Thursday, June 30, 2016

Photo Essay: The Secret Street Legal Collection at Vic's Garage

In LA, every celebrity probably has their own secret car collection.

The question isn't so much, "What kind of car do you have?" but, "How many cars do you have?"

And unless you're friends with Jay Leno, you'll probably never get to see them in person.

Fortunately, we've got access to some fabulous car museums that are open to the public (the Petersen, Automobile Driving Museum, Nethercutt, and Mullin, just off the top of my head)—even if some of them are hiding in secret, and take some finagling to get in.

The Petersen Vault is considered a "hidden" collection, but all you really need to get in is an advance reservation and a paid ticket. (And don't even try to take photos.)

But what about the Honda Museum in Torrance? Or its neighbor, the Toyota USA Automobile Museum?

Once again, the secret to getting in seems to be knowing the right people.



But there's another private car collection in Torrance that's not allowed to be called a "museum"...



...because all of its cars are gassed up and ready to roll at any given time.



And it's not that the public isn't welcome at Vic's Garage—you just have to figure out how to get in.



The Vic we're talking about here is Vic Edelbrock, Sr.—and Vic's Garage functions as both storage of the family vehicles and a tribute to Vic's early career working on cars...



...including a display of his very own box of tools.



While the factory tour focuses on the performance parts that are designed and manufactured by Edelbrock, and its Toy Barn contains a rotating cast of cars that they're supercharging (or otherwise souping up)...



...Vic's Garage is more or less a permanent collection that includes such gems as the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery, outfitted with Edelbrock shocks.



And while they all can be taken out on the road, like the 1969 Boss Mustang...



...they aren't as often as you'd think.



They've all been beautifully restored, from the 1969 (and 1/2) Dodge Super Bee to the 1932 Ford "Rides" Roadster, with its Edelbrock induction, carburetor, cam, rocker arms, and cylinder heads.



Some of them are racing roadsters that were used, at least in part, to promote Edelbrock...



...while others were personally owned and driven by members of the Edelbrock family (like the heirloom 1973 Mercedes 450 SEL), which was driven nearly 90,000 miles.



Some of them might still be able to win races today.



Vic Jr. didn't start racing his 1964 Split Window Corvette Stingray (#614) until the 1980s—and it looks as though it's ready to start its engine at any minute.



Hot rods come in all shapes and sizes, which is clear when you see a car like the "Bolero" red 1967 Chevy Camaro SS 350 (a test car for Hot Rod Magazine that Vic bought in 1997 and placed an Edelbrock crate engine into) in the same room as a 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe and a 1946 Ford Woody Wagon Maze.



Though, at Vic's Garage, the vast majority of them are red.



The real pride and joy of the collection may be the 1946 #27 Ford V8-60 Kurtis Kraft midget racer. Reaching a speed as high as 125 mph, it won the Gilmore track championship.



Vic Sr. had sold it in the 1950s, but Vic Jr. managed to buy it back and get it fully restored.



But the real pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance of Vic's Garage is the car that began the collection: the 1932 Ford black roadster #3. This is the car that got Vic to tinkering around under the hood in 1938. This is the Flathead-powered car that took Vic to the dry lake races and inspired the development of his now-infamous "Slingshot" intake manifold.

And it's probably one of the most iconic hot rods out there... ever.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Under the Hood at a Hot Rod Shop
Photo Essay: A Haven for Hotrodders
Photo Essay: Cruisin' Glendale
Photo Essay: Automobile Driving Museum's Ridealong Sunday