Bill Howell is one of the pioneers of the automotive industry and has had an incredible impact on both the design of iconic automobile engines and later in life, wiring the fueling system that feeds them.

He became fascinated with automobiles at an early age working on his mother’s Plymouth after learning the basics of auto care and engine overhaul. Little did he know that this spark would lead him to become a legacy in the history of automobile and engine performance, design and manufacturing. He built his first engine while in high school, experienced a short-lived racing career, served in the Wyoming National Guard as 2nd Lieutenant and excelled at the artillery school, but being a mechanic was his first love so he decided it was time to save for college to become a mechanical engineer.

During his senior year, he completed his power lab project at the University of Wyoming on an engine dynamometer comparing gasoline vs. methanol fuels, wrote a paper on it approved by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and won an award to present his findings at the University of Colorado. He believes this was instrumental in his job offer at Chevrolet Engineering in Warren, MI starting out as a novice engineer.

His career with Chevrolet spanned from 1961-1987 where he eventually became one of the core team members in the development of the new big block Chevy motor (replacing the 409). The majority of his years there were spent as a test engineer in high-performance engine development. He was promoted to the Chevrolet Product Performance group, served as the Chevrolet representative for many racing sanctions throughout the country and participated in every new engine development program throughout his tenure.

Bill Howell discussing the development and testing of the Big Block Chevy Engine with the “Mystery Motor Corvette” at the SEMA Show

After his retirement from Chevrolet in 1987, and always keeping abreast of trends, he felt that electronic fuel injection was becoming a big deal and set out to learn how to build wiring harnesses. At that time, only Corvette had port fuel injection and people were beginning to put Corvette engines into other cars. Bill and his son, Matt formed Howell Engine Developments in 1988, with a contract from Chevrolet to build EFI wiring harnesses for their Buick V-6 powered Indy Light series cars. Soon, word had spread that the legendary Bill Howell had formed a new company specializing in electronic fuel injection, and he was contacted by Hot Rod magazine (who often quoted him from Chevrolet in feature articles) for an interview about the company, which exploded demand for their products. From there they have never looked back, and continue today, 33 years later as an iconic brand in the fuel injection category.

Bill Howell discussing his time at General Motors and the founding of Howell EFI

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