The Justice Brothers Car Care Products World Headquarters and Racing Museum are located on Huntington Drive in the city of Duarte, California. The museum represents the life's work of the Justice Brothers; Gus, Zeke and Ed Justice. From the family beginnings in Eastern Kansas, the three brothers created a business that has grown and thrived in sunny Southern California. The boys grew up in Paola, Kansas, where their father was a popular and successful auctioneer in the cattle business. They watched as their father auctioned off farms, livestock and other kinds of merchandise. "An auctioneer has to put an air of excitement into what he is doing in order to get people bidding," said Ed Justice Jr, the son of Ed Justice. Gus was the eldest brother, followed by Zeke and Ed. They grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930's, followed by World War II, but were not scarred by those events. The brothers each pursued jobs and their father had steady work, but they knew that times were difficult and they realized that it took thought, planning and hard, hard work to be successful. "They certainly worked long, hard hours in those days, even when they really didn't have to," said Ed Justice Jr. There were also three sisters in the family to balance out the three brothers. Gus, Zeke and Ed were driven to succeed. Gus was injured in an automobile accident when he was 21 and paralyzed from the waist down. He simply would not allow his injury to keep him down and with the help of leg braces was able to stand. Gus used the proceeds from the accident to open a diner in Paola. Zeke was the hands on mechanic and builder. Much of the equipment at the plant is due to his experimenting and adapting. The youngest brother, Ed Sr., was the marketing and idea man.
After WWII, the brothers became the first distributors for Wynn Oil Products, owning a distributorship in Florida, Georgia and Cuba, and working the racetracks and auto repair shops. The brothers sold a midget race car to get the money needed for the business. They looked for ways to increase their sales, offering cases of oil and other payments to drivers in return for putting decals on their race cars. No type of racing was overlooked and the Wynn decal showed up on NASCAR stock car racing and the fledgling sport of drag racing. The brothers argued over many issues, but when their minds were made up they were committed to their goal of making their distributorship a success. They raised the money to be the main sponsors of an Indy 500 team fielded by Frank Kurtis; and landed drag racing legend Don Garlits to their stable of racers. The brothers found an opportunity to return to Southern California when a local Wynn distributor wanted to retire. The asking price was $50,000 and that was a great deal of money in those days, but they raised it and never looked back. That's the legacy of the Justice Brothers, they never lacked the courage of their convictions nor the foresight to see a good deal when it was presented to them. The new Southern California distributorship for the Wynn Company proved to be very lucrative, but the brothers were not always satisfied with the relationship they had with the parent company. While they always maintained excellent relations with the founder, they felt constrained by the new owners of Wynn and felt that they could create a company that was more responsive to the marketplace. The Justice Brothers Car Care Products was born and the brothers set about to make it a success. Gus was the chief financial officer and the one in charge of investment capital. Zeke was the man in charge of the formulations and equipment. Ed was the salesman, whose ability to market and promote the company came from the skills that he observed in his father.
The company was the composite of all three men and over the years they trained Ed's son, Ed Justice Jr, to take over and run the business the way they wanted it to be run. Advertise, market, work hard, act sensibly, but with an eye to opportunity was their credo. Never be afraid to trust your feelings and intuition and act on them was their mission. The brothers believed there was no dishonor in failing at something, because it meant that you tried. They knew that there would be missteps along the way, but that the only true failure in life was not to try at all. Ed Justice Jr has proved to be just the leader of the company that Gus, Zeke and Ed wanted. Junior had the typical Justice family ability to foresee what the public needed and he increased the number of products that the company sells eight times to over a hundred items. He is a hands-on leader, just as his father and uncle were. He knows his employees well and the car care products community even better. He has his own nationally syndicated radio show called Road and Track Speed Radio, which is on the air from 1-3 pm Pacific Time, every Saturday, in over 60 markets, including Boston, Miami and Los Angeles. More information on the radio show can also be accessed by going on-line to www.edjusticejr.com. "I do about four hours of preparation for the show and then 2 hours live of interviews on racing, new cars and products," said Ed. "I've done several shows with your father, Wally Parks, and other racing greats," he went on. Ed is a very busy man, but he always has the time to stop what he's doing and promote the company. He loves what he does and sees the company as a way to be able to pursue the automotive racing world. Gus and Zeke have passed away, but Ed Sr still comes around the headquarters and museum. He stops in occasionally and sees that Ed Jr is still directing the company the way he and his brothers had hoped. Something Ed Jr has done for over 20 years now, resulting in the company having a major global presence today.
We often see father and son at racing events, car shows, reunions and other automotive activities around the country. They love what they are doing and they treat those in automotive sports as family, more than friends. The Justice Brothers are quick to offer sponsorships and the walls of their office are filled with hundreds upon hundreds of 8x10 framed photographs of drag, oval, stock and land speed cars of teams they have helped. Let's not forget boat racers, for they have been sponsored by the brothers as well. Their love of racing goes deep and centers on the skills of Zeke, who built, crewed and designed many race cars. Their museum is in the first tier of great automotive racing museums in the world. The racing world knows about the merits of the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, the San Diego Automotive Museum and other outstanding museums. The Justice Brothers Automotive Museum is equal to and in some respects better than those mentioned and I've spent a lot of time at all of these fine collections. The buildings are smaller at the Justice Brothers Automotive Museum, but the collection of cars and memorabilia is extremely rich and varied. There is even a very nice selection of non-racing, completely-stock, and showroom cars. I asked Ed about that and he said that it's important to show the youth of today how the stock showroom cars evolved down into the racing cars of that bygone era. He said that the museum has over 120 cars on display and they are expanding. The website for the museum is at http://justicebrothers.com/pages/racing-museum/racing&museum.htm. The museum is open to the public from 8am-5pm, Monday through Fridays, but I would suggest that you check the website and then call the staff to let them know that you are coming, although it's not necessary. They are extremely friendly to the public and will also accommodate large groups as their schedule permits. It is necessary to call in order to book large groups. I've seen the Bonneville 200mph Club members, the Society of Automotive Historians, the L.A. Roadster Club and many other car clubs meet at the museum.
The Justice Brothers Car Care Products and the Justice family occupy a place within the racing community that is irreplaceable. I can't envision a world in automotive racing without the Justice family. First, their impact is permanent, varied and important. But, more important than that is their friendship. No gathering, no reunion, no car show and no race would be complete without Ed Sr. and Jr. They are as much a part of who we are as a racing family than they are the Justice brothers themselves. If you have a car club that's interested in high quality race cars or if you just want to go as an individual, come and visit the Justice Brothers Automotive Museum. You'll be glad you did.
Gone Racin' is at [email protected].