Holley Pulls Plug on Hilborn Fuel Injection Brand


After acquiring the legendary brand in 2019, Holley has officially decided to end production of Hilborn, the company synonymous with mechanical fuel injection and an eight-pack of velocity stacks.

Hot rodders have been enamored with individual-runner fuel injection since the 1940s, when company founder Stuart Hilborn proved his simple mechanical fuel injection system was up to the task of powering record-setting land speed racers. Hilborn’s own sleek car set records at Southern California’s El Mirage dry lakebed and was featured on the cover of the fourth issue of Hot Rod magazine, in April 1948.

There’s a lot to love about mechanical fuel injection, particularly its amazing performance at wide-open throttle. Individual velocity stacks can easily be swapped to alter the torque curve, allowing racers to get the best performance possible from their engines. They could simply use the same manifold base and change runners to suit different tracks. Of course, there are drawbacks. Tall stacks aren’t easy to package and are best used on race cars. Off-idle and part-throttle performance is also an issue, although adding modern electronic fuel injectors solved that. Still, there’s just not a huge market for individual-runner EFI systems, especially when less expensive, easier-to-package alternatives provide impressive power of their own.

We reached out to Holley for comment and a spokesman told us that the company had hopes to continue the brand after purchasing the brand and its remaining stock in 2019 and moving it from California to Holley’s HQ in Bowling Green , Kentucky.

“Holley spent the next 3 years attempting to resuscitate the Hilborn brand. Key service parts were re-released to support the existing customer base, and the classic Hilborn stack injection products were reintroduced to the market after being updated with modern CNC manufacturing processes, tooling, and quality systems. In November of 2023, an all-new LS3 EFI-R stack injection system was introduced at the Performance Racing Industry tradeshow hoping to inspire a new generation of Hilborn enthusiasts.”

“While nostalgia is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past”, it doesn’t always equate to sales performance. The performance aftermarket has evolved significantly and while there are still consumers who desire the classic look of a Hilborn, the market is extremely small, leading to the decision to sunset the Hilborn product line.”

“Holley respects the history of Stuart Hilborn’s legacy and has taken steps to ensure that its history will be preserved for future generations.”

Scarab engine powerplant
Peter Harholdt

Hilborn’s website still has a few LS3 EFI intake manifolds and small-block Chevy lower intakes available, so if you’re in the market, now might be the time to snap one up before they’re gone. The Drive has also reported that there’s still support for those hoping to run a vintage Hilborn mechanical fuel injection system, you might just have to find a specialist like Nick Smithberg, who The Drive reports has purchased lots of Hilborn inventory.

It’s sad to see such a long-lived brand with amazing history get shuttered. If you’ve got a car with stack injection, Hilborn or otherwise, go out and fire it up for the late Stuart Hilborn, and give it a few revs in his honor.


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    I agree to the lack of use today for mechanical. It was fussy and not always easy to tune but it worked. I just wish they would just sell it off to someone that could keep it alive with a EFI version as a street rod or hot rod with one is still a classic look.

    I had a local guy with several set ups and I almost installed it on my Chevy. If I had not just put a Tunnel ram on I would have and now wish I had done it. It would have been nice to learn this old school stuff.

    I imagine that if they can sell it off, they will. However, they’d take a big hit, because they’ve already admitted there’s almost no market for the product. The CNC machines will stay with them, so they’d basically be selling the designs and CNC machine programming and perhaps whatever inventory they have. But how much could that be worth if that cost can be amortized over only maybe a couple hundred units at best?

    It sounds like Holley didn’t perform due diligence when making the acquisition. They should have seen the declining numbers in the prior years’ financials as an irreversible trend. It seems they mistook that decline as being a result of quality problems with the product rather than a customer base that is rapidly dying off.

    I couldn’t agree more. Big corporations have big bottom lines. The rod and custom world have lots of people with small companies that fill niche markets and are happy with the sales figures they get. Even today.

