Michigan Transportation History

Holley Motor Company

DetroitAutomotiveEquipmentManufacturingCompanyThingPublic For a full history of the Holley Brothers and their company, see the following:

There are a lot of primary source newspaper accounts from the Holley's lives on the Smethport History pages.

George M. Holley and his brother Earl Holley started the Holley Motor Company in 1899. They designed and started manufacturing in 1902 a vehicle they called the Holley Motorette and eventually sold about 600 of them until they closed the business in 1906. Holley's engineering genius, however, lay in the design of the carburetor. In 1903, the brothers started their company.

In 1906 the brothers got the U.S. rights to a French Patent for a carburetor. This served as the basis for their design. The carburetor was so good, that Holley supplied the part for Oldsmobile (and their famous Curved Dash Runabout), the Ford Motor Company, Pierce-Arrow, Winton, and Buick. Other producers of machines using internal combustion engines, such as tractor, motorcycle, race car, marine engine, farm machinery, stationary power plant, and aircraft engine manufacturers, also purchased and used the Holley carburetor. Given the widespread adoption and use of the Holley Carburetor it is probably safe to say that the Holley Brothers became quite wealthy.

in 1917, for the Fordson Tractor, they started the Holley Kerosene Carburetor company. They later shortened it to the Holley Carburetor Company to distance themselves from kerosene.

So significant was this carburetor design to the early automotive industry's history that the brothers were inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Antique Automobile Club of America's award for vehicle restoration is named in George M. Holley's honor.

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Holley Motor Company," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on April 20, 2020, at 01:00 PM EST

Page last modified on April 20, 2020, at 01:00 PM EST