or 4×4, check out the Edelbrock website.

Article Sources

About the author

Stuart Bourdon

A passion for anything automotive (especially off-road vehicles), camping, and photography led to a life exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and Baja, and a career in automotive, outdoor, and RV journalism.
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