Although Detroit is TheMotor City, the West Coast has its own contribution to American automobile history: hot rodding. That’s how plenty of familiar aftermarket companies got their start and how they are centered in the region, Edelbrock included. In celebration of car culture and a good cause, the company hosts an annual Edelbrock Car Show at Vic’s Garage in Torrance, California.
Even Edelbrock employees share their passion for the hobby with their own entries in the show.
Vic Edelbrock founded his Hollywood-based machine shop following World War II and, in 1946, printed the first edition of his Edelbrock Power and Speed Equipment catalog; since then, the company has been a force in racing, performance, and the aftermarket scene. In 2006, Vic’s daughter Christi founded Rev’ved Up 4 Kids and established an annual charity event “to create greater awareness for The Center for Learning Unlimited.”
This free event spans two days: On May 13, 2016, Edelbrock opened its doors to its Corporate Headquarters and Manufacturing Facilities for a “one of a kind guided tour … to [give] a chance to see what 80 years of dedication to performance products has built.” Nine one-hour shop tours allow approximately 270 enthusiasts to catch highlights within Edelbrock: manufacturing, R&D, engine and chassis dynos, testing facilities, advertising, quality control, the “Toy Barn,” and sales and customer service.
Rat Rods tend to arouse several emotions among enthusiasts. Robert Wong's 1929 Chevy features several subtle details in addition to a 350 topped by a tunnel ram plus a pair of Edelbrock carbs.
Tickets are limited for the guided shop tour, but Saturday’s show full of hot rods, great foods, live entertainment, and a great time with fellow automotive enthusiast is open to spectators all day. As you’d expect from a Southern California aftermarket company, Chevys and Flatheads were in force at the Edelbrock Car Show, but a glance at the below photos and gallery will show that there was enough Brand X and eclectics to keep even the most jaded enthusiasts entertained.
Our Top Picks From The Show
1971 Dodge Challenger R/T
Nineteen seventy-one was a transitional year for the high-performance market. General Motors lowered compression on all its engines across the board, but Chrysler decided to carry on with high-compression goodness for one more year . . . to a point: the 383 four-barrel, a stalwart engine for several Mopar performance cars, was given a one-point compression cut to 8.5:1, reducing horsepower by 35 to 300.
Only 4,630 Challenger R/T hardtops were built in 1971. Dodge had discontinued the Challenger R/T convertible.
This was true for the 1971 Dodge Challenger, which featured a facelift after a successful launch the year before. Compared to the Plymouth Barracuda, the Challenger’s changes were mild, with a new split grille and matching taillights being most unmistakable. New for the performance-oriented R/T were fiberglass “simulated quarter panel side louvers,” stripes (available in white, black, and fluorescent orange and green) running under the beltline, and R/T decal on the hood. Recent Detroit transplant Gian Moriconi is the caretaker of this Chally, which is an original triple-black 383 R/T with AC but now is powered by a healthy 440.
1938 Chevrolet Gasser
Back in Edelbrock’s heyday of the 1960s, cars like a 1938 Chevrolet were cheap, relatively plentiful, and lightweight – the perfect platform for building a solid-axle Gasser with speed parts galore. What may have been rough ‘n ugly back in the day has become tough and beautiful today, with a rake and look all its own.
Lions Drag Strip decal is a nice touch on this 1938 Chevy.
Perhaps this one doesn’t have Edelbrock’s fabled Tarantula manifold, but it’s still chock full of vintage sundries: Offenhauser tunnel ram, finned Corvette valve covers, Autolite spark plugs, Stahl Headers, M&H Racemasters, and Moon Speed Equipment.
1960 Chrysler Windsor
Most of us are too young to remember 1957, but that was the year Chrysler Corporation’s Virgil Exner gave us the Forward Look. The Corporation instantly became the darling of Detroit, but the adoration was fleeting as the cars developed a reputation for poor build quality. Quality issues were quickly addressed, aided in 1960 thanks to Unibody construction for the whole Chrysler Corporation roster save Imperial.
The 1960 Chrysler came off spectacularly, but some other Mopars were not up to their 1957 par. Things got worse in 1961, especially for Plymouth and Dodge.
The redesigned 1960 Chrysler eschewed the trend of the time and carried the fin thing to new heights (at least figuratively), but nonetheless it was a handsome vehicle and, aside of the 300-F, an underrated collectible today. This mildly customized Windsor two-door hardtop’s best feature is its dashboard with the dramatic AstraDome instrument panel “featuring the soft glow of new Panelescent lighting” with electroluminescent numerals.
1970 AMC AMX
Dennis Allen’s father ran Los Angeles-based Dick Allen Rambler, a hub for high-performance AMC enthusiasts in the region. Hence, it should be no surprise that Dennis’ automotive proclivities run towards the cars of Kenosha. He built this 1970 AMX with a 401 stroker (416cid) featuring Carillo rods, JE Pistons, Edelbrock RPM aluminum heads and Pro-Flo 2 EFI system, plus Doug’s Headers – all backed by a Doug Nash 5-speed.
For 1970, the AMX was facelifted for a fresh new look thanks to a new hood, parking lights, and grille. For this one, Dennis Allen fabricated a recessed aluminum grille of his own design that, along with the parking lights, resembles the 1968-69 AMX's.
But the true worth of this AMC is underneath: the front suspension consists of Control Freaks tubular upper and lower control arms, adjustable QA1 coilovers, and Addco sway bar; out back, you’ll find Eaton leaf springs with Edelbrock IAS shocks, another Addco sway bar, and factory AMC torque links rebuilt with polyurethane bushings. Think of it as a modern, streetable incarnation of a Trans-Am car and you wouldn’t be far off.
1957 Ford Fairlane
Yeah, it’s hard to deny the attraction of a vintage period piece! The history of this 1957 Fairlane really begins in 1968 with “Dirty John” Burnes, a mechanic for a bakery’s truck fleet. He bought this Ford used and promptly built a worked 352 hooked up to a Toploader 4-speed – John even built the headers and traction bars from scratch. The following year, John built a dual-quad 390 and, along with driver Joe Chandlee, they were regulars at Lions Drag Strip through 1972. A third FE-series engine, this time a 428 Cobra Jet paired with a C6 automatic, was built and raced through 1986 until John was injured on the job and the Fairlane was put away.
For 1957, Ford offered two bodies for its model line: Custom and Custom 300, and Fairlane and Fairlane 500. The differences are subtle, but put them next to each other and it's remarkable, especially from the rear.
Joe purchased the Fairlane in 2009 after John’s passing and rebuilt core components to make it track-worthy once again, but then decided not to race it. Perry Peffer in turn snapped up the Ford, installed a Parm Lee-built 390 stroker (445cid) with John’s old Edelbrock XF-66 tunnel ram, and has been having fun at Southern California races and shows ever since.
Below in the gallery you’ll find more vehicles to be seen from the 11th Annual Edelbrock Car Show. Keep tabs on the Edelbrock Car Show website so you can be ready to score a spot in next year’s tour, and also be sure to check out the Edelbrock Family Foundation website to learn more about Rev’ved Up 4 Kids.