Edelbrock

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Edelbrock, LLC
Type Private company
Industry Automotive aftermarket
Founded Beverly Hills, California, USA (1938)
Founder(s) Victor Edelbrock, Sr.
Headquarters

Torrance, California

33°50′29.05″N 118°19′55.55″W / 33.8414028°N 118.3320972°W / 33.8414028; -118.3320972 (Edelbrock Headquarters)Coordinates: 33°50′29.05″N 118°19′55.55″W / 33.8414028°N 118.3320972°W / 33.8414028; -118.3320972 (Edelbrock Headquarters)
Key people Victor Edelbrock, Jr., Chairman, John Colaianne, President
Products Automotive parts
Motorcycle Parts
Revenue Increase $125.98 million USD (2004)[1]
Net income Increase $3.49 million USD (2004)[1]
Employees 722 (2004)[1]
Divisions Automotive
Motorcycle
Russell plumbling
Shock absorbers
Foundry
Website edelbrock.com

Edelbrock, LLC is a specialty performance automotive and motorcycle aftermarket parts manufacturer based in Torrance, California. The company has five locations, including four in Torrance: its headquarters, a distribution center and museum, the Russell division (which also houses the shock manufacturing center), and the exhaust plant. Its foundry is in San Jacinto, California.

Vic Edelbrock founded the corporation in 1938. When his desire to increase the performance of his 1932 Ford Roadster led him to design a new intake manifold,[2] friends and fellow drivers soon wanted one as well. This transformed his repair garage into a parts manufacturing enterprise, making one-of-a-kind equipment for automobiles. In many ways, Vic Edelbrock helped to invent the automotive aftermarket parts industry.[3]

Today, Edelbrock manufactures over 8,000 automotive parts for racers and hobbyists, focusing on increased performance. The company relies on online and catalog resellers and thus offers no direct sales for the bulk of its catalog.

Vic Edelbrock[edit]

Edelbrock's garage on the corner of Hancock and Avalon in Los Angeles. ca. 1930's

Vic Edelbrock Sr. was born in a small farming community near Wichita, Kansas in 1913. After the family grocery store burned down in 1927, he left school at the age of 14 to help support the family by ferrying Model T Fords from Wichita to the many outlying farms in the area. The frequent stops to replace parts that shook loose on the region's dirt roads made him an expert in impromptu repair work.[4][5] Soon after, he found work in a local repair shop, working as an auto mechanic.[6]

When the Great Depression hit in 1931, Edelbrock went to California to live with his brother, Carl. Initially, he moved in with his brother and took a job as an auto mechanic. In order to earn some extra money to open his own repair shop, Edelbrock took an evening job in downtown Los Angeles parking cars at a large apartment complex. It was a chance encounter at this parking complex where he bumped into the 19-year-old Irish woman, Katherine (Katie) Collins, who was working as a day maid. Despite the fact that Katie was engaged, Edelbrock convinced her to give him a chance and not marry her fiancé. They married in June 1933, just eight weeks after meeting.[4]

As a 22-year-old, Edelbrock teamed up with his new brother-in-law to open his first automobile repair shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.[5] Business flourished and in 1934 Edelbrock moved into his own shop on the corner of Venice Blvd and Hoover in Los Angeles.[4] Business continued to grow rapidly and he moved his shop three more times in the 1930s.[7] In 1936, Katie Edelbrock gave birth to Vic, Jr., the couple's only child.[4]

Slingshot[edit]

Edelbrock's first commercial product: The Slingshot manifold

In 1938 Vic Edelbrock bought his first project car, a 1932 Ford Roadster. In his desire to increase the performance, he joined with Tommy Thickstun to design a new intake manifold for the roadster's flathead engine.[2] Unhappy with the performance of that manifold, Edelbrock designed his own, nicknamed The Slingshot.[8] Most importantly, the new manifold allowed two Stromberg 97 carburetors to be used, eliminating a bottleneck that limited horsepower for the engine.[9] The manifold was tested for quality at the Rosamond dry lakes (occupied today by Edwards Air Force Base), which was a testing ground for Edelbrock and many other car clubs and racing associations.[5] After stripping off the fenders and hubcaps, on November 16, 1941, Edelbrock drove the car in 7.41 seconds at a speed of 121.45 mph (195.45 km/h), achieving a national speed record in the flying quarter mile.[10][11] Originally, he had no intention of producing any additional manifolds, but the overwhelming response following his phenomenal speed in a 1932 Ford prompted Edelbrock to make more. This was the first product he sold commercially and marked the beginning of the company as it is known today. Edelbrock ultimately manufactured 100 of the Slingshot manifolds.[4]

Early years[edit]

Edelbrock's first catalog (1946)

