Fifty-Seven years ago today, an assistant staff engineer working for Chevrolet recognized the burgeoning hot rod market was made up of young men who invariably turned to Ford parts and accessories for performance. The engineer also deduced that once these men progressed in age and income, they would trade in their jalopies for used Fords and then for new Fords. For Chevrolet to be able to compete for these new performance-minded customers, the company’s anticipated V8 engines should also be made available with a ready line of engineered performance parts including cams, pistons and valves. And so the assistant staff engineer wrote a memo to his boss detailing this epiphany.
Little did Zora Arkus-Duntov realize the paradigm shift that would take place after he penned his now famous letter “Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders, and Chevrolet” on December 16, 1953 to his boss, Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole.