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The Justice Brothers were associated with cars and speed since the earliest years of their life. Growing up tn Paola, Kansas, they started driving before they were teenagers.
The lure of the car crazy culture of Southern California called and Ed Justice, Sr. responded by driving out on the famed Route 66 to his new home. The trip was paid for by his three passengers who paid $25 each and were allowed to bring anything that fit in a peck sack.
Ed was able to convince his brother Zeke to leave his job at Western Auto in Kansas City by getting him a job with the legendary multi-millionaire Joel Thorne as part of his race shop fabrication crew. Thorne and his crew won the 1946 Indy 500 with George Robson as his driver.
The Justice Brothers first racecar that they hand built in the Ingersoll Drilling Rig shop, in Paola, Kansas.
Zeke Justice (left, in white, hands on hips) with Frank Kurtis (the tallest in the photo) the night they delivered the finished NOVI Indy racecar.
Zeke Justice (left, behind wagon fender) & Ed Justice (right, head turned towards camera) on the beach at Daytona during one of the early beach Daytona stock car races.
Ed Justice, at right, working in the Kurtis-Kraft race shop with a few of the Kurtis-Kraft midgets under construction in the background.
Post World War II
After World War II was over, Frank Kurtis started Kurtis-Kraft and it was at this time that Zeke became his first employee. Following World War II Ed joined Zeke at Kurtis-Kraft. Both were part of a small crew that constructed a reported 500 midget cars. Zeke was also part of the team that built the legendary Novi engine powered Indy car.
Because of Ed's background as an aircraft mechanic, he suggested to Zeke one day that they should add Dzus fasteners to the Kurtis midget they were working on instead of the currently used 'nut plates'. Thus resulted in the first use of Dzus fasteners on a racecar. During their time at Kurtis-Kraft, they started a racecar repair and fabrication shop they operated during their free hours of nights and weekends. It was called Justice Brothers Racecar Repair & Fabrication. They built a midget car for themselves during this time and after racing it once at Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles, they sold the car for a $2,500 profit.
They subsequently invested this money into the oil business. In 1946, the Justice Brothers attended their first Indianapolis 500. Zeke was a crewmember on the team of Bayliss Leverett. The brothers also sponsored this car. 4 years later, they won the race as sponsors of Frank Kurtis' factory Indianapolis 500 entry with driver Johnnie Parsons. In 1952, they scored a second place finish with Jim Rathmann driving for Andy Granatelli and his brothers Joe and Vince.
During this time, the Justice Brothers had moved to Jacksonville, Florida and had become involved in the formation of a new organization known as NASCAR. They had met Bill France, Sr. by selling him their oil products for use at his service station. They became the first multi-car sponsor in NASCAR with their companies’ logo appearing on virtually every car. Their attendance and participation in the very beginning of NASCAR has appeared in many books including Smokey Yunick’s 3-volume autobiography. Smokey was a close personal friend of Zeke Justice.
One of the many notable victories they achieved in NASCAR was at the inaugural Southern 500 held at the new Darlington racetrack in Darlington, South Carolina. Darlington Raceway was the first 'Super Speedway' built for NASCAR racing. Johnny Mantz delivered the second major victory for the Justice Brothers in 1950 by driving car owner Hubert Westmoreland’s Plymouth to victory in NASCAR's first 500 mile race. The Justice Brothers were the sole sponsor on Westmoreland and Mantz's car.
A picture of Santa Monica that was shot by the young Ed Justice when he first arrived at his new home.
Ed Justice, Jr. (right) with Bill Pollack at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, decades after Bill’s first introduction to Zeke Justice.
The War Years
During Zeke’s time working for Joel Thorne, he met a young Frank Kurtis who had a rented space in the Thorne shop. Zeke would later become Frank's first employee when he formed Kurtis-Kraft. During his time at Thorne Engineering in Burbank, California, Zeke worked on a variety projects including the occasional side projects.
One interesting side project was the modification of a car for a young Bill Pollack. Bill would later win the first grand prix at Pebble Beach in 1951. Bill also designed the racecourse in Southern California known as Willow Springs.
Ed enlisted into the Army Air Corps during the beginning of World War II and served in the eighth air force in Europe. Zeke suffered from Polio and was unable to serve in the military. He continued to work for Joel Thorne, whose shop was now making aircraft parts for the war effort.
Ed pictured in England during World War II. He served in the 8th Air force.
Zeke (left) and Ed in their early years in California.
When Johnny Mantz won the inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, the Justice Brothers were his only sponsor.
Justice Brothers supported the ALMS winning Risi Competizione.
Jeff Conaway gets ready to paint a car in the movie GREASE. Over his back you can see the Justice Brothers logo.
The company has been led for the past 25 years by Ed Justice, Jr. who also is a well-known award winning nationally syndicated radio host. Ed has appeared on numerous radio shows. He is best known as the former host of ROAD & TRACK radio. Ed is currently on MOTOR TREND radio.
In 2012, the Justice Brothers celebrated their 67th year of participation in the Indianapolis 500. In recent years Justice Brothers were supporters of PJ Jones in 2007, son of the 1963 winner Parnelli Jones, Greg Ray, front row qualifier in 1998, Jeff Ward, 2nd place finisher in 1999 and Eddie Cheever 5th place finisher in 2000.
They are also support numerous teams throughout all forms of motor sport around the world. They claimed victory in the 2003 and 2004 24 Hours of LeMans as supporters of the Petersen Motorsports Porsche. The Ferrari team of Risi Competizione was supported by Justice Brothers in the American LeMans Series.
The Justice Brothers eventually found their way back to California where the company in headquartered today. A private collection of racing vehicles and classic cars is housed in a building next to the companies’ world headquarters in Duarte, California. Justice Brothers, Inc. continues to manufacture and distribute their line of products for the Automotive, Heavy Equipment/SEMI, Agricultural and Industrial markets.
Famous employees and business associates
Awards and recognition
Justice Brothers supported A.J. Foyt for his record 30th Indy 500.
Justice Brothers supported the LeMans winning team of Petersen White Lightning.
Harrison Ford (left), Sally Field and Henry Winkler sit around a can of Justice Brothers Carb Cleaner from a scene in the movie HEROS.
Ed Justice, Jr. accepts the induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame for the Justice Brothers.
Watch THE JUSTICE BROTHERS STORY documentary below.
Gus Justice with two of the over 500 “Crew” shirts that the Justice Brothers brought to the 1950 inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. These were the first uniforms in NASCAR. Before this everyone wore t-shirts and street clothes.