Post WW-II Race Era Inductees

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Ed Iskenderian

The Camshaft Wizard and Hot Rodding Icon


In the world of hot rodding and high-performance engines, the name Ed Iskenderian stands out as a legendary figure. Born on July 10, 1921, in Los Angeles, California, Ed "Isky" Iskenderian would become a pioneering camshaft designer whose innovations shaped the landscape of automotive performance. His journey from a young enthusiast tinkering with engines to a revered icon in the automotive aftermarket industry is a tale of passion, ingenuity, and a relentless pursuit of speed.

Early Years and Love for Cars

Growing up in Southern California during the 1930s, Ed Iskenderian developed a fascination with automobiles in the midst of the burgeoning hot rod culture. The dry lake beds and drag strips of the region served as the testing grounds for aspiring gearheads looking to push the limits of their machines. Isky, with an innate love for speed and a thirst for knowledge, quickly immersed himself in the world of hot rodding.

Iskenderian's early experiences with cars were hands-on, as he started working on engines and experimenting with modifications. The thrill of making cars go faster became a driving force in his life, setting the stage for his future contributions to the automotive industry.

World War II and the Start of Isky Cams

The outbreak of World War II interrupted the trajectory of many young lives, and Ed Iskenderian was no exception. Serving in the Army Air Corps, Isky gained valuable technical skills working on aircraft engines. His wartime experiences provided him with a deeper understanding of engine dynamics and performance, setting the stage for his post-war endeavors.

After the war, Iskenderian founded Isky Cams in 1945, marking the beginning of his career as a camshaft designer. The timing was opportune, as returning veterans sought to apply their mechanical skills and newfound knowledge to the world of hot rodding. Isky Cams quickly became a focal point for enthusiasts looking to enhance the performance of their engines.

Camshaft Innovations and Racing Success

Ed Iskenderian's expertise in camshaft design became the cornerstone of his business. He recognized the crucial role that camshafts played in controlling valve timing and optimizing engine performance. Iskenderian's early innovations included the development of high-performance camshafts that could unlock additional horsepower and torque, giving hot rodders a competitive edge on the track.

One of Isky's significant contributions was the introduction of the first adjustable rocker arms, allowing engine builders to fine-tune valve train geometry. This innovation was a game-changer, providing greater flexibility for enthusiasts to optimize their engines for different applications, whether it be drag racing, circle track racing, or street performance.

Iskenderian's camshafts quickly gained popularity in racing circles, and his reputation for producing reliable, high-performance components grew. Racers using Isky cams began achieving notable successes on the track, further establishing Iskenderian as a go-to source for camshaft technology.

The Isky Rev-Roller

In 1958, Isky introduced the Rev-Roller, a groundbreaking innovation that would revolutionize camshaft design. The Rev-Roller featured a unique design with a roller follower instead of the traditional flat-faced follower. This design reduced friction, allowed for higher lift and duration, and ultimately delivered improved engine performance.

The success of the Rev-Roller solidified Iskenderian's status as a visionary in the field. The camshaft's impact was felt not only in racing but also on the streets, as hot rodders and performance enthusiasts embraced the technology for their daily-driven machines. The Rev-Roller became a symbol of Isky's commitment to pushing the boundaries of what was possible in camshaft design.

Isky's Influence on Drag Racing

As drag racing gained popularity in the 1950s, Iskenderian's influence on the sport became increasingly pronounced. His camshafts powered some of the most iconic dragsters of the era, helping racers achieve record-setting speeds and elapsed times. Isky-equipped engines became a staple in the world of drag racing, and Iskenderian himself became a familiar figure at the drag strips, providing support and guidance to racers.

One of the notable partnerships during this time was with drag racing pioneer Ed "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. Isky's camshafts played a crucial role in Garlits' success, and the collaboration between the two legends became a testament to the performance gains achievable with Isky Cams.

Expansion and Continuing Innovation

As Isky Cams continued to grow, Ed Iskenderian expanded the company's product offerings beyond camshafts. Isky became a comprehensive source for high-performance valve train components, including lifters, valve springs, and rocker arms. The company's commitment to quality and innovation solidified its position as a leader in the aftermarket automotive industry.

Throughout the decades, Iskenderian remained at the forefront of camshaft technology, continually refining and improving his designs. The Isky catalog became a bible for engine builders and racers, providing a wealth of knowledge and a diverse range of products to suit various applications.

Iskenderian's impact extended beyond the technical aspects of engine performance. He became a respected figure in the automotive community, known for his passion, approachability, and willingness to share his knowledge. Iskenderian's workshops and seminars became popular among aspiring mechanics and enthusiasts eager to learn from the master camshaft designer himself.

Family Business and Legacy

Isky Cams evolved into a family business, with Ed Iskenderian's sons, Ron and Richard, actively involved in the company. The transition of leadership within the family ensured the continuity of Isky's legacy and commitment to delivering cutting-edge performance components.

Ed Iskenderian's legacy is not only measured by the success of his business but also by the impact he had on the broader automotive culture. His contributions to camshaft design and engine performance were pivotal in shaping the evolution of hot rodding and motorsports. Iskenderian's influence can be seen in the continued use of Isky Cams in a wide range of racing disciplines and street applications.

Recognition and Honors

Ed Iskenderian's contributions to the automotive industry have earned him numerous accolades and honors. In 2015, Iskenderian was inducted into the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Hall of Fame, a testament to his enduring influence on the aftermarket automotive community.

Isky's influence also reached beyond the United States. In 2017, he was presented with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his contributions to the automotive industry, recognizing the global impact of his innovations.


Ed Iskenderian's journey from a young hot rodder with a passion for speed to a pioneering camshaft designer is a testament to the transformative power of dedication and innovation. His impact on the automotive aftermarket industry and the world of high-performance engines is immeasurable. Isky Cams became synonymous with power, reliability, and cutting-edge technology, setting the standard for camshaft design.

Ed Iskenderian's story is not just one of technical achievements; it's a narrative of a man who lived and breathed the culture of hot rodding. His willingness to share knowledge, mentor aspiring enthusiasts, and continually push the boundaries of what was possible made him a beloved figure in the automotive community.

As the Iskenderian legacy continues with the involvement of subsequent generations,

the spirit of innovation and a passion for performance that Ed Iskenderian instilled in the company live on. Isky's camshafts remain a symbol of the pursuit of speed and the enduring legacy of a true pioneer in the world of high-performance automotive engineering.