“This is Lou Baney’s car; the chassis was built by Don Long,” Ed states. “That’s Don Prudh
There was no looking back. Ed’s business didn’t either, it went straight up. “People were happy with what I did.” Ed would move once more to a larger facility in 1965 to Van Nuys where they’re located today.
A Civil Rivalry
“Keith Black was very good at what he did. He was interested more in manufacturing parts. Maybe I should have done that same thing, but I was more interested in building the engines and tuning them to get the very most out of them. I was trying to build them as good as I could make them. I tried to come up with ways the other guys didn’t do or think of doing. The preparation of all the parts was critical to make sure everything fit. When I bought a part, I didn’t take for granted that the part was correct. We spent more time building the engines than others did. My main concept was first you have to make the engine live and then you make it run faster. Keith had his customers who preferred his engines, and I had my customers who preferred mine. If Keith had parts that I needed I’d buy them from him. We had a friendly rivalry, but I wanted to beat him, just as he wanted to beat me.”
The Shop Or The Pits
Drag racing was raking in the crowds and new racers. Ed needed to attract a much larger pool of customers who were already racing with competitors’ engines and get them to switch over to his. “I decided the best way to do this would be to get a dragster again and go race against them to prove they needed to be in my stable, not someplace else.”
“When I met Don Long he had a successful chassis business. But he wanted to elevate it to
Don Long, a well-respected chassis builder, built the “Old Master” dragster for Ed. (Mind you, Ed was in his thirties.) “The very first competitive race we ran was Long Beach; Mike Snively drove it and we won.”
The 1965 U.S. Fuel and Gas Championship were where an astounding 128 Top Fuel cars had assembled when Ed and Snively arrived to do battle. Only 64 of the 128 dragsters were able to run on Saturday. “We were one of the 64 cars and we got down to the last round on Saturday, which I think we ran six or seven rounds. We were going to race Don Garlits and my engine wouldn’t start. Garlits made a solo run to win.
“We came back Sunday. There were 32 of the quickest Top Fuel cars from Saturday, which we were one of them who returned. We got down to the last round on Sunday and raced Garlits again and he beat us.” (The next weekend was the big Championship Race in Fremont where Snively beat Garlits in the last round.)
The Old Master ran with the same engine both days at Bakersfield and never had the heads off. After that meet every racer and fan had “Think Pink” on their minds. “That dragster was the turning point in my business. People saw how well it ran, plus the engine never came apart in between rounds. I started getting an influx of business, in fact I got so much business, I had to sell the car. I only raced it for two years.”
Remember Ed’s comment that he not only had to make the engine live but he’d also have to make it run faster? The “run faster” part would contribute to Ed’s, and the entire performance engine builder’s, downfall. Keeping a 2,500hp Chrysler together for the meet at Bakersfield was astonishing, but as the horses increased, teams began taking an engine apart between rounds. Why would the drag racers want to go to Pink, or anyone else, to have an engine built only to immediately tear it down?