Aftermarket performance giant Vic Edelbrock, Jr., 80, dies

Vic Edelbrock, Jr., who took over his father’s performance parts company at age 26 and built it into one of the biggest names in the automotive industry, died on June 9 in Rolling Hills, Calif. The company’s website said the 80-year-old Edelbrock passed away “from complications following a recent cold.”

Born Otis Victor Edelbrock, Jr., on Aug. 23, 1936, Edelbrock assumed the helm of the company upon his father’s death in 1962. At the time, Edelbrock employed 10 people and generated annual sales of $450,000. Many expected the former University of Southern California football player and business graduate to squander the company’s $200,000 in reserves, but instead he and his team developed many new performance products and turned Edelbrock into an aftermarket performance powerhouse.

In 1962, most of Edelbrock’s products supported Ford’s flathead engine. Then a family friend suggested the company create an improved four-barrel intake manifold for the small-block Chevy. Before long, Edelbrock had expanded its product line to include aluminum cylinder heads, carburetors, complete engine performance kits, and crate engines to support Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, and Chrysler products. Eventually, the company added shock absorbers, wheels, and a motorcycle division.

In addition to overseeing the dramatic growth of the family business, Edelbrock Jr. was a founding member of SEMA, served on its board and as its president, and helped guide both the company and the industry through a perilous time of increasing emission controls and gas rationing.

When not behind his desk, Edelbrock could often be found vintage racing his 1963 Corvette Z06 coupe or his ex-Bud Moore Trans Am Boss 302. He also had a passion for power boat racing and flying, and frequently flew his own plane from Edelbrock’s Torrance, Calif., headquarters to the firm’s foundry in San Jacinto. Edelbrock is survived by wife Nancy and daughters Camee, Christy, and Corky.