Holley Performance Products

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Holley Performance Products is an automotive performance company based in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Holley, when based in Michigan, was one of the major producers of carburetors, being supplied as standard equipment on many Detroit-built automobiles.

Later they manufactured carburetors for V8 street and racing applications such as the Holley "double pumper". Holley-style carburetors have powered every NASCAR Sprint Cup team and every NHRA Pro–Stock champion for four decades, these series clinging to the carburetor long after the car manufacturers had switched to fuel-injection. Holley's product range has expanded to include fuel injection, performance fuel pumps, intake manifolds, cylinder heads and engine dress–up products for street performance, race and marine applications. Among the company's owned divisions are brand names Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS), Weiand, FlowTech, Earls and Hooker Headers.

History[edit]

Holley Brothers Company advertisement for carburetors in the Automobile Trade Journal, 1916.

Holley began in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1896 when brothers George (1878-1963) and Earl Holley started a company to produce a small one-cylinder three-wheeled vehicle they dubbed the "Runabout", with a top speed of 30 mph. At the eve of the era of motorcars, the brothers decided to start the Holley Motor Company, and produced one four-wheeled model: "The Holley brothers built their first marketable automobile in 1902. They called it the Holley Motorette and it sold for $550. More than 600 were produced." [1]

"Their first original carburetor, called the iron pot, appeared on the curved-dash Oldsmobile in 1904." [2] In April 1905 Holley Brothers Company was established with an address at 661-75 Beaubien St., Detroit, Michigan.[3] The brothers then concentrated on the manufacturing of carburetors and ignition systems.[4] As a result of the Motorette Henry Ford commissioned the brothers to produce a carburetor for his Model T. "The carburetor they built for Ford was an immediate success and the brothers founded Holley Carburetor Co., which became one of Ford's biggest suppliers." [5]

In 1913 George Holley made a tour of Germany to study manufacturing methods, accompanied by Henry M. Leland, when it was said that a Holley carburetor: "was on more than one-half of the automobiles sent out from American factories this year." [6]

In 1925 a Holley employee, Daniel H. Meloche, was awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal by the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia.[7] He had invented an improved refractory coating for casting molds, allowing permanent iron molds to make gray iron castings over many cycles, whereas earlier iron molds were quickly consumed when casting iron.[8] The process employing long-life molds was leased to the River Rouge plant of the Ford Motor Company, the Harrison Radiator Corporation, and the plant of Ludwig, Loewe & Co., of Berlin.[9]

In 1929 the Los Angeles Times reported that George M. Holley of Pasadena and Detroit and a director of the Aviation Corporation of Delaware, has been elected a director of the Bach Aircraft Corporation. Holley, while serving as president of the Holley Carburetor Company, was also a director of National Air Transport, Kinner Airplane and Motor, Stinson Aircraft of Detroit, Air Investors Inc., Towie Aircraft Company of Detroit, and one of the original stockholders of Western Air Express Inc.[10] In 1931 Holley became a director of the Warner Aircraft Corporation.[11]

In 1952 Holley closed a plant at Portland, Michigan, which moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky.[12] That year Holley produced the Visi-flo carburetor, with a glass inspection window to make a visual check of the fuel level, sediment, flooding and float action. The glass fuel bowl was manufactured by the Lancaster Lens company of Lancaster, Ohio.[13] In 1955 the Wall Street Journal reported: "Bowling Green Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of Holley Carburetor Co., each year sends its employes dummy "checks" made out for the amount each employee has received indirectly through fringe benefits." [14]

In 1968 the Plain Dealer reported: "Colt Industries Inc. has acquired Holley Carburetor Co., of Warren, Michigan, following approval by directors of both companies. Holley Carburetor which makes auto ignition systems and aviation fuel controls, employs about 3,000 at four facilities in three states." [15] At this time the corporate, engineering and sales headquarters were in Warren, with plants in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Paris, Tennessee and Clare, Michigan.[16] Holley was said to have a turnover of $40 million in 1967. At the time of the sale the company was primarily owned by members of the Holley family.[17]

In 1974 Holley was making carburetors for Ford and some under its own name at Paris, Tennessee.[18] "Significant facilities expansions were initiated in 1979 at Water Valley, Mississippi to meet carburetor requirements for the new Ford Motor Company four-cylinder car, code named Erika, and in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Paris, Tennessee and Sallisaw, Oklahoma." [19] In 1993 Coltec Industries Inc., of New York, closed the administrative offices at Warren, Michigan, and a warehouse at Goodlettsville, Tennessee. These functions were moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky.[20]

Holley entered the 1980s positioned as the only carburetor manufacturer to offer entire fuel systems from intakes to fuel pumps. Holley continued its dominance in nearly all forms of racing powering all winning NHRA Pro Stock racers and once again all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ teams of the day. The ‘80s also saw Holley’s entrance into the fuel injection market where original equipment EFI components and analog Pro-Jection® retrofit fuel injection systems for carbureted cars were introduced.

In the early 1990’s Holley continued its new product introductions. The wildly popular HP Pro Series race ready carburetors were introduced. Many became the standard in racing but are not exclusive. During this time Holley invented the SysteMAX® engine kits that included matched cylinder heads, intakes and cams. The Dominator also evolved in the ‘90s into the HP Dominator, huge billet electric fuel pumps were introduced, and retrofit EFI kits evolved into digital Pro-Jection 4D and 4Di.

