About E.C. Birt
E.C. Carburetors starts back in the mid to late '60s. E.C. Birt's first company was Precision Cycle, and like all greats, it began in his garage in 1966 in Lawndale, CA. His first shop was in Englewood in 1968. E.C. built his reputation with 90cc and 100cc bites, Zundapps 100cc, and 125 ccs American Eagles powered by 125cc Zundapps and Maico 125cc and the legendary 501cc. As his shop grew, he needed a larger shop. He moved to a larger building closer to his home in Lawndale. E.C.'s reputation and success led to more developmental time. E.C. started building all of the pipes for Pabatco, the hondaka importer, and working in their R&D dept. E.C. next move was working for Cooper motors, the Maico importer and team bikes. From there, Steen's motorcycle shop was out in the valley. The development of their line of bike leads to Rickman power by Hondaka and Zundapp 125cc engines. Those were the top bikes of that time with Sachs Engines part of the group.
All of this leads E.C. to work with Rick Seaman on project bikes and doing some writing for Motocross Action and Cycle News. E.C. was working seven days a week developing motocross racing bikes and racers, making them faster and better. E.C. gave back to the sport that made him a legend in his technical tricks and years of experience.
E.C. had a significant impact and influence in motocross racing that would carry over into the design of modern bike performance. E.C. was the first to implement a modern designed mono-shock. While Yamaha is credited with the first production mono-shock, E.C. was known for his suspension as much as his engine building skills.
The other significant impact was in pipe design. A young Donnie Elmer worked in the E.C. shop. If you don't know who Donnie Elmer is, you will recognize his famous pipe company, FMF. Donnie would create what was known as Uncle Donnie Flying Machine Factory now it is just know was FMF. While we don't know to what extent of E.C. influenced and if it contributed to the multimillion-dollar FMF company. Donnie worked beside E.C., gaining knowledge and experience in the area of pipe design.
In 1974, E.C. moved his operation to Florida and set up as E.C. Distributing. E.C. moved for a couple of reasons. E.C. had a potential investor interested in making E.C. a brand. This was a risky move, and the investor would back out, leaving E.C. almost bankrupt. It could have been for E.C. is the possibility of being a similar brand to FMF. E.C. was motivated to leave California as the desert was being taken away from the riders. Saddleback Park and Indian Dunes had changed, and with the end of the Vietnam War, Southern California was changing from a place he loved to the death to a not so neat place.
In Florida, up and going, E.C. designed the 100cc and 125cc reeds for Honda in motocross. E.C. was building and shipping E.C. racers all over the United States. Maico was still his choice for big bikes and had a team full of them.
After years of the sand and bugs started to get the best of him and to go racing out of state was a day drive just to leaving Florida. Traveling across the country, going from races in Texas to Canada, was taking too much time. E.C. decided to leave West Palm Beach for a small town west of Nashville in Dickson, TN. E.C. loved the small town, and what he would call, God's Country. This made traveling to races a lot easier; any race was within 8-12 hours away.
In the early '80s, due to the changes in motocross and motorcycle racing, E.C. found a new war to fight and a new opportunity in Kart Racing.
That led E.C. to develop racing Carburetors. E.C. made a deal with Tillotson, Ireland, to take over development and started importing his Tillotson Carburetors for racing. E.C.'s carburetors would go on to win multiple championships worldwide.
E.C., in lousy health, would sell out to the only one he would trust with his legacy. E.C. continued to work in the shop and continued to help races until his dying day. Literally left customer carbs still on his flow bench and work desk. E.C. would go into a minor surgery to relieve some back pain and would not make it through.
Carroll a few years ago would go to the karting world championships in Europe. The place where future formula 1, WRC, and sport car drivers around the world would cut their teeth and compete at the highest level of competition. Carroll would examine carb after carb, recognizing a very familiar fingerprint left on the sport of karting and karting carburetor. E.C.'s tricks and techniques that he developed over 35 years ago are still effective in the world of karting. E.C. may be an unsung hero nowadays in the fast social media connected world. Nevertheless, we continue his legacy of the most advance carburetors and small engine performance in the world.
About Carroll Ford, Owner
Carroll bought E.C. in 2004 and continues to operate the shop to this day. We're going to start at the beginning of Carroll's time with E.C.. Carroll, being a hard young worker, early '80s would befriend E.C.'s kids and E.C.. Carroll would cut his teeth in E.C.'s shop and build relationships with all the guys working in his shop. He would machine, build engines and carburetors in E.C's shop and go racing out of the legendary E.C. school bus. The bus would carry all of E.C.'s kids, and I mean not only his sons but Carroll, Tony, Blue, and many others were all considered E.C's kids. Carroll would race for other karting legends such as Kermit Buller of Bully Clutches Fame. Kermit would sometimes sign Carroll into classes; he was not eligible to race because of being too young. They would make a wild concoction of fuels back when there were open fuel races. Carroll has the need for speed, and it was his drug. Carroll would develop skills in Kart Racing and move into big cars. He would say the cars of those days were like driving a Lincoln Continental at 150 mph.
In the early 90's, Carroll would create his own company called Flow Control. He would build induction systems for two barrel race cars that were dyno proven to increase power and torque. His company would do the usual SEMA and PRI shows. At PRI, Doug Yates of Yates Racing would ask Carroll if he could work one for a four-barrel for his Nascar teams. They would go on to test Davey Allison's car in Talledega, where it picked up the average speed by 2-3 mph. They tested on Tuesday, and by Thursday, Nascar had outlawed Carroll's induction system. After the death of Davey Allison, Carroll, at a young age, did not want to handle the immense pressure and responsibility of his business would sell out to K&N, where they are still in the catalog as his Flow Control System.
Carroll's last opportunity in Nascar was as a car chief for Sadler Racing at that time, drivers were Derrick Cope and Scott Bradington. Scott Bradington would die in a helicopter crash, and Carroll's lucky star was lost.
Carroll went back home to work that 9-5, but that did not stop him from developing karting. Carroll's research and develop helped E.C. on carburetor blueprinting and design and a couple times build his own racing chassis. He made a tri-oval Daytona inspired lookalike asphalt track in his home town. The track had a tremendous amount of success and even hosted an IKF Grand National. There has not been an area of karting he has not participated in.
Over the years, E.C. would tell Carroll to buy his place. In 2003, he made him an incredible offer, one he would not refuse. Carroll would become the new owner in 2004 and move E.C.'s shop right next to the track.
Karting, going through significant changes, left many leaving the sport. Kart counts were low, and business was slow. What was gaining interest was the sport of lawnmower racing.
Carroll would hire the most influential ambassador of the sport, George Herrin. George was a multi-time champion. Carroll using his decades of karting and race car experience would push the sport with George's help. Making mower racing the fastest it has ever been. Carroll would make deals with ARC and Precision Cams to add performance reliability and safety to the sport. We developed and created the most extensive catalog of lawnmower racing engines and chassis components. We were the cornerstone for the modern era of the sport going from ungoverned lowered stock tractors to now go-kart style frames and engines tripling the stock output of the engine.
Carroll's knowledge and experience have carried different forms of motorsports to new levels. Tillotson engine and carburetor programs have been successful and influential due to his hard work and dedication. Our shop continues to be the most advanced, leading shop in small engine performance.