During World War II, Edelbrock's machinist skills were put to work welding in the Todd Shipyards in Long Beach hand fabricating aircraft parts. Because of a ban on auto racing by the Office of Defense Transportation, there was no racing during the war, but Edelbrock secretly designed and developed a new line of products.[4] After the war, he produced aluminum racing cylinder heads, in addition to manifolds, which quickly gained him notability among hot rodding hobbyists. Parts to increase an engine's performance were not readily available, so racers built their own. Soon Edelbrock found himself building pieces first for his friends and then for customers.[12]

To deal with the enormous amount of mail he was receiving, in 1946 Edelbrock created the company's first catalog, Edelbrock Power and Speed Equipment, with the help of Pete Petersen. This hastened the transformation of the Edelbrock company from a repair garage into a performance parts manufacturer. Then, in 1947, Edelbrock produced the first cylinder heads for the Ford flathead.

One of the first companies to use an engine dynamometer, Edelbrock moved to a 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) "purpose-built" shop in 1949 to develop more manifolds, cylinder heads and racing pistons. In the early 1950s, he continued to dominate the dry lakes and expanded his racing to the Bonneville Speedway.[4]

Racing[edit]

After the war, the California Roadster Association (CRA) was formed to run auto races with roadsters that raced on oval track and attempted land speed records on dry salt flat lakes. After World War II, the sanctioning body began sanctioning sprint car races.[13] In 1946, Edelbrock decided to expand his involvement into midget car racing, purchasing a car made by Frank Kurtis. In addition to racing the car, he wanted a test bench for the racing products he was developing.[14] Edelbrock's team toured the dirt track racing circuit of Southern California with flathead guru Bobby Meeks tuning the cars.[15] Many famous drivers, including two Indianapolis 500 winners, were in the ranks of the Edelbrock team, including Walt Faulkner, Perry Grimm, Cal Niday, Danny Oakes, Harry Stockman, Bill Vukovich, Rodger Ward and Bill Zaring.[14][16]

The famed #27 Edelbrock midget racing car

A major claim to fame for Edelbrock was beating all the Offenhauser-powered midget cars that had dominated midget car racing for several years; this feat was remarkable because Offenhausers had a significant power advantage over all the other motors.[17] Using his Kurtis Kraft V8-60 "shaker" midget car powered by a secret blend of 20% nitromethane (disguised with the scent of orange oil),[10] Rodger Ward made history on August 10, 1950, when his Edelbrock-powered #27 car broke the winning streak of the "Offy"-equipped midget cars at Gilmore Stadium, the track that originated midget car racing.[17] This was the only V8-60 to ever beat the Offys in the Gilmore 386-Race history.[18] The same car raced at the Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino the following night, again beating the Offenhauser cars.[19] This feat was never duplicated in the history of midget racing.[12] Edelbrock was not the only racer in the period to experiment with nitromethane; fellow racers Joaquin Arnett and Tony Capanna had tried it in their hot rods, as well. Edelbrock, however, is generally considered to be the one who pulled it all together and made it work.[20]

Turning point[edit]

Edelbrock's best selling product: The Chevy small-block intake manifold

Until 1955, Edelbrock made parts only for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln.[8] Few things affected the company (as well as the development of the hot rod market) more than the development of the Chevrolet Small-Block engine (also known as the Gen I) in 1955. Chevrolet delivered three Gen I engines to Edelbrock for experimentation. He used one engine for testing on a dynamometer and another to test multi-carb manifolds for magazine articles. He prepared the third engine for boat builder Henry Lauterback, who immediately set two world records in Miami, Florida.[4]

In 1958, Edelbrock managed an industry first by designing and achieving one horsepower-per-cubic-inch from a 283 cid small-block Chevy with his new Cross Ram Manifold. This breakthrough led him to begin producing manifolds for Pontiac and Chrysler engines.[8]

Another critical turning point in the company's history was the 1964 decision to build a small-block Chevy intake manifold for a 4-barrel carburetor. The C-4B manifold, developed with help from Bob Joehnck, opened the door to a new line of performance products. Although competing with the factory was a risky proposition, it turned out to be a beneficial one, as it allowed the company to expand into a new market.[21]

Growth[edit]

Edelbrock's corporate headquarters in Torrance, California

In 1962, cancer claimed the life of Victor Edelbrock, Sr. at the age of 49. At the time, the company consisted of ten employees and annual sales were $450,000.[22] Edelbrock was succeeded by his only son, 26-year-old Vic Edelbrock, Jr.[23] Vic Jr., who had graduated in 1958 with a degree in business from USC, became President and Chief Executive Officer, a position he held until 2010.[24]

