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Old 01-07-2021, 04:12 PM   #1
Henry Floored
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Default Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Hey gang, thanks for having a look at my silly post. I’m more apt to post in the Early V8 section because that’s more of what I’ve been into over the years. But I’m dipping my toe in the water here and calling on your vast knowledge.

Anyhow I wonder if any of you can help color back into my memory the beginnings of the 4150 Holley carburetor. Some people call it the “Holley/Ford” carb.

In a discussion on another forum about iconic hot rod parts that have stood the test of time I offered the Holley 4150 as a Ford based contribution that really became the most popular and iconic carburetor in the U.S. racing scene.

I worked for Ford dealerships for a big part of my life and vaguely remember stories told about the origins of that epic carb design. I understood the story I heard that Ford engineers were intimately involved in the development of that carburetor along with Holley R & D.

I have read how much a part Ford engineering played a role in the later 4500 series “Dominator” designed for NASCAR racing so it’s logical that this was a common working relationship between the two companies.

If you know I’d love to hear what you have to say. I’ve searched the Internet and other than obvious design cues like accelerator pump circuits and power valves that were similar or identical to earlier Ford carbs I’ve not been able to get detailed history on how that all happened.

Thanks in advance. I realize this is not a specific technical problem I’m having with a car I’m working on but it might be a fun brain exercise just the same.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history


The 4150 4-barrel came out in '57. I thought I read many years ago that one of the Edelbrock techs came up with the "modular" idea that also was applied to the 2 barrel 2300 series. The 4150 has primary and secondary metering blocks that contain the jets and power valve(s), while the later 4160 uses a secondary metering plate with drilled fixed jetting. Great carbs I still use.
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Old 01-07-2021, 07:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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The 4150 4-barrel came out in '57. I thought I read many years ago that one of the Edelbrock techs came up with the "modular" idea that also was applied to the 2 barrel 2300 series. The 4150 has primary and secondary metering blocks that contain the jets and power valve(s), while the later 4160 uses a secondary metering plate with drilled fixed jetting. Great carbs I still use.
Interesting Bob, thank you I hadnít heard that before about Edelbrock. That modular design was quite a breakthrough and probably what gives the 4150 the advantage over other designs in that it is so tunable.

Itís also interesting that the Ford 4100 looks so much like a Holley except that the main body and float bowls are cast together.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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Itís also interesting that the Ford 4100 looks so much like a Holley except that the main body and float bowls are cast together.
I find it more intriguing that the newer Holley single-body castings resemble the Ford/Autolite 4100s.
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Old 01-08-2021, 07:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

I've nothing to back this up with but I'm in the camp that believes the model 4150 development came about as a result of the horsepower race that was developing in the Fifties. The 4V Carter and Rochester carburetors came out in 1952 and were already a dual needle seat design which made those carbs already geared up for the upcoming horsepower race. The first Holley 4V carbs were introduced as the model 2140 in 1953 and evolved further into the model 4000 in 1955. Both the model 2140 and 4000 carbs incorporated a single needle seat design which was good for simplicity purposes but caused problems when the horsepower numbers started rising. The single seat needle design simply could not supply enough fuel. To compound the problem with the single needle seat design, the fuel reservoir was also on the small side so the fuel bowl was prone to emptying even quicker. Hence the development of the dual needle seat model 4150 carbs with ample sized fuel bowls. Just my two cents worth. Feel free to shoot holes in this. Ted Eaton.
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Old 01-08-2021, 07:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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Excellent input guys! Thanks for chiming in. Really helps paint in the picture.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Ford was in with Holley clear back before the Model T era as a supplier of parts. Henry Ford made deals with them for manufacture of Holley designs in the early V8 years. When Ford decided to use the Holley Load-O-Matic designs in the 8BA era, that carried through on into the early Y-block years which affected both carburetion and ignition for spark control. With the larger engines coming on line in 1957, this finally signaled a change in ignition systems to better control the spark for higher performance engines that were in demand. Using the new type distributor with mechanical advance and vacuum load control required a change to carburetion as well. The new designs were develoved to work with the newer MEL and FE engines that were coming on line or in development at the time so it makes sense that the 4150 would show up in that time frame. Ford wanted to build there own stuff so the 2100 2V and 4100 4V carbs were developed so that Ford could save some bucks & make their own carbs as well but the Holley 4150 was used for most special performance applications well after that.

