We pulled the carb off of a 440 and bolted on a Sniper to test how eas­ily it would adapt.

Elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion isn’t new. There hasn’t been a car built with a car­bu­re­tor in about 30 years. Granted, early ver­sions were forced on us by emis­sions reg­u­la­tions, and their per­for­mance was less than ideal, but there’s no ques­tion that as the tech­nol­ogy has evolved it has brought greater and greater ben­e­fits.

Thirty-five years ago most of us had given up hope of ever see­ing a real mus­cle car come out of Detroit again. There was a whole slew of anti-tam­per­ing laws and talk of sealed hoods to pre­vent us from mod­i­fy­ing any­thing. We thought the mus­cle car era was over for­ever, so we strug­gled to hang onto what­ever we could that was left.

To­day, we can walk into a Dodge dealer and drive away with over 800 hp and over 700 lb-ft of torque in a pack­age that out­per­forms our clas­sic mus­cle in ev­ery way. Thank you, EFI.

Not that long ago, talk of in­stalling EFI on clas­sic mus­cle was akin to blas­phemy. But as the tech im­proved so did the ben­e­fits. Early sys­tems worked well enough, but most didn’t want to put in the ef­fort to learn how to set them up. We’re good at turn­ing wrenches not pro­gram­ming.

More re­cently, there’ve been bolt-on throt­tle body sys­tems with self-learn­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. Again, tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to bring greater and greater ben­e­fits.

The lat­est is the new Hol­ley Sniper EFI — touted as a true bolt-on self-learn­ing carb re­place­ment. When we got word that Mus­cle Car Restora­tions in Chippewa Falls, Wis­con­sin, was about to bolt one onto a 480hp 440, we thought this would be a good time to check out a real-world in­stall.

The 440 was a fresh build just off an en­gine dyno tune that MCR had dropped into a ’69 GTX resto. It was run­ning an Edelbrock Per­former car­bu­re­tor that the car owner wanted to swap for the Sniper. The car wasn’t com­plete, but it was close enough to test on MCR’S Mus­tang chas­sis dyno that would al­low sim­u­lated street driv­ing as well as full power runs.

Frankly, the Sniper sur­prised us. Af­ter a brief crank to get fuel into the sys­tem, the big-block just popped right off. Af­ter a brief fast idle, it set­tled down to a per­fectly smooth idle speed. Sub­se­quent restarts were no more than click, vroom, ev­ery time.

Once the en­gine was up to full operating temp, we went straight for a full power dyno pull. Again the Sniper sur­prised us. Not only was the pull smooth and clean, it reg­is­tered within 1 hp and 4 lb-ft of what the dyno-tuned Per­former de­liv­ered. The Sniper wasn’t ex­pected to yield sig­nif­i­cantly more power than a prop­erly tuned carb, but we cer­tainly didn’t ex­pect it to match it on the first pull.

Four com­plete runs later, the to­tal power out­put re­mained the same but the midrange (2,900 rpm) torque was up 30 lb-ft and the horse­power was up 75. This thing re­ally learned in a hurry. Next up was some sim­u­lated driv­ing, which demon­strated equally im­pres­sive re­sults. The short ver­sion is that it just worked. Even off-idle throt­tle blips and other er­ratic moves failed to pro­duce even one hic­cup. No stum­bles, bum­bles, or bogs of any kind. Mul­ti­ple times we let it sit for a few min­utes to check hot restarts and each time noth­ing but click, vroom.

In­stal­la­tion just may be as sim­ple as it’s pos­si­ble to achieve. Yes, you’ll need to add an O2 sen­sor, an elec­tric fuel pump, and an ex­tra fuel line, but af­ter that it’s just two wires to the bat­tery, one to the

coil and one for the temp sen­sor. The ECU is at­tached to the throt­tle body and the fuel pres­sure reg­u­la­tor is in­ter­nal so there’s no ex­tra stuff to have to mount on your fire­wall. Just bolt it on, push on your vac­uum lines, at­tach the throt­tle ca­ble and kick down, con­nect the fuel lines, and you’re good to go.

Of course there are ad­vanced fea­tures if you’d like to go there. The Sniper can be set up to con­trol a pair of fans, add an A/C idle bump, con­trol an af­ter­mar­ket tach, etc. It’ll also work with a va­ri­ety of af­ter­mar­ket ig­ni­tions, it sup­ports ni­trous and can even be con­fig­ured to con­trol your tim­ing.

Set up is also su­per sim­ple. Us­ing the in­cluded 3½-inch touch screen, you’ll en­ter dis­place­ment, de­sired idle speed, cam type, ac­cel­er­a­tor en­rich­ment, A/F ra­tios at idle, cruise and WOT, and even a rev lim­iter value. The touch screen also func­tions as a mini dash­board, al­low­ing you to mon­i­tor a whole host of en­gine vi­tals. You can even turn the learn­ing mode off once you’re sat­is­fied with the tune.

It might be hard to guess where the tech­nol­ogy will take us from here, but with this new Sniper, it’s safe to say that bolt-on EFI has ma­tured enough for just about any­one to ben­e­fit from it. Nice job, Hol­ley!

This is the ba­sic Sniper kit (mi­nus all the hard­ware) in sil­ver, also avail­able in black and clas­sic gold. The base kit is $999.95, but Hol­ley also sells a master kit that in­cludes ev­ery­thing you’ll need to up­grade your fuel sys­tem. Don’t freak out by...

In­stalling the throt­tle body is just like swap­ping a carb. Dual bolt pat­tern en­sures it’ll fit what­ever you need.

MCR used a Lokar ca­ble mount for the throt­tle and kick-down ca­bles for both the carb and the Sniper. Ca­ble hook up was a di­rect swap.

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