Crane Cams, long time supplier to hot rod builders, shade tree mechanics, and drag strip denizens has decided to call it quits, and we\’re all the poorer for it. Crane, which is a name about as synonymous with \”American V8 muscle\” as Edelbrock, or Mickey Thompson, just couldn\’t make the balance sheets line up, and so, another venerable automotive institution goes to the big wrecking yard in the sky.
Long before The Fast And The Furious, long before the import tuner scene … shoot, LONG before Honda even sold cars in America, there was Crane Cams and a whole burgeoning scene of tuning happening in this country.
Crane, unlike many of their contemporaries was not Southern California based, but were actually from The Garden State of New Jersey. They made a whole slew of engine bits, but there were best known, as the name would suggest for their cams, and intake tract goodies. Their roller rockers, for example, delivered glorious lumpy idles.
It was almost part of a hot rod kit, if there was to have been such a thing, back in the 50s. If you were playing around with cars, the stuff you\’d bolt on would always be an Edelbrock manifold, a Holly carb and some sort of Crane Cam. And if you had your druthers that cam would be as radical and lumpy and high lift as the available gas and your tranny would let you get away with. If you lived close to an airfield, then so much the better – cause that av-gas sure worked like blazes down at the drag strip.
If you had pretensions you\’d put that red and white sticker on the fender of your car (primer black paint job and all), or if you were more subtle, you\’d put it on the underside of the hood, but most guys would just slap one on their mobile tool box, nest to the stickers for Edelbrock and Holly and, later, things like Thrush or Cherry Bomb.
But, gone are those days, at least for most of us. Cars are something that now require more than a screwdriver and a socket set to tinker with, and in the 56 years since Crane opened their doors, it\’s pretty easy to say that things are, at least in one sense, more fun … or at least there\’s less hassles in getting your fun.
Crane had a good run, but this week they closed up their New Jersey plant and laid off their remaining employees. We can say goodbye to their high-lift cams and stiff titanium valve springs.