GM gravitated toward the Rochester carbs with some Carter carbs and Mopar used a lot of Carter carbs but Holley carbs were generally preferred for special high performance applications by most manufacturers when they wanted top performance. The modular design allowed for easy changes on the fly. It was a lot easier to tune an engine for different altitudes if you had a Holley 4150.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 01-10-2021 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:14 AM   #8
Dobie Gillis
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Here's a link to some Holley history:

http://www.smethporthistory.org/brad...boratorco.html

George Holley was building cars and motorized bikes for a few years before Ford although he was better known for carburetors. Rumor has it that Henry made a deal with Holley to reduce competition, sort of a "I'll build cars and you supply the carburetors" deal. The Holley car was pretty advanced for the time so if this is true Henry made a very shrewd move.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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Originally Posted by TedEaton View Post
I've nothing to back this up with but I'm in the camp that believes the model 4150 development came about as a result of the horsepower race that was developing in the Fifties. The 4V Carter and Rochester carburetors came out in 1952 and were already a dual needle seat design which made those carbs already geared up for the upcoming horsepower race. The first Holley 4V carbs were introduced as the model 2140 in 1953 and evolved further into the model 4000 in 1955. Both the model 2140 and 4000 carbs incorporated a single needle seat design which was good for simplicity purposes but caused problems when the horsepower numbers started rising. The single seat needle design simply could not supply enough fuel. To compound the problem with the single needle seat design, the fuel reservoir was also on the small side so the fuel bowl was prone to emptying even quicker. Hence the development of the dual needle seat model 4150 carbs with ample sized fuel bowls. Just my two cents worth. Feel free to shoot holes in this. Ted Eaton.
I agree with what Ted is saying and also, I believe the Holley 4150 design was needed because of the lower hood lines every year. The Holley 2140/4000 teapot type carb was considerably taller. So basicly killed two birds with one design.

Sal
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Does anybody have an opinion, good or bad, about the Ford 4100? I have used them and I'm impressed with the performance and reliability. I have one on a modified 302 in a Ranger and the performance is aw same. Hit the gas pedal and all four barrels are open with no hesitation!
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

I have always had good luck with the few that I've had and several dozen 2100's over the years. I think they are not quite as sophisticated as some other carbs but simple and reliable. I'm not a carb person but I can rebuild one for myself but the newer 4300 stuff is over my pay grade. I believe the Summit carb is a copy of a Holley that was a copy of the 4100.
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

I wish there was a “like” button because I sure like and appreciate all the input. Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

I've been doing all carbs for a long time, and I think the Ford 4100 and 2100 are great carbs. Also easy to work on. They may be the only carbs you can actually run with the tops off, if you're ever curious about fuel levels.

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Old 01-09-2021, 08:26 PM   #14
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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I wish there was a “like” button because I sure like and appreciate all the input. Thanks!
Henry Floored, there is...
Just above the right side of the very first post is a Rate Thread button that lets you assign the number of stars.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Performance was good enough with the 4100. The only problem I had with them was with the secondary vacuum actuator diaphragm. The diaphragm parts available to me at the time didn't hold up well over time. I would have preferred a manually operated secondary due to that but when they worked, they worked well enough. My old 64 T-bird would git right on down the road in a hurry if I wanted it to.
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

For some reason Ford couldn't make up it's mind in 1957. 312's came from the factory with either a 4150 Holley, a 4100 Ford (Motorcraft/Autolite) or a Carter AFB. Since all 3 were new that year maybe Ford didn't want to put all their eggs in one basket.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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For some reason Ford couldn't make up it's mind in 1957. 312's came from the factory with either a 4150 Holley, a 4100 Ford (Motorcraft/Autolite) or a Carter AFB. Since all 3 were new that year maybe Ford didn't want to put all their eggs in one basket.
I'm pretty sure the T-Birds only got the Holley 4150 in '57. I think Mercury 312's favored the Carter AFB, but they were also put on Ford 312's. Don't think the Mercury 312 ever got a 4100 Autolite in '57.

