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Almost too obvious…

Sometimes, there are opportunities so obvious they can become overlooked.  I was mired in such a circumstance quite a number of years ago that will self-date itself during this discussion.  In fact, you will learn how it was seeded and evolved into its current state, by name if not by awareness.

At any rate, it was during a time prior to introduction of the Superflow engine dynamometer.  In the high performance industry, primarily the parts manufacturing sector, the number of well-equipped and staffed engine dyno test facilities was preciously fewer than what exists today.  Among them was the renowned “Edelbrock dyno” in the form of a water-brake absorber, Heenan-Froude, English-built version. Trailing back to when Vic, Sr. began using a dyno to development and evaluate manifold designs, the H-F of the day was also used in the company’s work with both amateur and professional racers and teams.

More to the point, and based on the level of confidentiality the company had been able to establish with the really hardcore racers, there came an opportunity to test engines taken directly from competitive race cars, all in the interest of finding ways to improve their induction systems. 

No, there was more to it than that.  There was a collateral opportunity to find out how other primary engine components (camshafts, headers, cylinder heads, etc.) might be optimized in conjunction with the intake system.  In fact, various manufacturers of these other parts and systems often took advantage of the situation by participating in engine dyno tests with either new or soon-to-be-new products coincidentally evaluated during Edelbrock’s testing of assorted racers' engines.

Perhaps more interesting, at least to Edelbrock R&D staff that frequently conducted such tests, was the fact that the company wasn’t required to build these types of engines to evaluate potentially new intake systems.  It was a time when Edelbrock was the technology source for intake manifolds (for both on-road and racing purposes), so from the perspective of a racer, spending time on the Edelbrock engine dyno was not only a valuable learning experience but one of the “plums” the company offered to certain racers.  There were no financial sponsorships offered by Edelbrock, but the value perceived by racers to tap into the knowledge and experience of its R&D team was clearly an advantage for those with whom the company chose to work.

Who were they?  Back then, the list was not only potent but included leading racers across the motorsports community.  Such notables as Bill Jenkins, Don Nicholson, Wally Booth, John Lingenfelter, Darrell Waltrip, Benny Parsons and Mark Donahoe were among others on the list, along with a stream of major high performance and racing parts manufacturers.  Also included was a host of recognized engine builders.  The point is that Edelbrock was privy, over quite a number of years, to a very valuable opportunity to evaluate its existing and new intake manifolds on engines that would eventually become the products’ on-track environment, without the necessity to invest in building a representative stable of these type engines… at a fraction of the bottom-line costs.

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