Without question, Ed Pink is the most versatile engine builder who's ever lived. During his 60-year career, he's built more than 5,000 engines, encompassing everything from Funny Cars to Indy cars. Ed's motors have tallied up more than a dozen championships in the most competitive forms of racing, powering legends like Don Prudhomme and Tony Stewart to victory. His expertise and meticulous approach to building engines has earned him the appropriate nickname "The Old Master."
Growing up in Southern California during the post-WWII era, Ed was in the right place at the right time for laying down the foundation of his decorated career. He built his first motor-a flathead Ford-in 1948 and started hanging out at the dry lakes when he was 16. While racing his '36 Ford coupe, he ran into Lou Baney, who took a liking to Ed. He took a job at Lou's shop during his high school days where he learned the basics of machining and assembling engines.
Consumed by the growing hot rod culture, Ed spent his spare time at Vic Edelbrock Sr.'s shop. Vic took Ed in under his wings, and the likes of Bobby Meeks and Don Towle were frequent guests at the shop. As the men chatted away about engines and bounced ideas off of each other, Ed listened closely. When Ed built his first motor and couldn't get it to fire up, it was Bobby Meeks he turned to for help. Along the way, Fran Hernandez, Frank Barron, and Chickie Harishima all taught Ed a thing or two about building motors.
By his early 20s, Ed opened his first shop in Los Angeles. He continued racing at the dry lakes, but turned his attention to the quarter-mile by the mid-'50s as drag racing caught on. His potent Hemi engine combinations grabbed the right kind of attention, and by the '60s, Ed was battling archrival Keith Black for Top Fuel and Funny Car supremacy. In an era when engine shops not only built motors, but maintained the entire car, Ed's blown fuel motors helped Don Prudhomme, Raymond Beadle, and Shirley Muldowney each win multiple NHRA world championships.
By the late '70s, teams began building motors in-house and Ed fell off the drag racing radar. However, unlike his rivals who left racing almost entirely, Ed branched out into different forms of motorsports. His first crack at road racing was building Can-Am and Formula 5000 engines. Most certainly due to his vast experience with blown alcohol motors, Ed was hired by Cosworth to convert its naturally aspirated Formula One motors into turbocharged, methanol-burning Indy car engines. Ed's engines powered six Indy car teams simultaneously, and helped Tom Sneva win the Indy 500 in 1983.
Next on the agenda was sportscar racing as the late-'80s rolled around. Ed's turbo flat-six motors helped Jim Busby Racing's Porsche 962 charge to the front of the IMSA pack, reliably producing 750 hp for 24 hours at endurance races. The OEs took notice of Ed's accomplishments, and he was soon building engines for Pontiac's factory-backed Trans Am team. Furthermore, from 1996 to 2000 Ed was instrumental in developing Infiniti's IRL motors.
The latest chapter in Ed's prolific career is the utter domination of modern USAC racing. Dating back to the early '90s, his engines have racked up over 100 victories and nine national championships. All-star drivers like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and J.J. Yeley are just a few of his satisfied customers.
At 75 years of age, Ed still has the same passion for building engines as he did at 16. He lives for new challenges, and is actively involved with the vast majority of projects built in his 13,000 square-foot Van Nuys, California shop. After retirement, he plans on restoring his '29 Ford roadster and '36 three-window coupe, but he shows no signs of slowing down. He resides in Westlake Village, California, with his wife, Silvia.