Back in 1974, when your current classic was just a daily driver, it wouldn’t have been hard to convince you to make the switch to the yet-nonexistent Electronic Fuel Injection, especially in the winter. But cold starts aren’t the only trouble with carburetors. They’re imprecise, tough to tune, and need regular maintenance. Making the invisible switch over to EFI can mean a major boost for your car’s usability. And who are we kidding? It’s all about the performance.
Thankfully, we’re filthy with new conversion offerings from some incredible brands. Here’s the rundown:
Models offered: Pro-Flo 2, Pro-Flo XT
You’ll know Edelbrock from the stickers on your dad’s hot rod. They’ve been around since the Lincoln administration, they make the best carburetors you can buy, and they’ve chipped their name into legend. So can the king of carbs jump tracks for an EFI system?
On the plus side: Edelbrock is quick to defend their name, so you can be sure the system will be reliable. Though it’s one of the most comprehensive systems we have, (the XT even comes with a stinking distributor) everything bolts on, designed for an afternoon installation. And perhaps because Edelbrock wanted another billboard under your hood, and because you wouldn’t mind obliging, they each come with a throttle body. Module tuning is also included.
The trouble: All that extra stuff means some extra cash. The Pro-Flo XT for Ford 289/302 V8s is the most expensive EFI kit we offer. Not even the SBC offerings come cheap. Still, if quality has a price, this is it. Also, if you’re a Mopar user, or have anything other than a Ford or Chevy V8, you’re out of luck.
Models offered: DFI Thruster, Gen VII
Accel is on the other side of the Edelbrock coin. They haven’t been around forever, but that could be a good thing, since EFI hasn’t, either.
On the plus side: You might double take on the price of some of these Accel kits. Unlike the Edelbrock options, Accel’s offerings will be cheaper than the cost of your engine. They’ve also welcomed the Mopar 4.0 into the fold, while still supporting various Ford and Chevy platforms. Techies will love the laptop connectivity.
The trouble: Several of Accel’s packages are what they politely call “universal v4,” by which they mean they’ll bolt onto any 4 valve manifold. We translate it as “a buttload of work,” since they might need some customization to fit properly.
Models offered: Avenger EFI BBC, BBC Standard Deck, SBC, SBC Vortec
If Edelbrock has a knighthood, it was Holley who touched sword to their shoulders. They were building carburetors for curved-dash Oldsmobiles before Charlie Chaplin was famous. But they were quick to adapt when the EFI revolution came around.
On the plus side: You can hold up the Holley name as a shield. The system will be reliable and ready to rock you like a hurricane. All four models are rated up to 500 horsepower and tunable from color LCD handhelds to be used on the fly. Throttle bodies are included for maximum advertising space. And Holley shows their stars and stripes with some love for the Big Block, which is losing friends these days.
The trouble: Of course if you don’t know about the Big Block Chevy because you don’t drive a GM product, you’ll have to jump over to Edelbrock. Holley can’t help you with Ford or Mopar mills, and they offer no universal kits. They’re also on the high-end of the cost spectrum, so bring your checkbook.
Model offered: Atomic EFI Master
MSD’s reputation has been well established in the field of distributors. EFI’s a bit different, but the undisputed champion of aftermarket spark direction could know a thing or two about fuel, as well.
On the plus side: It’s about the simplest system out there. MSD wants you to be able to install this on Saturday morning and cruise with it on Saturday night. It includes a fuel pump and doesn’t require any return lines, which is nice if you’ve ever spent a July afternoon on your back in the driveway. The numbers look good. MSD went a bit further than the industry standard 500 hp up to a capacity of 525, and the Atomic has a 1000 cfm volume.
The trouble: The price is great at $2,290, but there’s only the single, universal, 4-valve model, so get ready to make some modifications.
Model offered: Powerjection III
Specialized from the beginning, building manifolds for the ubiquitous SBC, California-based Professional Products have since grown their inventory to fit everything from hoses to oil filters. So can you trust a big house with your EFI system?
On the plus side: The Powerjection III box is a full one. There’s a wide-band oxygen sensor, a fuel filter and pump, a manifold gasket, everything they could fit. It offers a solid 62 lbs/hr fuel rate and boasts of maximum horsepower rating of 550. It’s also fairly inexpensive, slotting just above the Accel systems.
The trouble: For some reason you can’t get the Powerjection III for 4-valve manifolds, just 6 and 8, and they’re all branded with “universal.” Unlike the MSD system, it requires a return fuel line, so there will be a few extra steps. And the flow is rated at a rather average 750 cfm.
As the options roll in and the price drops, EFI conversion is getting more and more attractive to the resto-modding and pro-touring set. Take a look through the listings. Tear them apart, test and try them. Then give us a call with any questions so we can get you set up. EFI isn’t just about practicality. It’s also about fun.