Holley Shuts Down Iconic Hilborn Brand After 70 Years

The name that became synonymous with mechanical fuel injection has seemingly been put on the shelf for good.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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Hilborn Fuel Injection


Aftermarket giant Holley is shutting down the iconic Hilborn brand, the legendary performance parts company that pioneered mechanical fuel injection almost 80 years ago. The news was first reported by independent speed shops and hot-rodders across the country, and Holley provided The Drive with an official statement on Monday confirming the closure.

“As the automotive aftermarket industry evolves, we are constantly evaluating the performance of our brands and businesses to position Holley for a strong future and to continue meeting the evolving needs of the enthusiasts we serve," a Holley spokesperson told me via email. "As part of this process, we have made the decision to sunset our Hilborn brand. Hilborn will always hold an important place in the legacy of hot rodding, and we are committed to preserving its history for future generations of enthusiasts.”

The Hilborn name survived an acquisition by Holley in 2019, though its presence in the online marketplace has been fairly quiet over the last 18 months. The company's Facebook page only posted a handful of times in 2023, with its latest share promoting a Holley company-wide holiday sale in December. There was also a new product announcement a few days before that showing off an LS3 EFI-R injector manifold and LS Gen IV valley cover kits.

"It is with great sadness that I must report that Holley has decided to close the Hilborn line," Starr Performance and Consulting shared on Facebook.

Comments under that social media post indicate that Hilborn's designs could live on, fortunately. One claims that Nick Smithberg of Smithberg Racing and Boss Fuel Injection purchased Hilborn inventory, with another related Facebook post mentioning him by name as well. Smithberg himself appeared in the comment section, simply acknowledging it by saying, "Checking in."

Hilborn Fuel Injection

Stuart Hilborn almost singlehandedly established mechanical fuel injection as a mainstay in the American car aftermarket. He was introduced to hot-rodding in 1938, living in Southern California. Hilborn watched dry lake bed racers hit triple-digit speeds, which encouraged him to push for more. One of his streamliners even became the first to hit 150 miles per hour in 1948.

A later crash broke two of Hilborn's vertebrae, ending his racing career. Still, his assemblies were a popular choice for dry lake bed runners, and before long, word spread to drag strips and oval tracks around the United States. No matter if it was a winged sprint car or an altered fuel quarter-mile machine, you knew when you saw the polished and flared velocity stacks springing up from each cylinder that Hilborn had a hand in making it go fast.

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Mr. Hilborn passed away in 2013 at the age of 96. His company continued selling intake manifolds as well as mechanical and electronic fuel injection systems for different engine makes. Forum posts from 2019 show that hot rod community members were hopeful the Holley and Hilborn tie-up would be a boon.

At the time of publishing, Hilborn's site displays a page of miscellaneous small-block Chevy upgrades and several more with various service components like hose assemblies, synchrometers, and steel ram tubes.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET on 02/26/2024: This story has been updated to include Holley's official confirmation of the Hilborn closure.

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