The specialty-equipment business that feeds the go-fast habit is a $46 billion industry. We salute some of the pioneers and their innovations that transformed jalopies into rods while building brands that are household names today ... Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
I recall when a new muscle car was introduced here in Southern California, the first customer that bought one could drive to Hooker's shop and get a free set of headers in exchange for letting them use the car as a fixture for that particular setup. And Mike Thermos was equally as accommodating when Nitrous Oxide Systems was developing their early plate systems and "dry" kits for the then-new tuned port fuel injection cars. My friends in Texas recall when MSD used to offer "test" ignition systems to drag racers to evaluate that new capacitive discharge spark box. Ah, the good old days...
I will forever remember my 2nd girlfriend crowing about her first car... a 72 Cutlass with a "350 Rocket V8, Holly 4 barrel carb and a Flowy dual exhaust." I'm all worked up even thinking about it!!! I was a few year older and my first car was a Chevette....... 😞
These were the items we always saved up for when we got a new hot rod as kids.
I remember as a kid growing up in the 70's I was able to buy a set of headers for under $40 ! Cherry bombs were around $10 each.
Yes! And you would bolt the Cherry bombs ( or in my case Thrush) right to the collectors, forget about exhaust pipes and letting the exhaust exit the rear of the car. Who cared!
Very interesting article! Thank you for bringing it to us. I did not know the history of Holley, the fact that they made their own "vehicle" and that Ford stopped making his own carbs. if they would stop making vehicles. I also did not know about Flowmaster and some of the Hurst info.
A friend of my father used to do midnight drag races on a 'marked' stretch of interstate. He had '62 Vette with a blueprinted 283, said with 'cheaters' he could run low to mid 10 second quarters and beat everything - hemis, big blocks, etc.
He told me that he had a special intake manifold, a 'dual quad direct' manifold. I've tried to find information on this, but alas, nothing. Would I be correct in thinking this is essentially dedicating one barrel of each carb, for each cylinder, sort of like having 8 one bbls? I'd appreciate an image if anyone can share!
Truly excellent detail work on the intake manifolds. However, I find that the prices for ones designed for Mopars tend to run higher than the $149 shown in the article photo! 🙂
Is this really what you meant? “Unfortunately, Vic Jr. died three years ago, leaving three Edelbrock daughters to keep this revered brand name kicking.”
I think you meant, “Unfortunately, Vic Jr. died three years ago. Now his three daughters keep this revered brand name kicking.
The three men that figured in this story were all named, but not Vic Jr’s daughters?
Of these, the cam was the one that set you apart. It was not just a bolt on - it was more like a heart transplant. Get it right - so satisfying. Go to big, especially with an automatic or highway gearing, and you could end up with something with few words to describe how horrible it turned out.
Holley usually worked pretty good out of the box. Like cams, bigger is not always better. The ability to buy parts and kits to tune them was a big plus.
While most of these are a visual clue to performance, I had some cars that left people scratching their heads when they wanting to see what beat them. One of my favorites was a 1971 Dodge Dart. Engine appeared to have only headers, and with the bench seat, you thought 318. Reality was a balanced and blueprinted 340, built for E Stock. That was a 4 speed, not a 3 speed. If you looked underneath, it was a Dana 60 with 4.10 ‘s. My brother in law talked about how fast his friends cars were in high school. He though this was like it looked - a brick. My wife asked him how he liked the ride. First out of his mouth was “I saw God”. Next was “now I understand why you said you wanted it straight before flooring it”.
Another interesting one was a 1965 Opel wagon. 4 speed, narrowed 4.10 posi. Engine - wasn’t a 365 horse 327 an option that year? True shocker when opening the hood, but one look at a Winters manifold, Holley carb, and 327 decals, and it was a short conversation.
My dream was to bolt a Subaru 360 body onto a similar setup. Had a couple of these micro cars. They needed a power boost.
