Car Guys You Should Know: Smitty Smith of Edelbrock

Being part of a younger generation of hot rodders has afforded me the privilege to learn from the people who have seen and done it all before in the pursuit of speed, thrills, and good times behind the wheel. The kind of people who are pure enthusiasts that have been in every situation a time or two and are always ready and willing to lend a helping hand to a fellow enthusiast.

so, it’s with great pleasure that I am able to publish this exposé on a good friend and fellow hot rodder, Smitty Smith of Edelbrock. 

Before we get into what makes him such salt of the Earth car guy, I’d like to share a quick anecdote about an interaction I had with Smitty before we really knew each other.

Smitty’s signature smile and warm personality are an ever-present reminder that he’s in this for the love of the game.

I was in the final stage of a harrowing project on my Monte Carlo, and it, like so many big projects, was halted by one small piece. I needed to pull vacuum from the manifold because the blow-through carburetor I had just installed didn’t possess any ports to draw from. The only port on the manifold was right under the float bowl of the said carburetor. Even with a carb spacer in place, it was still proving impossible to find a 90-degree fitting with a low enough profile.

The intake manifold was of the Edelbrock variety, so I placed a Hail Mary of a call to an acquaintance (at the time), Smitty Smith. Before I could explain exactly what the issue was in full, Smitty was already reading off the tracking and part number to the exact fitting I needed. He explained how they’d seen the problem arise so many times, they created a proprietary fitting to solve the problem.

Sure, I could have pulled the whole manifold off, drilled and tapped in another port to accommodate any number of fittings, but that’s not the point. The point is, Smitty is a wealth of knowledge, and he really helped me out of a bind because the project was time-sensitive, and he got the part to me the next day. He didn’t need to do that, but he did.

So, without further ado, I present to you a blog post from our friends at Edelbrock that sheds a more intimate light on my friend Smitty. The official blog post reads as follows:

“This is to introduce you to a man so full of automotive aftermarket knowledge, he’s likely forgotten more than you or I have ever learned: Smitty Smith, Technical Sales Coordinator at Edelbrock; a title that does not do justice to the breadth and depth of Smitty’s knowledge of Edelbrock’s specs, parts, and applications. Smitty has a passion for the automotive aftermarket business and is probably the most knowledgeable person in the auto aftermarket who you never heard of.”

“Smitty has worked for Edelbrock for 29 years and has been using its products for 50. But his car roots go back even further as his parents raced ’30s Ford “Jalopies” at Ascot back in the early ’60s. He was just five years old when he received a go-kart for his birthday. He also received a ’53 Plymouth for his 14th. During his lifetime Smitty has owned more than 100 cars, with nine cars being the most he ever owned at one time.  Here are a few of Smitty’s current rides:”

I’ve seen Smitty’s ’72 El Camino SS in person, and it does not disappoint!

“Smitty’s primary function at Edelbrock is to help consumers by responding to their inquiries from Edelbrock’s website and through social media. In this capacity, he has become known as the ‘Answer Man’ because of the enormous quantity of questions he has answered, and still answers today. Smitty is often able to influence consumer perceptions about Edelbrock parts. One example is Edelbrock’s intake manifold for the big block Chevy which is frequently used for racing. Smitty says racers did not believe Edelbrock’s parts were good for racing until he convinced them to try Edelbrock’s manifold. Because the manifold increases horsepower by 30 hp more than the competition, his customers started winning more races. The word got out and even one driver who is sponsored by a competing brand would not stop using Edelbrock’s intake manifold!”

A Nova wagon gasser?! Yeah, he’s got one of those too.

“Smitty’s background before coming to Edelbrock was all about enhancing automotive performance with aftermarket parts. This includes stints at speed shops as well as performance-enhancing part manufacturers. While Smitty’s specialty has become carburetors (in addition to being known as the ‘Answer Man’ he also is called the ‘Carburetor Guy’), his experience covers all aspects of the automobile engine. This came in handy back when Vic Edelbrock would hold his annual Power Tour. Vic’s car kept overheating, but Smitty was able to modify the cooling system, fixing the problem, preventing it from occurring again.”

“Smitty says the automotive aftermarket customer has changed over the last 30 years – they are not as “hands-on” as they used to be. They rely on Smitty and Edelbrock more to provide the parts list to make their cars go faster. This puts more pressure on Smitty to get the parts recipe right, to make sure they will fit in the customer’s vehicle, and to make sure that the completed project is emissions legal if need be.”

If muscle cars and jacked-up gassers aren’t your thing, Smitty also does traditional hot rods.

“Toward this end, Edelbrock has more than 100 test engines in their lab. These engines are constantly being fiddled with to enhance performance. A change is made, and the engine is dyno-tested to measure performance changes. This procedure is repeated until the performance objective is achieved, and it’s all overseen by Smitty. It has also helped Edelbrock develop and build effective superchargers, which is the most efficient way to add power, according to Smitty.”

“Smitty has seen a lot of changes to the automotive aftermarket in the nearly 30 years he has been at Edelbrock. But Edelbrock has always been consistent about one thing – despite cheaper component availability from foreign suppliers, they still make everything in the USA.”

Article Sources

About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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