In March, 1966, Manley Speed Equipment, Inc. was founded by Hank Manley shortly after his graduation from Brown University. His interest in performance and racing traced back to 1960 when at age seventeen he rebuilt a 312 CID Ford V-8 engine, installed a camshaft and three two-barrel carburetors, and raced a 1956 Thunderbird on the streets of New Jersey.
Initially the line included stainless valves, forged pistons, camshafts, lifters, vanadium valve springs, push rods and timing chain kits. The first catalog was mimeographed paper. The address of the company, prophetically, was 13 Race Street in Bloomfield, New Jersey. A name change to Manley Performance Products, Inc soon followed.
Don Garlits, Bo Laws and Joe Mondello were early customers and their race cars appeared on the cover of the 1969 catalog. In 1971 a decade-long relationship began with legendary Bill Jenkins and Grumpy’s Toy made its initial appearance on the cover of a Manley catalog. The flamboyant Funny Car showman “Jungle Jim” Liberman was also a prized customer and friend.
Hank’s son, Trip Manley, spent the summertime during his youth learning the trade while working in the valve department at Manley Performance. In 1987, Trip had the opportunity to work for the Gywnn family on Darrell’s Top Fuel team. This was the experience of a lifetime, not only being employed by the Gywnns and learning about the Fuel car, but traveling the country and getting a first-hand education from guys like Chris Cunningham and Mike Green (Mike has been a top crew chief for many years since his early days maintaining the cylinder heads for Darrell). Before entering his final year of college in 1988, Trip worked for American Eagle Marine, an offshore boat racing team in Torrance, CA, in the engine department; primarily focused on cylinder head development.
After completing his academic education, Trip was off to New England; to run the northeast sales territory for Manley Performance. Two years later he took over the Sales Manager position and today he and his management team, consisting of Michael Tokarchik (G.M.), Gil Morejon (CFO) and Peter Coleman (Manufacturing Manager), run the company’s day to day operations.
By 1988 the company had outgrown the Bloomfield facility and several acres were purchased in Lakewood, New Jersey for the construction of a new factory. Ten years later the manufacturing space was doubled. Connecting rods were now manufactured in the plant along with a line of Platinum Series forged pistons.