Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2013
Photos By: Holley

The carburetor sitting on your vintage Mustang can be a finicky device. It has minute passages that air and fuel travel through to feed the engine the fuel it demands based on load, rpm, and so forth. But carburetors are also mechanical devices with numerous moving parts. Over the years these parts become too worn for the typical parts store rebuild kit to tackle and a serious carburetor rebuild or restoration must be performed to bring the carburetor back to its as-new state. Today's ethanol-based fuels don't help matters either.

Just a few years ago, vintage Mustang owners usually unbolted their mixer from their intake and shipped it off to Pony Carburetors for a full restoration and tweaking to the engine's specs. Unfortunately, we lost Pony Carburetors' owner, Jon Enyeart, a few years ago and the business closed shortly thereafter. While there are a few companies specializing in Autolites, like Carbontooters/KP Carbs in New York, you might be surprised to find out that Holley Performance Products, through their Custom Shop facility, can restore just about any carburetor to new condition with show-quality plating.

Don't think for a second that because it is Holley doing the rebuilding that they only rebuild Holley carburetors. They also have the ability to rebuild and plate all manner of carburetors, including Autolite, Motorcraft, Carter, and more. Holley has a huge stockpile of core parts to aid in rebuilding carburetors with damaged or missing parts, many of them hard to find. Whether it is a 40-year-old Holley street carburetor from your dad's street racing heyday, an Autolite 2100 two-barrel you just can't seem to get running right with a store-bought kit, or a rare Shelby Le Mans-bowl Holley for your restoration, the folks at the Holley Custom Shop can tackle it and have it back to you in no time ready to bolt-on and go.

Holley Custom Shop Pricing

Holley's Custom Shop offers a tiered pricing structure for their rebuild/restoration services. Pricing will depend upon carburetor type (1V, 2V, or 4V) and the level of rebuilding service you desire. Pricing ranges from just over $100 for basic flow and repair of a one-barrel carburetor to the low $400 range for a restoration-level four-barrel carburetor.

Holley's Custom Shop offers the following services:

Flow Test and Repair: Flow test carburetor and only repair what is wrong, parts additional, no warranty

Basic Rebuild: Full disassembly, rebuild with Holley parts kit, flow tested and adjusted to specs, 90-day warranty (plating available at an extra cost)

R&R: Full disassembly, media blast parts, dichromate casting and black oxide steel parts, rebuild with Holley parts kit, flow tested and adjusted to specs, parts additional, 90 day warranty

Custom Restoration: Full disassembly, media blast parts, dichromate casting and yellow electroplate steel parts, rebuild with Holley parts kit, flow tested and adjusted to specs, parts additional, 1-year warranty

Extra cost items like thread repair, booster install, recoloring of screws, and so forth must be considered if the carburetor is in poor condition. Typical parts pricing ranges from $30 for a fuel bowl to $80 for a main body. If replacement parts are required to make the carburetor whole/functional again, a Holley Custom Shop rep will contact the customer to discuss.

1. This is what the typical carburetor looks like when it comes to the Custom Shop—well used and tired but all there. In the case of the rebuild we’re following, this is a typical Holley 4150 square bore carburetor with mechanical secondaries and center hung floats—your typical street performance carb from Holley.
2. No matter the brand, the carburetor is fully inspected for missing or damaged parts and the owner informed of any needed hardware. The carburetor is then completely disassembled, photographed, and carefully tagged and bagged for the rebuilding process.
3. Unlike the typical parts store rebuild kit, Holley’s Custom Shop truly rebuilds all aspects of the carburetor, including sanding away the staked-in-place throttle plate screws so the throttle plates and shafts can be restored/rebuilt too.
4. Once the carburetor is completely stripped, the parts are separated into groups for plating, polishing, and cleaning. Different metals are given different coatings (cadmium versus dichromate, etc.). Small parts are wired together to prevent loss.
5. Media blasting ensures the various castings like the main body, throttle plate, float bowls, and so forth are completely clean.
6. From the media blasting station, the parts are given a final bath in a cleaning solvent to remove residue from the blasting procedures before they are sent to their various polishing or coating stations.
7. Here you can see the throttle plate starting to come together after the plate was tumble polished and the shafts/linkage were given a yellow zinc cadmium chrome plating.
8. New throttle plate screws are used and carefully staked in place just like the originals.
9a. A quick pass with a file to remove any imperfections or high spots ensures the main body’s gasket surface is flat and true.
9b. A quick pass with a file to remove any imperfections or high spots ensures the main body’s gasket surface is flat and true.
10. While it may look confusing at first, the various linkages for each carburetor are carefully reinstalled in their correct locations using factory service manuals and the photos taken before the carburetor was disassembled.
11. At this point, we have the main body and throttle plate with all associated linkages installed and ready to move to the next phase, which is the metering blocks and fuel bowls.
12. The metering blocks are carefully assembled with new jets, power valve, and gaskets, while the float bowls are given new needle and seat assemblies along with new gaskets. The floats are checked and adjusted to the carburetor’s factory specs. Note the choke plate (missing on the carburetor as shipped) has been replaced and installed here too.
13. Each and every carburetor built in the Holley Custom Shop—be it a Holley, Autolite, Motorcraft (or Brand X)—is wet flow tested on a flow stand. All carburetor functions are checked and verified and air/fuel rates confirmed. All functions are recorded on a work order that is shipped with the carburetor.
14. This Holley 4150 is done and ready to head back to its owner. It has been properly plated/refinished and rebuilt with a full Holley rebuild kit and flow tested for accuracy.
15. The final step of the process is to package the carburetor for return shipping to the customer. The carburetors are packaged the same way as new Holley carburetors off of the assembly line to ensure a damage-free trip to your front door.