When I bought my 1st Corvette in early '68, I pulled the engine at the end of the school year to rebuild/balance/partially blueprint it. It was a factory 365HP/327 that got Mickey Thompson headers with a "custom designed" 4" side exhaust that housed Cherry Bombs. I bumped the compression ratio to 12.5:1, high volume oil pump (that required a deeper sump pan), Accel dual point, tach drive distributor & coil, and later, a Hurst shifter. The 365HP engine factory configuration started with an aluminum intake, Holley carb, a "Duntov" solid lifter cam and ~11:1 compression ratio. I don't remember why but I "had" to get a '67 427 hood from my local Chevy dealer for needed clearance. I nearly got to be on a first name basis with the closest CHP office to get "fix-it" tickets signed off for my exhaust. The sound of that small block exhaust through my exhaust system was SO SWEET!
ahh, 12½:1. I remember filling up with AVGAS green until 9/11 turned even smaller airports into "compliance". Filler wouldn't fit into the filler neck, but I could pull right onto the apron and up to the pump, and proceed to put 15~20 gallons into the 5 gallon red can I'd set down by the left rear wheel. Then I'd drive over to the office and pay with a grin and a, "thank you sir". 🙂
The best sounding performance muffler was and still is the Hush Thrush Turbo muffler. Nice rumble at idle, quiet at cruising speeds, and a controlled mellow sound of power when you nail the gas. Today's performance mufflers sound like somebody installed garbage cans for mufflers.....just obnoxious noise, no tone.
Before Flowmasters were available, back in 1970, I used a pair of Walker 21348 mufflers that were the replacement muffler for a 63-64 Corvair Turbo Spyder on my 1966 Mustang. They fit like they were made for the ‘66.
This is one of the best articles from Hagerty I have seen. What a wonderful combination of technical description of the part, and the back story of the people behind it. At my age I have left the hot-rodding to the engineers at the big car companies and the younger generation (maybe my grandsons) but several of the items you described are fond memories in my past, especially the Hurst shifter. Nothing, including my 2004 Z51 Corvette, shifted as nicely as the Hurst unit in my 66 Ford Galaxie hardtop. Thank you for a great piece of journalism.
Holley HP750- check
Isky solid roller cam- check
Edlebrock Victor Jr- check
Flowmaster 2.5 into 3"- check
Hurst short throw ripper shifter- check
No Hooker headers but hand made Rewarder 1- 3/4 headers into a Hooker Aero chamber Muffler.
Tried and true performance companies all of them!
Also cool about these companies was you would send an inquiry snail mail and get a hand written or typed reply. I urged Edlebrock to make a manifold for the new large port 4.3 V6. The odd fire fit but tiny intake ports. I got a thanks and months later the first manifold they made! Great helpful phone calls with Joe Mondello himself as I was a nervous teenager gearhead. A bunch of letters from ATI aka procharger, when they started out. A free upgrade to billet impeller on my Edlebrock equipped Procharged Datsun 4.3 V6 240ZV. Wonderful customer service!
Wow! Memory lane here! I was, essentially, born into the muscle car world as the nephew of John T. Huey, “Johnny” of Johnny’s Speed & Chrome and was fortunate to work for Johnny’s in Orange County and at Orange Count International Raceway (OCIR) in Irvine in the 70’s. My 70 Camaro had a Holley carb sitting on an Edelbrock intake, Isky cam and Hooker headers mated to Flowmasters and working in the stores and at OCIR I sold all of those great products to gear heads all over Southern California. All of those products were amazing examples of quality and superior engineering done the American way. BTW, I was there in the tower at OCIR the day Linda Vaughn was discovered by then-track announcer and PR man Nick Piculii (I’m sure I butchered the spelling of his name, sorry Nick!). Nick spotted her in the stands and had someone go down and invite her up to the tower where she was introduced to George Hurst. The rest is history!
