Story and Photos by Ben Radatz from Dare Devil, Inc
Even if you’ve only been to a handful of drags or car shows and noted the writing on panels and hoods, you’ve seen “Isky Racing Cams” on a disproportionate number of them. Listing the reasons why there would be a rehash of a quick Google search, but suffice it to say here that his impact and contributions to engine performance across the years have earned him a cult status and brand recognition that few in the speed world enjoy, and probably nobody still alive.
Honoring his legacy is one good reason to crash Ed’s party. Location is another. Previously held at LTR Racing outside of Onyx, a healthy drive north of LA, it was moved this year to Lion’s Automobilia Museum in Rancho Dominguez, an ever-expanding private showcase of SoCal racing history with the old Lion Drag Strip at its center, and cars and memorabilia arranged among backlot-quality façades and props. Ed’s legacy is apparent and secure in these walls, and on his day it was full of friends, family, and supporters milling around.
Another good reason to celebrate Ed’s 102nd is: that he’s 102. Anyone who vaults a century should see a bash in their honor, but doing so while chomping cigars and still influencing the speed world are accomplishments worth noting. As with our War vets (which Isky is, too), there are fewer direct links back to speed history with each passing year. Isky’s birthday is as much an informal history lesson as it is a celebration of a full and ongoing life.
As proof of his reach, the lot in front of Lions was full of 80+ years of car makes and regional racing history, a familiar cross-section of SoCal builds – many, of course, with “Isky Racing Cams’ painted on the body. Ironically, it was Ed’s innovations in marketing in the ‘50s that turned this phrase – and the use of car panels for sponsorship as a concept – into the meme it is today.
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