In 1998 Coltec Industries sold Holley Performance for $100 million to a management-led team backed by Kohlberg & Co., L.L.C. [21]

In 1999, after becoming independent of Coltec Industries, the management team purchased a number of other aftermarket companies in an effort to provide a "full package" to their customers/dealers. These companies include: Weiand (intake manifolds and superchargers), B&M's supercharger division, Hooker Headers, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Flow Tech exhaust, Lunati (camshafts, crankshafts, pistons and connecting rods), NOS (Nitrous Oxide Systems, Inc), and So-Cal Speed Shop, as well as a few ancillary companies.

In 2000 Holley leased a facility in Aberdeen, Mississippi, with a plan to centralise five existing plants in the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada.[22]

2009 Former Holley CFO Tom Tomlinson is appointed CEO of Holley Performance.

2010 Holley creates the LS Fest, a show, race and celebration of vehicles that utilize a GM LSV8 engine.[23] The LS-Fest has a variety of bracket racing, engine swap, braking, autocross, show & shine and other events that attracted large crowds and participants to the show's venue September 10–12, 2010, at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY. Heavy media attention from niche, consumer performance publications, TV shows and websites. The LS Fest has been continuing every year in September.

2013 marks Holley's 110th anniversary.

Standard Equipment On Modern Race Cars[edit]

In 2011 NASCAR decides to switch from carburetors to fuel injection systems for the 2012 Sprint Cup racing season. Holley's billet aluminum throttle bodies were selected in conjunction with a McLaren Electronic Systems and Freescale Semiconductor.[24]

2012 Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold becomes standard equipment on GM COPO Camaros equipped with the LS7 aluminum block.[25]

2012 Holley's Earl brand transmission coolers become standard equipment on GM COPO Camaros.[25]

2013 Holley HP EFI engine control unit (ECU) became standard equipment used on all of Chevrolet Performance’s COPO Camaro factory-built race cars.[25]

Bankruptcy Facts[edit]

As of February 12, 2008, Holley filed for bankruptcy.[26] The 2008 bankruptcy led Holley to transfer its equity to holders of $95 million in second-lien debt. During 2009 Holley closed a plant at Tijuana, Mexico, that made Hooker Headers, and transferred the work to Aberdeen, Mississippi.[27] As of September 28, 2009, Holley filed for bankruptcy Chapter 11 protection.[28]

Effective June 22, 2010, Holley emerged from bankruptcy protection.[29]

In 2012, the private equity firm Monomoy Capital Partners acquired Holley Performance Products.[30]

See also[edit]

Competitor[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "George Holley, Auto Pioneer, 85". New York Times. 28 June 1963. p. 24. Retrieved 9 October 2012. "He and his brother, Earl, who died in 1958, developed the "iron pot" carburetor that helped launch the early curved-dash Oldsmobile and the first Model T Ford" 
  2. ^ Mike Urich, Bill Fisher, Holley carburetors, manifolds & fuel injection: how to select, install, tune, repair, and modify Holley fuel system components for street and racing use, Page 6, Penguin, 1994.
  3. ^ International Motor Cyclopaedia, Year Book-March 1908 to March 1909, Page 241, Publisher: E.E. Schwarzkopf, New York.
  4. ^ "Holley Performance Products History". Holley.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  5. ^ Plain Dealer, December 7, 1958, Page 25.
  6. ^ Oregonian, July 13, 1913, Section 4, Page 4.
  7. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Edward Longstreth Medal 1925 Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ U.S. Patent 1,453,593
  9. ^ Seattle Daily Times, May 17, 1925, Page 30.
  10. ^ Los Angeles Times, March 21, 1929, Page 14.
  11. ^ Wall Street Journal, March 20, 1931, Page 7.
  12. ^ Plain Dealer, March 12, 1953, Page 13.
  13. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, September 7, 1952, Page A6.
  14. ^ "Fringe Binge: Unions Set to Push For a Big Expansion of Non-Wage Benefits," Wall Street Journal, February 10, 1955, Page 4.
  15. ^ Plain Dealer, February 11, 1968, Page 50.
  16. ^ Colt Industries Annual Report, 1967, Page 3.
  17. ^ Wall Street Journal, February 7, 1968, Page 21.
  18. ^ Mobile Register, June 28, 1974, Page 7.
  19. ^ Colt Industries Annual Report, 1979, Page 12.
  20. ^ Wall Street Journal, September 10, 1993, Page B4.
  21. ^ New York Times, April 15, 1998, Page D4.
  22. ^ Michael Paulk, Memphis Business Journal, Memphis, May 05, 2000, Vol.22, Iss.1, Page 1.
  23. ^ Holley Announces LS Fest Event For September 2010: January 18, 2010
  24. ^ "EFI Opens A Wealth Of Possibilities To Competitors: February 2012". Nascar.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  25. ^ a b c Chevrolet Performance Parts, Grand Blanc,MI
  26. ^ Church, Steven (2008-02-11). "Holley, Specialty Car-Parts Maker, Files Bankruptcy". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  27. ^ Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, January 22, 2009.
  28. ^ Hals, Tom. "UPDATE 1-Auto-parts maker Holley files for bankruptcy". Reuters.com. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  29. ^ Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, June 29, 2010.
  30. ^ Primack, Dan (2012-06-12). "Private equity deals: June 12, 2012". Finance.fortune.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 

External links[edit]