Pre WW-II Race Era Inductees

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Ed Winfield

The Architect of Power and Precision in Camshaft and Carburetor Design


In the annals of automotive history, the name Ed Winfield stands as a pioneer in the world of camshaft and carburetor design, a maestro who orchestrated the harmonious dance of air and fuel to propel engines to new heights of performance. Born on April 16, 1885, in Jennings, Louisiana, Ed Winfield's journey from a young tinkerer fascinated with engines to a renowned engineer and designer is a tale of innovation, persistence, and a relentless pursuit of optimal engine efficiency.

Early Years and Passion for Mechanics

Ed Winfield's fascination with mechanical contraptions blossomed during his childhood in Louisiana. Growing up in an era when automobiles were still in their infancy, Winfield developed a keen interest in the internal combustion engine. His inquisitive mind and hands-on approach to machinery led him to experiment with engines, taking them apart and putting them back together to understand their intricacies.

At the age of 16, Winfield built his first gasoline engine, a testament to his early mechanical aptitude. This hands-on experience laid the groundwork for his future endeavors in engine design and modification.

Move to California and Early Innovations

In 1910, seeking new opportunities and inspired by the burgeoning automotive culture, Ed Winfield relocated to Los Angeles, California. The West Coast was becoming a hotbed of automotive innovation and experimentation, providing Winfield with the ideal environment to further develop his skills.

Winfield's early years in California were marked by a series of innovations and modifications to internal combustion engines. His keen understanding of airflow dynamics and combustion processes led him to experiment with camshaft designs and carburetion systems. Even in these formative years, Winfield's work was characterized by a commitment to extracting maximum efficiency and power from engines.

Camshaft Innovations

Ed Winfield's first major breakthrough came with his innovations in camshaft design. He recognized the pivotal role that camshafts played in controlling valve timing, duration, and lift, and he sought to optimize these parameters for enhanced engine performance. In 1919, Winfield introduced his legendary "Maximotor" camshaft, a design that quickly gained acclaim for its ability to deliver increased power and efficiency.

The Maximotor camshaft showcased Winfield's understanding of the relationship between valve events and engine performance. It became a popular choice among early racing enthusiasts and engine builders looking to boost the power of their machines. Winfield's reputation as a camshaft wizard began to take root, laying the foundation for his future contributions to the automotive world.

Racing Success and the Winfield Carburetor

As the popularity of automobile racing surged, Ed Winfield's innovations found a natural home on the race track. His camshafts powered a myriad of racing machines, contributing to numerous victories and establishing Winfield as a sought-after name in the racing community.

Winfield's quest for optimal engine performance did not stop with camshaft design. He turned his attention to carburetion systems, recognizing the critical role that fuel-air mixture plays in engine efficiency. In the early 1920s, he introduced the Winfield carburetor, a precision instrument that allowed for fine-tuning of the air-fuel mixture.

The Winfield carburetor featured innovative design elements, including a variable venturi, allowing adjustments to be made on the fly to suit different driving conditions. This level of flexibility and control over the fuel delivery process set Winfield's carburetor apart from conventional designs. It became a staple in the racing world, adopted by drivers and teams looking for a competitive edge.

Technical Expertise and Education

Winfield's growing reputation led to opportunities for collaboration with notable figures in the automotive industry. He worked alongside Howard "Howdy" Wilcox, a well-known race car driver of the time, further honing his technical skills and gaining valuable insights into the demands of high-performance racing.

To deepen his knowledge, Winfield enrolled in engineering courses at the University of Southern California (USC). This formal education complemented his hands-on experience and provided a more structured understanding of engineering principles. Winfield's ability to seamlessly bridge theory and practice would become a hallmark of his approach to engine design.

Winfield's Workshop and Racing Dominance

Ed Winfield's workshop in Los Angeles became a hub of innovation, attracting enthusiasts and professional racers alike. The demand for his camshafts and carburetors continued to grow, and his components became integral to the success of numerous racing teams.

One of the defining moments in Winfield's career came in 1927 when his camshafts powered Frank Lockhart's Stutz Black Hawk Special to victory in the Indianapolis 500. This triumph was a testament to the efficacy of Winfield's designs in the most prestigious race in American motorsports.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Winfield's camshafts and carburetors were omnipresent on the racing circuit. His components powered a wide array of race cars, from midgets to championship-winning machines. Winfield's commitment to precision and performance made him a trusted figure among racers and engine builders seeking that extra ounce of power.

Post-War Innovations and Global Recognition

World War II brought a temporary halt to racing activities, but it also provided an opportunity for Ed Winfield to contribute to wartime efforts. He applied his engineering expertise to the development of aircraft engines, utilizing his understanding of combustion processes and airflow dynamics.

After the war, Winfield resumed his work in the automotive industry with renewed vigor. The post-war period saw a surge in hot rodding and performance modifications, and Winfield's components were at the forefront of this movement. His designs continued to evolve, incorporating lessons learned from wartime aviation technology.

Winfield's global reputation grew, and his components found their way into engines around the world. His camshafts were especially prized for their ability to provide a broad powerband, making them suitable for a variety of applications, from street cars to purpose-built race machines.

Legacy and Lasting Impact

Ed Winfield's legacy is etched in the annals of automotive history as a trailblazer in camshaft and carburetor design. His contributions to racing, hot rodding, and engine performance left an indelible mark on the automotive landscape.

Beyond the immediate success of his components, Winfield's impact is seen in the generations of engineers and enthusiasts inspired by his work. The principles he applied to camshaft and carburetor design—precision, optimization, and a relentless pursuit of power—continue to influence the field of high-performance engine tuning.

In recognition of his achievements, Ed Winfield was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2012, a posthumous honor that reflects the enduring significance of his contributions to motorsports.


Ed Winfield's life story is one of innovation, passion, and a dedication to pushing the boundaries of engine performance. From the early days of tinkering with engines in Louisiana to the heights of racing success and global recognition, Winfield's journey reflects the evolution of the automotive industry in the 20th century.

His Maximotor camshaft and Winfield carburetor became synonymous with power and precision, setting benchmarks for engine builders and racers. Winfield's technical expertise, honed through hands-on experience and formal education, positioned him as a luminary in the field of automotive engineering.

Ed Winfield's legacy lives on in the roar of engines powered by his components, in the workshops of enthusiasts