History of SU
About Burlen Fuel Systems
The origins of the company go back to 1971 when a partnership between John Burnett and Mike Cullen was formed and called BURLEN SERVICES, at that time it was simply a garage workshop. There was always a distinct bias towards sports cars and the firm became Morgan Agents in 1973.
The first real involvement in carburetters came in the 1974 fuel crisis when every customer wanted more M.P.G. above all else. Burlen were appointed Official SU agents and Zenith Solex Agents as well as a Weber Dealer. The mail order and spares side of the business grew rapidly and particularly in the emerging Classic car field.
Due largely to the introductions made by the late Nick Curtin, Burlen co-operated with the then SU factory to ensure the continuation of some threatened products. The HS and HD carburetters are an example of this as in the early eighties the tooling for these was due to be scrapped
Burlen agreed to purchase a minimum quantity of these lines which fortunately saved the day. A further high point in the co-operation between Burlen and SU was a complicated joint venture involving both SAAB and VOLVO to rescue the bankrupt Solex UK IV and CD production lines in 1985/6. At the same time the Burlen Fuel Systems Limited company was formed leaving the partnership trading with Morgans.
By 1987 the SU logo had been neglected for some years as the SU factory was known as ARG Fuel Systems and fast moving product was distributed by Unipart. Burlen approached the factory and an agreement was reached to relaunch the SU & Zenith logos and liveries as they appear today.
Following many years of co-operation, Burlen now manufacture all SU carburetters and all SU Electric and mechanical fuel pumps. Burlen continue to manufacture the Zenith IV and CD carburetters
The first variable venturi carburetter was the brainchild of George Herbert Skinner. He was born in 1872 and was known by his second name - Herbert. By 1900 Herbert, who at that time was employed in his father's shoe business - the well known Lilley & Skinner, had three provisional patents covering his forward thinking ideas about carburetion.