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A Salute to Vic Edelbrock Jr. — From Industry Leaders Who Knew Him Best

 

Vic Edelbrock Jr., legend, icon, and friend of automotive enthusiasts everywhere, passed away June 9. He was 80.

Summit Racing and Edelbrock have a strong relationship going back to 1968. Vic was not only a supplier of performance parts, he was a great friend to many at Summit Racing.

“Vic was a great guy who worked hard to raise our industry standards,” said Paul Sergi, owner and founder of Summit Racing.

“Vic was an innovator in the industry and always tried to do things the right way,” said Ray Tatko, Summit Racing President and CEO. “In many ways, our success over the past 50 years has been tied to Edelbrock’s success.”

“Vic really believed that his job was not just to make parts, but to help enthusiasts get the most from their vehicles,” added Scott Peterson, Summit Racing General Manager and COO.

Born in 1936, Vic grew up in his father Southern California speed shop, joining the family business after attending USC on a football scholarship. He took over the company at just 26 when his father died unexpectedly in 1962. Vic and a core group of long-time employees successfully managed Edelbrock’s transition from the Flathead Ford V8 to the modern era of overhead valve V8s and factory musclecars. In fact, the Edelbrock name became virtually synonymous with high performance intake manifolds, especially for the small block Chevy.

Today, the company makes practically everything you need to make horsepower, from intake manifolds and cylinder heads to camshafts, carburetors, valvetrain parts, and EFI systems. One of the biggest contributions Edelbrock made to high performance was the idea of parts packages—groups of parts designed and dyno tested to work together as a system, offering proven power gains while saving enthusiasts time and money.

“Whether you wanted all-out horsepower for a drag car or just a set of valve covers for a street rod, Vic made sure Edelbrock had you covered,” said Nan Gelhard, Summit Racing Advertising and PR Manager. “Open the hood on any performance vehicle and chances are you’ll find something Edelbrock makes. Vic was very proud of that.”

Vic was a founding member of the Speed Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (SEMA) in the 1960s. He served two terms as SEMA president in 1970s when muscle cars and high performance were at their lowest point. Instead of giving up, Vic worked hard to get the industry to design parts that would help engines make power while being fuel efficient and emissions-friendly. One great example is Edelbrock’s SP2P intake manifolds, which dramatically increased cylinder pressure to improve horsepower production.

“Vic was one of the pioneers of emissions-legal performance parts,” said Al Noe, Summit Racing Chief Marketing Officer. “I have probably used almost every type of product offered by Edelbrock on my own cars, and they all performed as advertised. All of us gearheads have Vic to thank for that.”

Vic was not just a businessman—he was a gearhead just like his customers. His love of all things Corvette is well-known, and he competed in vintage road racing behind the wheel of his 1963 Corvette Z06 coupe or ex-Bud Moore Trans Am Mustang Boss 302. Vic remained true to Edelbrock’s Flathead Ford roots with a Roy Brizio-built 1932 Ford, and had a passion for power boat racing, flying, and sports of all types.

“I’ve known Vic for nearly 40 years,” said Frank Kremer, Summit Racing Supply Chain Team Manager. “He had a strong competitive streak no matter what he did. We’ve played golf together, played tennis, spent time in the gym, and the competition and comradery was always fun. That’s what I’ll miss most.”

Many people considered Vic a friend, like Walt Siklich, Auto Rep Sales Company.

“The Edelbrock story is really the American story where a group of pioneers took tremendous risks and grew something out of nothing,” he said. “Vic took the skills that he learned from his dad, surrounded himself with talented people, and elevated the Edelbrock Equipment Company to lead an entire industry. That is Vic’s legacy.”

Another person who knew Vic well is Michael Kunzman, Kunzman & Associates, who represented Edelbrock as a manufacturer sales rep for many years.

“I met Vic in 1966, when I was the buyer of performance parts and accessories for JC Penney. A competitor of his refused to call on us, but Vic responded to my letter, and he and his wife Nancy drove from California to New York City to see me. That’s just an example of Vic’s drive to be the best. Everything Edelbrock put its name on, Vic made damned sure it really worked, was easy to install, and provided his customers the performance they wanted. He was a hero to me.”

Hero, indeed. Godspeed, Vic.

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3 Comments

  1. RIP Vic, you really are a legend to us car guys!!!!

  2. Vic was also a pilot. During my brother’s flight training, he got to meet Vic as they were both checking the radar before going up. My brother was a gearhead and we always had Edelbrock intakes. Vic was a down-to-earth celebrity, always willing to chat with his fellow man.

  3. Pingback: Former K&N Chief Steve Rogers is New President at Edelbrock - OnAllCylinders

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