Edmunds Custom Intakes
Eddie Edmunds —–Edmunds Custom
Date of birth 18 feb. 1916 —- Date of death Sept 1969—- Social Security # 554-14-8185
Eddie Edmunds made more performance equipment for more makes of cars than Weiand – Edelbrock – Offy – and Fenton combined. Eddie was a true Automotive engineer supreme. Eddie was a native of Portland Oregon before moving to L.A. in search of a foundry to cast his alum parts. A lot of the early speed part dealers started in Portland area. Bud Meyers -Eddie Meyers son, told me a that Edmunds came to there shop in the early days and told them they should start casting the Meyers heads and intakes and you know the rest of that legend. Edmunds was the only performance parts maker approved by GM to be dealer installed on there cars. Each and every part Edmunds sold came show polished or so the catalogs say. The Edmunds logo can be found in many variations – Edmunds–Edmunds custom– (Custom was sometimes spelled Kustom) Edmunds Racing–and Eddie Edmunds to name a few. Since his name was hand carved into the wood patterns by many different pattern makers scattered all over the USA, finding any two alike is hard. I have never seen an Edmunds part without the hand carved script. Even the early block letters looked hand carved. We will be reproducing some of the more popular Edmunds intakes and other parts soon. Edmunds Custom was in business from–about 1934 (maybe earlier) thru about 1959 or ’60 when it was sold to Fenton . Eddie was born the 18th of Feb. 1916 and died Sept 1969 according to Roy Pagnini who wrote a recent story on Edmunds. Fenton dropped Edmunds from there line after a couple of years as the demand for inline six cyl. -carb setups and alum heads went away. Eddie loved dual intakes as a major part of his line consisted of dual intakes and finned alum heads. He did also make triples for a lot of the early V-8’s. Fenton made many of Edmunds products with the Fenton logo when they first bought the company. If you notice in our catalog we sell Y block Ford valve covers made by Edmunds and Fenton –same pattern different logos, but both correct. These were made from original patterns. The early Fenton flathead intake was made in the Edmunds pattern with Fenton logo up front. I was told by Els Lonns (of EELCO fame) that he also thought Eddie died in 1969. I do know that we find no other info or mention of Eddie after 1959 and that Almquist and JC whitney catalogs were selling off all remaining discontinued Edmunds heads and intakes in 1960. Els Lonns (of EELCO) once told me that Eddie liked the Booze and women–(sounds like an alright guy to me). I also heard that his death was alcohol related. I’m not sure if that meant that he had liver disease or got hit by a beer truck. Eddie made parts before the war as some of his early intakes were down right crude looking. One of our new shirts will sport the neat Edmunds logo below, showing the NASH engine he produced in the early 50’s. Did you know he made finned alum exhaust manifold covers for the Caddy and Olds engines??—Anybody ever seen an original??
One of his very early parts was a water heated carb adapter that fit between the intake and the carb. These show up only on the crude pre-war intakes. We will be reproducing this part soon. I have a 1952 catalog that states he was in business for over 25 years. That would mean as early as the mid 20,s he could have been involved in the auto profession, must have started at 10 years old. The pictures I have of Eddie in the early 50’s, he looks about 40 or 45 years old. 1916 to 1969 would have made him 53, still a young man. If he did die that young ,he sure made a ton of stuff in the few years he had. I have a personal collection of Edmunds parts—I buy all Edmunds intakes –heads–valve covers, paperwork, catalogs or other interesting stuff. Collecting Edmunds Speed parts is a real task as you never seem to find them all. Cash to you or trade for any of our items. Email me—thanks. I know Edmunds built a new building at 2042 Stoner ave in west L.A. – Ca. in 1952–Do any of you L.A. guys know if it is still there? Note—I would like to hear from anyone collecting Edmunds parts or If you have any info on the company.
Edmund’s Custom is a registered trademark of Charlie Price-Vintage Speed- U.S. reg.#3,113,442
Special thanks to Roy Pagnini for his work on the Edmunds story.
A second post found on the HAMB said this.
Eddie was a mechanic on a dirt track car in the 1930’s before he got into the business of manufacturing intakes and heads.
He started making his intakes in Portland in the 30s and the 40s. After several years of manufacturing there, He decided to move to Southern California where there were more mold makers and aluminum smelters. Also the manual labor involved in the casting and polishing was much cheaper in southern California.