Thanks for the memories ! I'm 69 and still drag race my '57, Corvair powered VW. This is the first car I purchased in August of 1967. Your first love is ALWAYS the best!
XLNT article some of these products I didn't know the history behind them,thruout my life I have had all of these listed on various cars/trucks with a great degree of satisfaction and stumbled on cam selection as stated learning curve of what sounds cool and what really does the job,the one thing that was the biggest bang in my corner of the world was the roots style huffer there were a few around our area nothing brought your attention more than the whine of doom coming down the street everybody gathered around that car when it wheeled up.Cheers R
How about the Ar-Dun heads that converted a flat-head Ford V-8 to a high performance dual overhead cam V-8? The inventor/builder of these marvels, Mr. Arkus-Duntov (if my memory serves me correctly), later became a VP at Chevrolet.
Hurst and American Motors ,, hurst shifters was in ALL Javlin's and AMX's . and all AMC cars with 4 speed's.
they also made a Hurst AMX rent a car for hertz rent a car.
And The hurst scrambler/rambler they were the best,,, jim
Great article, really brought back some memories from high school. When got my first car in 1963, a 1956 Renault Dauphine, the first addition I made to it was an Isky cam. Decal. I think the decals outsold the cams about a hundred to one. I also had a Moon hubcap decal, even though there was simply no way to replace the Renault's bolt-on hubcaps with the wildly popular Baby Moons. In those days the decals themselves were works of art, not just ads. Also, the biggest difference between the Holley and Rochester carbs was that the Holleys didn't leak gas all over the intake manifold and set your car on fire.
I’m 59 yrs old, it grew up in the 60s as a little kid, a muscle car maniac, and I remember my big brother had a 69 Lemans convertible w a 350/330 and a 4 speed and duals from the factory, and in that black console between those beautiful white bucket seats was a chrome, perfect sized factory installed Hurst shifter, and I recall him giving me the black ball handle w the diagram of the shift pattern on it, and putting the Hurst t handle on the shifter, I still have that ball somewhere, wish I had that car
I have a 92 Camaro which I have owned since it was almost new. It was my daily driver for nearly 15 years before I started having problems with the emission control system. Since then mechanics have forgotten how to work on the ancient pre-OBD2 system and nobody could fix it. But now I have almost everything on this list except the cam.
A Hurst Billet shifter replaced the crappy stock T-5 years ago, and I replaced all of the ancient EFI with a Holley 4 barrel stealth EFI, intake manifold and fuel pump. I have an appointment next week to get a Flowmaster cat back (and cat too). The Hookers are what I need to compete the list and ensure the entire system flows air properly.
In summer of '70, I equipped my '68 Mustang 302 with a Holley/Edelbrock combo. a Crane cam, Heddman headers, and Mallory distributor. In that process, I ordered the Crane cam/lifter kit from a catalog at a local parts shop in the Atlanta suburbs that dealt in routine auto parts, paying a 50% deposit. When the kit came in, I didn't have the balance to pay for it, so they agreed to hold it for a while. During that time, they put the kit on display in the store. Crane did excellent packaging expressly for display purposes where the lid of the box simply slid off and the polished cam and lifters could be seen through a sheet of clear plastic. It was beautiful. When I finally got the money to pick it up, the owner of the shop said that the display had been a big hit, and 3 other customers had ordered Crane kits. Within a year, that shop was specializing in speed equipment and went on to become a major supplier in the south. Me and the Mustang cruised the burger joints and hangouts for a couple of years and made many memories until time for college and I traded it for a Toyota. I later heard that the new owner had totaled it.
This is one of the best articles I have read from Hagerty! Don Sherman did a great job describing all these companies and all of the equipment I currently have on my car. thanks for a great article. Looking forward to more.
You say tuned headers are "typically lighter and more attractive than factory exhaust manifolds." And hotter, don't forget that. I put a set on an Econoline van once (the one with the engine between the seats). Big mistake, especially in Georgia in the Summer.