The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SLOson, Jun 7, 2020.
How about Clay Smith Engineering on Dale St in Buena Park. Been there forever.
Owens Orbit Cams...first cam I ever put in a SBC.
A friend of mine shipped a 330 Ford Truck crankshaft down to them. They wide-cut the throws to accept late Hemi rods, enabling him to de-stroke a Cammer to 395 inches, utilizing a vast selection of aluminum rods. That was long before you could order a rotating assembly.
Cyclone (HAMBer Kevin) LA since 40's(?)
Appliance (A/P) Wheels Gardena
Keystone Wheels N Hollywood
US Indy Wheels
So-Cal (original 1940's)
Pete & Jakes
Super Shops (started as San Bernardino Racing Equipment 60's)
PAW (Performance Automotive Wholesale
Dougs headers. Weren't they on Whittier blvd?
nevermind, I see it's in there.
What about EMPI?
Tom Beatty, blowers, drives and manifolds.
Chuck Potvin, blowers, drives, camshafts and ignition.
George Riley, equipment for Model T, A and B 4 bangers, OHV heads for 21 stud V8, the Riley Midget engine, marine equipment, carburetors, and the Riley SOHC V8, a fresh design that used the flathead Ford crankshaft and rods, everything else was unique.
Harry Weber, cams, clutches and flywheels.
REATH AUTOMOTIVE LONG BEACH, CA
View attachment 4712334
There's three I just though about that I don't see on the list
Clay Smith was one of the early pioneers in camshaft design and manufacturing. The So Cal company started in the mid 1940s as Smith and Jones Camshafts. In the 1950s, it became Clay Smith Cams. By this time, they had a shop in Signal Hill area of Long Beach and then moved 3 blocks from our house in the Westside of Long Beach. It was a short bicycle ride to the shop from our house. After he died in an accident, his wife took over and continued with the company.
My brother and I used to go there along with Joe Mailliard’s Speed Shop that was nearby for our daily or weekly drag racing fix. As we got older, a Clay Smith Cam was going to be in our early hot rods and in the 1940 Willys 671 SBC coupe. But for some reason, my brother got on this Howard Cam Company kick and purchased many parts for our build, including a Howard roller cam for the supercharged SBC motor.
Clay Smith Cams has one of the longest histories in the hot rod/drag racing world. It continues, even today…
SIGNAL HILL AREA OF LONG BEACH
WESTSIDE OF LONG BEACH LOCATION
A friend of Clay Smith drew the original Woodpecker logo, was trademarked in the 40s and put on most of the vehicles associated with Clay Smith Cams. Walter Lantz, the Hollywood cartoonist, created Woody Woodpecker after asking for permission, as long as it did not interfere with motorsports or any automotive venture.
“Pete Bertrand started grinding cams for sprint car racers. Pete was born in Mexico in 1902, while his father was the superintendent of a large silver mine. He grew up in Nebraska on his father’s farm, and by the 1920’s, Pete was racing throughout the Midwest in the P.E.B. Special, named for his brother Ernie and himself.“
“Like so many other young men, the lure of Hollywood and Southern California was irresistible to a young man who was bored with farm life. By the 1930’s he was racing on the West Coast, and finished 8th in the A.A.A. Pacific Coast Sprint Car racing league in 1934, driving for the Morales brothers and other owners. He was a daring and dashing figure on the track until a disastrous accident in early 1935 put him in the hospital. That is where he met Esther, a nurse, who cared for him and married him. Esther asked Pete to quit racing after a second accident in 1935, and he opened up a cam grinding business in Long Beach, California, in order to stay close to the sport that he loved."
"Pete’s main competitor in the cam grinding business was Ed Winfield. The local hot rodders and racers would buy cams from Bertrand or Winfield, depending on whether they were from the East side of Los Angeles, or the West side of town. Pete came down with pneumonia in 1942, and passed away at the young age of 40. One of his employees, Clayton Sherman “Clay” Smith, purchased the business from the estate and renamed the company Clay Smith Cams.”
“He married Ruthelyn, a lovely and vivacious lady, and together they built up the business with the famous redheaded, cigar smoking woodpecker logo.
She sold the business to partner Howard Jerome in the 1960’s, and Jerome sold Clay Smith Cams to George Striegel in 1968, who moved the company to Buena Park, CA.”
By Richard Parks
Thanks for the history, that is some great information. I knew Clay Smith was around forever but didn’t know the early history. I really found the divide of East/West LA influenced Cam selection. I love knowing the history of the hobby.
Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
Quick note......Clay Smith of Speedway Motors is the namesake of Clay Smith the cam grinder. Speedway sells a lot of woodpecker branded items and Speedy Bill was tight with Clay back in the day.
Sig Erson Cams. Long Beach, CA Later purchased by Super Shops (formerly San Bernardino Racing)
Had a solid lifter one in a hopped up 289 I bought from a junk yard. Turns out the cam was bad. Drove to Long Beach and they replaced it and several lifters as well, no charge. Great customer service considering I wasn't the original purchaser of the cam.
Here is a profile of Clay Smith, who was killed in the pits @ DuQuoin, Ill. in '54.
J&E Pistons has already been listed but it should be JE Pistons. Before that name they were known as Jahns Engineering Pistons ...and they had a great decal.
"The origins of what we know today as JE Pistons can be traced back to 1912 and the Los Angeles foundry of William Jahns Sr. and his company W.H. Jahns. Employing the tagline, 'Nothing but Pistons,' the W.H. Jahns company produced pistons and semi-finished pistons until 1948, when Jahns Sr. retired. Meanwhile, Jahns’ son, William 'Uncle Bill' Jahns Jr., started and had been working on his company Jahns’ Racing Pistons since 1947. Shortly after, the business became Jahns’ Engineering Pistons, and was finally shortened to JE Pistons." from https://www.jepistons.com/about-us/our-history
Is P.S.E. to late for the game ?
I have a set of semi-finished pistons for a v-8 60, still in the box !
I can't forget my buddy Mike Kuhl Superchargers in Santa Ana.
It could be faster to list the ones that didn’t start in California .
I’ve a nice set of new JE forged flat tops for a 270 GMC with rings. The bore size is to match the easily bought rings since 270’s were a bastard bore...
Hays clutches along with Hays stinger ignitions
Separate names with a comma.