According to Glen Volz, of Salem speed shop in Oregon,(the oldest speed shop in the U.S. still in operation by its original owner) when Eddie first moved to L.A. he was manufacturing his speed equipment in a garage and doing most of the work himself. His wife Maryann, was a graphics artist and this was probably the reason his signature on his heads and manifolds were constantly changing. She also designed all of his ads and as you can see on the many examples on this blog, they were very different from the normal ads of the times.
After WW2 he applied for and was granted a Reconstruction Finance loan to expand his business and he purchased a large warehouse on Stoner Avenue in L.A.
On Stoner, half of the plant was dedicated to manufacturing and the other half to modifying vehicles as shown in the following article from Popular Mechanics.
His aim was never to manufacture speed equipment for the hot rod market, but to make it for the ordinary guy to get more performance out of his car.
One of his things was to install his equipment on movie stars vehicles for the publicity it generated.
It was said that he applied for and was granted a contract with the government (part of the reason for his loan being approved) for hopped up Cadillac engines to be used in tanks, but they never met the promised standards, the government had set and this is one of the reasons he defaulted on his loan and went bankrupt.
Also in the late 40s or early 50s he got involved in installing air conditioning units into high end cars, which led to his losing interest in the speed equipment end of the business.
According to Ed Iskendarian,whatever the cause most of his equipment was auctioned off. A good portion was purchased by Aaron Fenton and resold or scrapped under the Fenton name.
Apparently he was quite a character, and didn’t make his stuff in large amounts before changing designs, but quality suffered sometimes and designs weren’t tested. The nice thing about Edmunds is that he made an intake for every American engine, and a head for every Flathead engine.
If you really want to be sick, in 1970, R&C magazine ran an article about Fenton Mfg. They were into shifters and mag wheels by then, but a picture of the rear of the Fenton building shows a mountain (literally) of discarded Fenton headers and Edmunds intakes and heads that probably eventually ended up being melted down.
The one thing for sure that I know about Eddie Edmunds is, he was very hard to obtain information about, I could not even obtain a death certificate from Los Angeles for the man. I know he died there in 1969, but he was possibly buried elsewhere hence no death certificate.
As to his vocation in life, He was completely dedicated, and for him to accomplish as much as he did in such a short period of time ( 53 years ) is also a testament to the help he received from his wife and several other family members (He had a cousin in the Portland area as his local sales rep. The cousin was into logging and the lumber business west of Portland, but he traveled the northwest selling Edmunds speed equipment.) .
If it wasn’t for Glen Volz and Ed Iskendarian what little I do have could not have been verified. Also I was recently informed that he has a son living somewhere in Minnesota, so like a dog with a bone, I am going to try and track him down. I started this whole story after an approximately 12 year search for some Edmunds speed equipment to install on a 1936 Pontiac straight 8. I remember seeing a setup on a poncho 8 that was racing dirt track when I was 12 years old (circa 1955). I was impressed by the way it sounded compared to a V8 of that era. I believe those engines weigh almost a thousand pounds with tranny, hence the name “boat anchor”. Anyhow thanks to the wonderful internet I actually found a dual carb manifold with brand new carter carbs (in western auto cardboard boxes) , a finned aluminum Edmunds head and re-curved distributor, 6 volt bus coil etc. (pictures to come). I hesitated about purchasing the above items because they were fairly expensive. This was mentioned to my wife and son at the time and I put the purchase on the back burner. When they appeared under the Christmas tree I was really surprised, it also took another three years before they were finally installed on the car. I believe this is the last set in existence for this straight 8. Anyhow this has all been a labor of appreciation for Eddie and his accomplishments I hope I have shown him some of the respect I think he deserves.
THE EDMUNDS CUSTOM HIGHRISE 2×2
This is one of the more rare intakes. I have not been able to find much information on the intake or when it was in production so I was hoping someone might be able to help fill in the gaps.
The Edmunds 2×2
This set back 2×2 intake has a good form to it and is not as blocky as the other intakes. Its set back design allows for good generator clearance.
THE 1949-53 EDMUNDS 2×2
THE BLOCK STYLE EDMUNDS 2×2
THE EDMUNDS 4brl
THE EDMUNDS 2×2 – For Lincoln
Not much information regarding this intake.
THE EDMUNDS 2×2 – For V860
Not much information regarding this intake.