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: But you’ve been in boats….

EI: Yeah, well when you start making cams, anyone who wants to hop up an engine… You’ll have drags and boats and sprint cars and midgets, everything, even airplanes sometimes, swamp buggies.

: Who’s the most underrated or forgotten person you know of in racing history?

EI: Oh there’s quite a few. I always admired Mickey Thompson, Fritz Voigt and Art Chrisman. There’s so many. I’d have to think about that for a while because there’s so many fellows who never got true recognition.

: The drivers tended to get more recognition.

EI: I’d say that’s true, yeah. Sometimes just the driver would get mentioned. But the pit crew or top tuner sometimes wouldn’t get into the limelight.

: What do you think your greatest achievement is, as a hot rodder and manufacturer?

EI: Probably when I came up with the 550 High Lift Super Le Gerra Cam, the high lift-soft action cam for the Chevrolets which brought the engine to life and way up to the 8500 rpm. Because even Frank McGurk, who was a good friend of mine, he raced Indianapolis even before World War II, and when I advertised a 550 Super Le Gerra Cam… Dave Zeuschel gave me the idea for the Super Le Gerra Cam. I said, “Gee, that sounds good. What does it mean?” And he said, “I don’t know but it sounds good and we’re using it.” So I called my cam the Super Le Gerra. Later on, we found that it was Italian, meant ‘light and fast’, or something like that. Oh there’s a man that could use some more recognition; Dave Zeuschel.  As for the question, my greatest achievement, you see in the beginning, Ed Winfield was the first cam grinder, born in about 1901, and I hadn’t ground my first cam. He showed me how he’d built his machine and I was fascinated by it. I bought my cam from him and after the war, we’d been in the Army and had been exposed to airplane engines and learned a lot more, why I decided that I’d like to try grinding my own cams. I made my own cam grinding attachment like he did.

Most people that went into the cam grinding industry probably copied Winfield’s cams. Now he had a very soft action cam that would rev way high, and when I laid out my first cam to try out my machine, I made a very simple cam with just three arcs and three radii, one flank, the other flank, and the nose radius. I left off the clearance ramp and I made it a real fast action noisy cam. It was just a practice cam, but I went ahead and made a few and put them in stock. I didn’t know I had anything until they called from NASCAR. Without asking if I had much experience or anything, they bought two by airmail and then they started ordering more and more because, and I didn’t know this at first, but they had a lot of mid-range torque because of their sloppy action and no clearance ramps, which you could get away with on a flathead, because it had such a lightweight valvetrain. So it was really good for passing cars on the circle tracks. It had a lot of mid-range power and good top end too. Now you can’t get away with that on the overhead valve push rod and rocker arm engines, there’s too much weight and mechanisms. That helped a lot, getting into the NASCAR business. That all came from putting a two inch ad in Hot Rod magazine, which only cost ten dollars. Five dollars an inch, you know.

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