Ed Zink began his racing career during the early 1950s driving a dirt-track roadster powered by a Chevrolet six-cylinder engine. Within a few years his interest shifted to road racing and in 1962 he created his first sports-racer, the Zink Petit. Power was from a DKW engine and mated to a four-speed DKW transmission. The fiberglass body was courtesy of the Jabro MK3. Only about three of these vehicles were ever created but it was enough to prove the racers potential, when Bill Greer was able to navigate the Zink to a SCCA National Championship in 1963 for the H-Modified class.
The Zink Z-4 followed in 1964, with the '4' representing the year that it was created. The knowledge and experience gained and creating the Zink went into the Z-4 and the result was a far superior machine. The engine was placed mid-ship and sent power to the rear wheels. There were only three of these ever created with two being powered DKW engines and one by a Coventry-Climax FWA unit. Disc brakes could be found at all four corners and the fiberglass body was suspended in place by an independent suspension.
For 1965, Zink turned his attention to the emerging Formula Vee Series. The rules for this racing group stated that most of the components were to come from Volkswagen. As such, the Zink Z-5 was powered by a 1200cc Volkswagen engine. The drum brakes and gearbox were also from Volkswagen. The Z-5 had a semi-monocoque chassis and fiberglass body. The racers were very fast and sold very well. In 1966 and 1967 Zink drivers won the FV class in SCCA competition. In 1967, Zink drivers navigated their machines to first through fifth place finishes. The competition was unable to keep up. In response, SCCA regulators banned the stressed steel panel metalwork. Zink created an alternative which allowed the privateers to update their racers to conform to regulations. The Zink Z-5 machines continued their domination and the hundreds of Z-5's produced racked up SCCA Championships through 1970.
The Z-8 was introduced in 1968, keeping with the Zink naming scheme, and was another attempt at creating a sports-racer. The Formula cars were creating adequate income and another attempt at creating a competitive sports racer seemed appropriate. The Z8 used a Volkswagen Type 3 engine with a modified fuel injection system. A Volkswagen gearbox and brakes were also used. Bill Scott drove the prototype racer at the 1968 Sebring race but was forced to retire prematurely due to clutch problems. In total, only one full example was ever created. A spare chassis was create and later finished with a Corvair engine.
In 1969, Zink began producing the Z-9. The Super Vee series had been announced and Zink decided to build a racer for competition. It was given a space frame chassis constructed from stressed aluminum and round and square steel tubing. The engine was a Volkswagen unit, as were the brakes. The Hewland four-speed manual gearbox sent the power to the rear wheels. The racers were clothed in a fiberglass body. In total there were only a few Z-9 racers ever created, amassing about 10 units at most.
Ed Zink continued creating cars until the 1980's. He passed away in 2003.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010