The company joined SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association) as a charter member in the 1960s, with Vic Edelbrock, Jr. serving as president from 1971 to 1974. Edelbrock had been elected in a crucial time in the history of SEMA;[11] Congress enacted the Clean Air Act in 1971 and established the Environmental Protection Agency, which targeted the air pollution caused by internal combustion engines.[4]

When gas prices soared in the 1970s, Edelbrock produced its Streetmaster line of intake manifolds that featured improved mileage, as well as performance.[5]

In 1987, Edelbrock moved its facilities to its current location in Torrance, California, where it remains today. The five-building corporate facility occupies over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2).[2] In 1990, Edelbrock built a 73,000-square-foot (6,800 m2) sand-cast aluminum foundry in San Jacinto, which employed 75 to 100 workers, and gave the company the ability to increase production according to market demands.[25]

In 1994, the Edelbrock corporation went public, selling shares of stock on the NASDAQ stock exchange. This initially raised $21 million, which was used mainly for construction of a new exhaust division in Torrance near its main facilities.[26]

Russell logo

In 2000, Russell Performance Plumbing, a company that manufactures fittings and hoses, was acquired by Edelbrock. The company, which had been based in Florida, was relocated to Torrance by 2001.

As of June 30, 2004, the company employed 722 persons, and achieved revenues of $125.98 million USD.[1] Since the company went private again in 2004, revenue findings have not been available to the general public.

On June 7, 2010, the Chicago-based private equity firm Industrial Opportunity Partners(IOP) announced their strategic investment in the Edelbrock corporation. With $185 million of committed capital, IOP focuses on acquiring and managing middle-market manufacturing and value-added distribution businesses. Edelbrock also became a limited liability corporation (LLC). At the same time, Edelbrock announced a new acting president. John Colaianne, a member of IOP's board of operating principles replaced Vic Edelbrock, who has served as president since 1962. Vic Edelbock remains chairman on the board of directors.[27][28]

Sponsorship[edit]

The Edelbrock sticker on a NASCAR racecar

Edelbrock does not sponsor a NASCAR team, but instead engages in advertising through a $250,000 per year (2004) contract with NASCAR by which the Edelbrock contingency sticker is placed on every NASCAR race car. Contingency is a common form of "after the fact" sponsorship whereby racers place stickers on their vehicles from companies that post monetary awards to racing teams for winning, in exchange for the right to use images of winning drivers and their cars in promotional literature and advertising.

Edelbrock also posts contingency awards to drag racers, including those classes of racers who engage in racing as a hobby. Since 2002, Edelbrock has been the title sponsor of the PRO Edelbrock Drag Racing Series, which features both professional and sportsman racing classes. The racing series includes seven classes of heads-up style racing and three classes of index style racing.[29]

Timeline[edit]

