Featured: Adaptability is Key to Engine-Builder Ed Pink's Legend

Adaptability is Key to Engine-Builder Ed Pink’s Legend

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
October 29, 2014
10 comments

Photography by Sam Webber and Aaron McKenzie

Unless you were looking for it, you’d have to be lost to stumble across the headquarters of Ed Pink Racing Engines. Down a dusty side street, past scrap yards and a strip club, the shop sits amidst the nondescript sprawl of Van Nuys, California. Wander inside this shop, however, and you’ll quickly realize that what happens here–and what’s been happening at EPRE since 1948–is anything but nondescript.

Take, for instance, the pictures that adorn the walls throughout the complex. Images of Indianapolis 500 winners, NHRA champions, USAC Sprint car record-holders, and Infiniti IRL wins testify to EPRE’s legendary place in motorsports. Over the decades, Ed Pink’s engines have powered drivers such as Tony Stewart, Don Prudhomme, John Hotchkis, Kasey Kahne, and Eddie Cheever to victories at the highest levels of racing.

As these photographs and names suggest, a key to EPRE’s success and longevity has been its ability to adapt. When big sponsorship money changed the landscape of drag racing in the late 1970s, the Pink team wasted no time in moving into the world of IndyCar engines in partnership with Cosworth, albeit not before winning the 1980 NHRA Natonals Funny Car title with Ed “The Ace” McCulloch behind the wheel. Similar success followed in the world of IndyCar and by 1983, a Pink-powered car was carrying Tom Sneva to victory at the 1983 Indy 500.

When the world of champ cars changed, EPRE once again shifted direction and started building six-cylinder engines for IMSA GTP Porsche 962s, despite having never built a Porsche engine before. This lack of experience didn’t matter: by the time Ed Pink and team were finished, the Jim Busby-driven 962 was making so much power that the bosses at IMSA were mandating restrictor plates on all Porsche turbo inlets.

In the ensuing years, EPRE would have its fingerprints on everything from Le Mans prototypes to the Infiniti IRL program, but for “The Old Master” himself, the time eventually came to slow down. Now 83 years-old, Ed Pink sold his operations to longtime customer Tom Malloy in 2008. However, with the shop floor now under the supervision of general manager Frank Honsowetz – who joined EPRE more than a decade ago after running the Infiniti IRL program – the Ed Pink team continues to add to the shop’s legacy.

Nowadays, a visitor to the Ed Pink shop can expect to find the EPRE team building anything from a TRD drift engine to the Indy Ford power plant for Pure Vision’s T-5R Martini Mustang or even a six-cylinder Nissan engine for a Newman-Sharp vintage race car. Variety, as it has been throughout the history of EPRE, remains this team’s lifeblood of success.

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Dennis French

Many years ago, a friend and I were at the Gatornationals. We ran into Ed at a concession stand.
My friend fancied himself an expert regarding engines and their assembly. He concocted some elixer with molybdenum and STP for an assembly lube.
He asked Ed what he put on the bearings during assembly. Ed gave him this look of WTF and just said ….oil!.We laughed about that for years!

Stephan P
Stephan P

I’ve often wondered about this shop, often seeing tiny ads in the back of GRM.
I guess when you have this kind of longevity most of your buisness is word of mouth.
Another great feature.

Ed Pink Racing Engines

Photo #6 is a Novi indy engine. 1958 spec.

MGB GT
MGB GT

1958 Spec., but with dual overhead cams, that was its time ahead when all others where driving with central camshafts. I guess with Duessenberg, Novi was the only US manufacturer with DOHC engines?

MGB GT
MGB GT

Nice story!!
Which brand is the engine on picture nr.6 ? On the bell housing (??) the word Paxton is casted in the aluminium. However I can’t find Paxton anywhere (googled it), it surely doesn’t ring any bells.
Due to the finish of the engine it seems to be a formula 1 engine

Kuroneko
Kuroneko

Paxton make superchargers. Fitted to Britisher engines such as…

David Harbin
David Harbin

These really are beautiful, but I’m confused by one thing I’m looking at. On the Ferrari engine (which I think it’s a 60 degree V12), where does the exhaust go? I’m probably missing something really basic….

Lachlan W
Lachlan W

Given the intake is in the middle of the ‘V’ and I can’t name a Ferrari engine that isn’t a cross-flow design, the exhaust comes out from the ‘outside’ or ‘lower side’ of the ‘V’. The angle of the shot means the exhaust ports and manifold mounts are out of view.
I hope that helps!
http://images.gtcarlot.com/customgallery/engine/69396697.jpg
You can see the exhaust manifold piping in this photo of a (I’m guessing) slightly older Ferrari v12 that has the same basic layout.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

The memories of Ed Pink’s Elephant Motor Hemi’s from back in the day still strikes fear and respect into the hearts of drag racers and fans across the globe . And yeah .. then there’s all that other stuff he’s [ successfully ] had his hand in ! But ohhhhhhh baby …. that T-5R DFV powered Martini Mustang’s motor …. holy _____ ! That one’s had my undivided attention since the moment it broke cover . The ultimate automotive ” If Only … ” moment of the decade !

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

These engines are really a work of art in and of themselves and the variety of engines just makes it all the better. I also really hope that’s a Novi v8 tucked away haha 😀