    Very dissappointed to see this article populate on my google page. I strongly disagree for Holley to end production of Hilborn Mechaical fuel injection. Having the chance to tune and run a hilborn injection system was an awesome experience. Hopefully tbe decision will overturn in this action.

    Cool, but how many have you bought?

    Keeping a money-losing business open for nostalgia sake alone seems a little foolish. Didn’t seem to be developing new products and it’s core business was finicky vintage tech. It’s tough to be surprised looking at it for more than a few seconds without a the veil of nostalgia clouding vision.

    Completely agree. I hope that Holley keeps up the aftermarket support of parts for existing systems, as was mentioned in the article, but they would be foolish to keep up the cost of selling new systems when they would likely move fewer than a dozen per year. I give them credit for giving it a go, as they surely didn’t acquire the brand with the intent of abandoning it so soon, but the fact that they had to acquire it in the first place was the symptom of a dying product line and market, and clearly they couldn’t save it.

    This is a good time to ask. I heard that the injection pump was from the old Coke machines that mixed the ingredients and squirted it out into the cup. True?

    Like anything else niche, it was outrageously priced for what it is, and that is not to say that it’s all about recouping R&D dollars. They squeeze buyers because it’s a desirable. That said, supplying the nostalgia parts but upgrading it to EFI would have been the bolder move and I’d bet my house on WAY more current hot riders buying in on a Hillborn with Holly Snyper guts. I hope for those purists out there, that Holley won’t sit on the rights to the technology and let it die. A smaller nostalgic parts company could really do well with the castings and CNC programming.

    They make the best LS swap ECU system around which is hardly nostalgic. Holley have absorbed many of the brands and market all sorts of good stuff, like Earl’s.

    I hope this isn’t the sign of things to come with other brands that Holley now owns. If you haven’t been paying attention for about the past 5 years, the amount of companies/brands they have purchased is mind-blowing. The companies could survive as smaller, more niche organizations but might get axed by the venture capitalists if they don’t meet certain parameters after awhile.

    It’s always all about money. Maybe someone can buy the tooling and machines and open a working museum so it can be taught as a history class for racers and still make a few of the setups. I have always loved the look and sound of an engine with a Hilburn system on it. I am burning my Holley hat! Holley has bought so many brands and cheapened the names and reduced the inventory and presence of them all in the name of profit. LOL just my 2-cents. It’s always all been about profit. Can’t do it without profit.

    Yes it is. It’s all about profit. That’s what pays for the groceries and rent.
    And gas money.

    I didn’t even know Holley had purchased Hilborn, all they ever pushed was their synper FI system, you never got news on new Hilborn stuff or saw it on show cars or display vehicles (at least I didn’t see any advertising for it)

    This isn’t the only brand Holley has bought and has shuttered or is seems to be in process. Many import guys use AEM stuff and stuff has been discontinued bit by bit and being sent to a Holley branded product instead. Maybe they are buying things to gain the IP but kill the brands.

    PLEASE FIX YOUR WORD WRAP PROBLEM!! It makes my head hurt and my eyes ache to read since someone changed your software!

    They found him at the snack machines in the breakroom and got him on the case. It looks like it’s fixed (at least in all the articles I’ve looked at this morning). Thanks to the Hagerty Team for preserving our sanity for at least a few more days! 👏

    My comment won’t matter at this point, but I was starting to see more EFI stacks on newer builds, while daily following the performance car thing. Mechanical Hilborn stack injection wasn’t streetable, was for full throttle racing. I think there was some misunderstanding by some possible customers that didn’t understand EFI stack injection, thought it was still the old stuff. You could tell this by comments & questions when seeing the NEW on some late builds. Ya, the market for “throttle body injection” has taken off, more out of necessity on newer builds, even on old gas hog builds. Maybe that’s what scared Holley off more than anything else. To bad it was kool looking different, nothing kool about TB injection.

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