  • 1913 - Vic Edelbrock, Sr. is born
  • 1927 - Family grocery store burns down
  • 1931 - Edelbrock moves to California
  • 1933 - Edelbrock marries Katie Collins, opens his first repair shop on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles
  • 1934 - Edelbrock moves into a shop on Venice and Hoover in Los Angeles
  • 1936 - Vic Edelbrock, Jr. is born
  • 1938 - Edelbrock buys a 1932 Ford Roadster and designs the first Edelbrock product: the Slingshot manifold
  • 1941 - Sept 28 - Edelbrock sets land speed record in a V8 roadster
  • 1941-45 - Edelbrock contributes to the WWII war effort by fabricating parts in the Long Beach shipyard
  • 1945 - Edelbrock designs his first aluminum racing cylinder heads for flathead Fords
  • 1946 - First Edelbrock catalog published
  • 1948 - Edelbrock purchases a Clayton engine dynamometer[6]
  • 1950 - Edelbrock moves to its first purpose-built shop on Jefferson Blvd. in Los Angeles
  • 1951 - The first streamliner powered by a Flathead Ford to go over 200 mph (320 km/h) is the Edelbrock-equipped Bachelor-Xydias So-Cal Special[30]
  • 1958 - Vic Edelbrock, Jr. graduates from USC; Edelbrock is the first to achieve one horsepower per cubic inch[6]
  • 1959 - Vic Edelbrock, Jr. marries Nancy Crook[10]
  • 1962 - Vic Edelbrock, Sr. dies of cancer at the age of 49
  • 1966 - Edelbrock builds a race boat for astronauts Gus Grissom and Gordon Cooper to race on the Salton Sea
  • 1968 - Edelbrock moves to El Segundo, California
  • 1971-74 - Vic Edelbrock, Jr. serves as president of SEMA
  • 1975 - Car Craft names Edelbrock "Manufacturer of the Year"[12]
  • 1987 - Edelbrock moves to Torrance, California
  • 1990 - Sand cast aluminum foundry built in San Jacinto, California
  • 1994 - Edelbrock goes public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.[1] An exhaust division is constructed.
  • 1995 - Edelbrock acquires Qwiksilver II and begins manufacturing Harley-Davidson motorcycle products[26][31]
  • 1998 - Edelbrock begins manufacturing shock absorbers[31]
  • 1999 - New distribution center opens, including Vic's Garage, a museum of Edelbrock's cars
  • 1999 - Forbes names Edelbrock as one of the 200 best small companies[32]
  • 2000 - Forbes names Edelbrock as one of the 200 best small companies for the second year in a row[33]
  • 2000 - Edelbrock acquires Russell Performance Plumbing
  • 2003 - Vic Edelbrock Sr.'s historic original 1932 Ford Roadster is acquired and restored
  • 2004 - Edelbrock goes private
  • 2007 - The Edelbrock foundry begins construction of a new permanent mold facility
  • 2009 - Rob Simons, from Saleen, Incorporated joins Edelbrock to design exclusive integrated superchargers
  • 2010 - Industrial Opportunity Partners strategically invests in the Edelbrock Corporation
  • 2011 - Edelbrock sells its line of suspension components to QA1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e SEC listing
  2. ^ a b c "Inside Edelbrock's Performance Shop and Vic's Garage". Corvette Fever. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Terry. Corvette Fever http://www.corvettefever.com |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Madigan, Tom (2005). Edelbrock: Made in USA. San Diego: Tehabi Books. p. 324. ISBN 1-931688-18-4. 
  5. ^ a b c d Edelbrock Corporation annual report 1999, Edelbrock Corporation, 1999.
  6. ^ a b c History at Edelbrock's official website
  7. ^ "Edelbrock Corporation - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Edelbrock Corporation". www.referenceforbusiness.com. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  8. ^ a b c "Edelbrock Corporation: Pride in Performance". Corvette Fever. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  9. ^ Canadian Classics & Performance, January 2004
  10. ^ a b c Almquist, Ed. "Hot Rod Pioneers, The Creators of the Fastest Sport on Wheels", Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-7680-0232-X
  11. ^ a b All Chevy Magazine article, August 1988, Michael Lufty
  12. ^ a b c McFarland, Jim. "The Great Manifold Bolt-On!", Edelbrock Corporation, 1982. ISBN 0-9608740-0-3
  13. ^ Storer, Jay. "Speed Equipment History". www.streetrodderweb.com. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  14. ^ a b Circle Track magazine article, December 1989, Tom Madigan
  15. ^ Hotrod & Restoration magazine article, July 2005, Bill Sessa
  16. ^ Anderson, Stephen K. "Historical Reunion: Repeating History Through a Car and a Great American Family". American Rodder Magazine, May 2004. Retrieved 5 August 2008
  17. ^ a b Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
  18. ^ Circle Track magazine (January 1990). 
  19. ^ Rodger Ward article
  20. ^ [dubious ] "Nitromethane: Top-Fuel Drag Racing’s Soup of Choice". www.dragtimes.com. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  21. ^ Dick Berggren. Stock Car Racing article, March, 1998
  22. ^ Donnelly, Jim. "Vigor, Virtue, Vision". Hemmings.com. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  23. ^ "Vic Edelbrock Jr. To Be Honored", Street Rodder Magazine, Retrieved June 26, 2007.
  24. ^ Vic Bio at Edelbrock website media center
  25. ^ SEMA News, 1990.
  26. ^ a b FundingUniverse.com article, retrieved 4 August 2008.
  27. ^ http://www.iopfund.com/about/index.html
  28. ^ Edelbrock IOP press release
  29. ^ Sparrow, Scott. "Stand Up For The Start Up - PRO Edelbrock Drag Racing Series". www.popularhotrodding.com. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  30. ^ Oilstick.com NHRA museum article Groak, Bill, 2004.
  31. ^ a b answers.com article retrieved 11 December 2008
  32. ^ "200 Best Small Companies", Forbes, 1 November 1999.
  33. ^ "200 Best Small Companies", Forbes, 1 October 2000.

References and further reading[edit]

  • "Edelbrock Corp. Reports Record Sales and Earnings for Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Year 2000," Business Wire, September 6, 2000, p. 0054.
  • Fine, Howard, "Slow But Steady Growth for Auto Parts Firm Edelbrock," Los Angeles Business Journal, February 15, 1999, p. 21.
  • Glover, Kara, "Sales Zooming for Car-Parts Specialist," Los Angeles Business Journal, July 24, 1995, p. 1.
  • Schonfeld, Erick, "Erector Sets for Hog and Car Lovers," Fortune, October 30, 1995, p. 227.

External links[edit]