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International Newsmaker Q&A: Don Barry, Edelbrock

Legendary performance supplier leverages state-of-the-art tech to stay ahead of competition
Sunday, August 11, 2019 - 07:00
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Meeting the need for speed among hot rod enthusiasts living in London, New Zealand, Norway, Japan and elsewhere across the globe – Edelbrock’s lines of aftermarket engine enhancement products have long equaled performance excellence.

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The legendary engineering-focused firm is still based in Southern California, where the late Vic Edelbrock Sr. established the company in 1938. To test his inventions Edelbrock would drive his modified 1932 Ford Roadster to Muroc Dry Lake, 80 miles outside of Los Angeles -- where Edwards Air Force Base is located today -- remove the fenders and windshield, and then race the car. At the competition’s conclusion he’d re-install the fenders and windshield and drive it back home.

Except during a period of designing and building weaponry components for the war effort during World War II, automotive product innovations and growth of the business came at a consistent pace.

Upon Edelbrock Sr.’s death at age 49 from cancer in 1962, Vic Edelbrock Jr. continued his father’s path of expansion and racing dominance.

The current president and CEO is Don Barry, previously an executive at ISN, the global distributor of automotive tools; Dorman Products; SC Johnson; and 3M, where he was president of the European Consumer Business division.

Barry recently answered a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World:

What kind of parts does Edelbrock produce?
Edelbrock produces cutting-edge camshafts, lifter kits, carburetors, crate engines, cylinder heads, electronic fuel injection systems, engine blocks, engine dress-up products, fuel pumps, intake manifolds, nitrous oxide injection components, power packages, superchargers, top-end kits, valvetrain, water pumps, and more.

 

Q: What kind of vehicle types do you produce parts for?

 

A: The brand currently provides products for numerous vehicle types, including early- and late-model performance cars, trucks, JDM (Japanese domestic market) and off-road applications.

 

Q: How is Edelbrock looking to expand in the aftermarket landscape?

 

A: Edelbrock has a rich history as a trendsetter and innovator in the aftermarket and performance space. The company aims to continue that tradition while staying cutting-edge by creating new efficient, dynamic product lines.

 

Q: How do you ensure the quality of your products?

 

A: Edelbrock produces its core products using state-of-the-art equipment in world-class manufacturing facilities and in-house engineering departments. Currently the brand has full control of the manufacturing process, from design to casting to the finished product which reaches consumers. This level of control and involvement allows us to ensure that our rigid manufacturing standards are met every step of the way and consumers receive a top-quality product, every time.

 

Q: Where are your products produced?

 

A: All of Edelbrock’s core products are designed, manufactured and tested in the USA.

 

Q: What sets you apart from the competition?

 

A: Edelbrock has been at the forefront of developing the highest quality products for consumers to extract the maximum level of performance from their vehicles for over 80 years. It’s this tireless devotion to excellence and the fact that a number of our performance products follow emissions requirements in all 50 states that sets us apart from the rest of the field.

 

The brand follows its “Charge Forward” mission, which is about designing and producing quality products, exceeding expectations and leading the charge on the future of automotive performance.

Can a layperson install an Edelbrock performance part on their vehicle by themselves?

The brand recommends that an experienced and qualified shop install Edelbrock performance parts on a vehicle so that you can be sure that it’s done correctly and in line with our standards, but each Edelbrock part comes with detailed instructions for experienced DIY hot rodders.

Where are you located?

The company currently has five locations: Two in Torrance, Calif., two in San Jacinto, Calif., and one in Sanford, N.C., totaling over 500,000 square feet.

Our Torrance Headquarters includes R&D, manufacturing, state-of-the-art testing facilities, advertising and tech support; our distribution center is one mile away. Edelbrock also has aluminum foundries, which are considered to be the most state-of-the-art facilities west of the Mississippi. In 2008 the brand added a Permanent Mold and Heat Treat facility next to the existing sand cast foundry.

What automotive events do you participate in?

Four Edelbrock product display trailers travel across the country visiting hundreds of automotive/aftermarket events throughout the year.

Staffed by Edelbrock employees and outside sales representatives, these events give us invaluable feedback that helps us keep our products “on the cutting edge” of technology. For example, the brand will participate in the Carlisle Ford Nationals, Classic Car Show, JEEP Invasion, Hoonigan Burnyard, Hot Rod Power Tour, the Street Machine Nationals Car Show, Hot August Nights, Tri-Five Nationals, and Formula Drift, among many others.

Can you tell us about the new Edelbrock apparel lines?

Edelbrock recently released a new line of apparel celebrating the company’s heritage and its “Charge Forward” philosophy. The new line includes hats, t-shirts, coats and sweatshirts featuring Edelbrock’s iconic logo and vintage racing imagery.

Created with enthusiasts and trendsetters in mind, the new line brings Edelbrock’s history of quality and innovation to the style-conscious community. The apparel collection features four distinct lines including, Power Speed, Lineage, Signature and Jr. Fun Team.

Can you give us a quick overview of how Edelbrock evolved?

Vic Edelbrock Sr. founded the company in 1938 – the company was born from Vic’s desire to increase the performance of his first project car, a 1932 Ford Roadster. He designed a new intake manifold, which he nicknamed The Slingshot. This transformed his repair garage into a parts manufacturing enterprise, making one-of-a-kind equipment.

Through the brand’s “Charge Forward” philosophy, Edelbrock has successfully evolved over the past 80 years. Although Edelbrock has maintained its well-established automotive enthusiast core, it has also been able to drive sales in non-traditional sectors, including JDM, truck, off-road and lowrider markets.

By focusing on new manufacturers, product lines, digitization, merchandising and concerted marketing efforts, Edelbrock has also attracted millennials and multi-cultural/generational enthusiasts as well as female consumers and audiences.

 

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