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Old 01-16-2021, 03:20 AM   #18
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Post Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

Sorry about the large type. My browser and this site clashes at times -

HOLLEY introduced the H4150 in 1957.

HOLLEY designed the FORD 4100/2100 expressly for FOMOCO and was also released in 1957.

FOMOCO bought the 4100/2100 design rights from HOLLEY in 1964 and began to make several improvements over the original design.

The 4100 was last used in the 1969 model year.

Both CARB STYLES were introduced along with the HOLLEY DUAL ADVANCE DIST (1957).

The 4100 was intended as a lower cost/easier serviceability alternative to the H4150.

The 1957 MERC 312 used either the H4150 or CARTER AFB.

The 1957 LINC/MERC 368 LYB used the CARTER WCFB as the intake plenum was a square-bore design.

FOMOCO did not acquire AUTOLITE until 1961 so the 4100 was designated FORD until about 1964-65 when FORD assigned CARBS to its AUTOLITE DIVISION. It then became known as the AUTOLITE 4100.

The HOLLEY 4010/4011 was introduced as a street carburetor combining both features of the 4150 and 4100 (similar in appearance to the 4100). It had a few design flaws and HOLLEY dropped it due to low sales (aftermarket). HOLLEY destroyed all tooling.

The design rights were later sold and what you see now is the SUMMIT CARB – MADE IN CHINA.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:56 AM   #19
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Default Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

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Sorry about the large type. My browser and this site clashes at times -

HOLLEY introduced the H4150 in 1957.

HOLLEY designed the FORD 4100/2100 expressly for FOMOCO and was also released in 1957.

FOMOCO bought the 4100/2100 design rights from HOLLEY in 1964 and began to make several improvements over the original design.

The 4100 was last used in the 1969 model year.

Both CARB STYLES were introduced along with the HOLLEY DUAL ADVANCE DIST (1957).

The 4100 was intended as a lower cost/easier serviceability alternative to the H4150.

The 1957 MERC 312 used either the H4150 or CARTER AFB.

The 1957 LINC/MERC 368 LYB used the CARTER WCFB as the intake plenum was a square-bore design.

FOMOCO did not acquire AUTOLITE until 1961 so the 4100 was designated FORD until about 1964-65 when FORD assigned CARBS to its AUTOLITE DIVISION. It then became known as the AUTOLITE 4100.

The HOLLEY 4010/4011 was introduced as a street carburetor combining both features of the 4150 and 4100 (similar in appearance to the 4100). It had a few design flaws and HOLLEY dropped it due to low sales (aftermarket). HOLLEY destroyed all tooling.

The design rights were later sold and what you see now is the SUMMIT CARB Ė MADE IN CHINA.
Thanks sir!

Reading through this excellent chronology of carb history I take this to mean the 4150 and the earlier 2 barrel version were done independently of Ford just supplied to them as a vendor item.

The 4150 is such an iconic component used on everything from trucks to race cars that I think the history and thought process behind creating it is worth talking about.

Thanks again I appreciate you!
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Old 01-18-2021, 04:50 AM   #20
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Thumbs up Re: Holley 4150 carburetor development history

You are more than welcome. Now that is my personal remembrance of how it progressed. It may be flawed but even HEMMINGS TECH ARTICLES don't have it correct (IMO)

HOLLEY ran into EMISSIONS in the late sixties. That is why FORD went to the 4300 SERIES (designed by ROCHESTER) The H4180 was an attempt at an EMISSIONS COMPLIANT performance carb but FORD then went to CFI and MPFI.

I personally would have nothing but a HOLLEY unless just a street driver when I might use a 4100 or 4010. The original 4010 is still available from HOLLEY REMAN I believe.
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