Thursday, November 13, 2008

Will the real genuine Weber please stand up

What is a Genuine WEBER carb?


This is hotly debated topic, but mostly among those selling the what can only be described as a "similar" carburetor. The word "Similar" has many synonyms and here are few: COPY, FORGERY, FAKE, and even COUNTERFEIT. These carburetors are being sold primarily by North American Weber (aka Interco, or on ebay as "Webercarbsdirect"). While not all carburetors being sold by them should be considered "similar" - many are. Interco has gone so far as to protect their legal rights to purchase/make carburetors from China (and previously South America) and brand them as Webers. After losing the ability to purchase carburetors directly from Spain they turned to Solex for a "similar" carburetor - known as a 34 DGEC. After being exposed for what they were: not the original European Weber, they turned to China to duplicate (copy, replicate, or whatever synonym you chose) the Weber so it would look "similar" to the Genuine European Weber.

The North American carburetors are easily distinguished from the European Weber by several characteristics:
  • The Genuine European Weber have the trademark "W" stamped into the carburetor and is clearly marked with its origin "Made in Spain"
  • The only markings on the NorthAmerican Webers is a sticker. There are no markings indicating where it is made or who made it.
  • The casting on the Chinese made carburetors is very smooth. While you might assume that is better because if it's appearance they are not made using the same metal resulting in the appearance.
  • The North American Weber carburetor models 32/36 DGV, 32/36 DGEV, and 38 DGES all have a black choke element - all of the Redline Webers coming from Europe have a White choke element.
The hope here is to clear some confusion by different merchants claiming they are selling Genuine Weber carburetors. How does a consumer discern what Genuine really means?

The WEBER story

The founder of the WEBER carburetor was Eduardo Weber. You can read a detailed History at the following link: http://www.magnetimarelli.com/english/powertrain_storia.php.
The WEBER carburetor company as we know it started in 1935 in Bologna, Italy. They produced carburetors there till 1992 when production was moved to Spain.

When we think of WEBER carburetors this is the company that we refer to. The “WEBER” name is currently owned by Magneti Marelli of Italy. This international company owns many other brands – the most interesting of which is SOLEX. The Solex carburetors were a major competitor to WEBER for almost 60 years – and today they are owned by the same parent company. Magneti Marelli licenses the use of the “WEBER” name to many entities worldwide. Licensing in some cases means they can use the WEBER name and the WEBER mark to brand a product that otherwise would not be recognized as a WEBER.

Car manufacturers regularly brand products. GM produces a car in Europe (Opel) in a plant that GM owns – brings it to the states and sells it as a Cadillac Cetera. Does that mean it is a Cadillac? Ford jointly builds a car with Mazda (626 and Probe) with primarily Mazda drive train – does that make it a Ford? This policy is called “combination branding” when one parent company places the same brand on products that compete in the market place – i.e. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Cadillac, etc. all sold as GM. In the case of GM they needed a nice midsized vehicle and the Opel was easy to brand a Cadillac. GM did sell cars in the US under the OPEL name plate for years, but stopped when sales did not meet expectations. Was GM hiding something from the public if they did not disclose that the Cadillac they were buying was really an Opel? This is the problem with branding (licensing) a product – the consumer may be buying something they believe is one brand – when in fact it is made, designed, and or engineered by a different company. Both companies can be owned by the same parent company – but are they the same?

That is the situation with WEBER carburetors today. Interco,  Weber North American (or on eBay as Webercarbsdirect) has no affiliation (other than maintaining licensing and manufacturing agreements with Magneti Marelli) with the Italian designed and Spanish built Weber carburetors. But this licensing agreement means that Interco can legally use the Weber name. Continuing that line of reasoning they claim they are “genuine” and they may in fact be – legally. But are they “Genuine”?

In our opinion “Genuine” infers two things – that it is real and original. There is only one original Weber and that is the European produced, Italian designed, carburetor built in Spain. These carburetors were originally designed and engineered by the Weber Carburetor company in Italy. Consumers should be aware that what Weber North America is doing is importing a Solex designed carburetor from South America – branding it a Weber – and calling it a “Genuine” Weber. They reason that if Magneti Marelli owns the Solex factory then it can legally be called a “genuine” Weber. We will leave it up to the reader to decide for themselves whether they believe this is what a person would believe to mean “Genuine” (legally it says so).

Now Weber North America has taken it a step further (as of the Summer of 2011) and is now supplying the 32/36 DGV series and the 38 DGS series carburetors (not proud enough to say where they are made because it is China) and branding them as Weber's just as they did with the Solex Carb's from South America.

Below is a detail list of the models in question. To further complicate this situation are the carburetors that EMPI is importing. These carburetors are built in China and are, for lack of a better term, “copies” of the Italian designed carburetors. They use the same designations as the original with an “EPC” as a prefix to label them as “EPC” presumably an acronym for Empi Performance Carburetor.

European built Weber carbs - originally designed and engineered in Italy
by Weber and now being made in Spain (what most would call "GENUINE")
  • 32/36 DGV
  • 32/36 DGEV
  • 32/36 DFEV
  • 34ICT
  • 38DGAS
  • 40IDF
  • 44IDF
  • 48IDF
  • 50IDF
  • 40DCOE
  • 45DCOE
  • 48DCOE
  • 50DCOE
  • 55DCOE
"Similar" branded sold by Interco/WeberCarbsDirect– sold and/or built under license agreements:
  • 32/36 DGV - no markings to indicate it's origin - not "made in Spain" - sticker branded
  • 32/36 DGEV - no markings to indicate it's origin - not "made in Spain" - sticker branded
  • 38/38 DGAS - no markings to indicate it's origin - not "made in Spain" - sticker branded
  • 34 DGEC (solex carb) branded with a sticker to make it a Weber
  • 36 DGEC (solex carb) branded with a sticker to make it a Weber
  • 40IDF - no markings indicating its origin
  • 44IDF - no markings indicating its origin
The following link shows the difference in the South American made vs. the Original European WEBER

http://www.clutchkitcenter.com/media/images/weber/comparison.jpg  (the solex version)

and here is one from the U.K. ( a PDF file )

http://www.webcon.co.uk/Downloads/Genuine%20Weber.PDF

This goes to show you the issue is not isolated to just the North American Market - these "similar" carbs are being sold worldwide.
The situation with Interco/Webercarbsdirect/NorthAmerican should be differentiated with that of EMPI - EMPI has never claimed their carburetors were "Genuine Weber" or even claiming them to be Weber's - they simply say (as they should) they are EMPI Carbs similar to the Weber carburetor.

EMPI carbs (own design) – built in China. Unlike Interco and its affiliates -
EMPI does not brand these as “WEBER” carburetors – they are branded as what they are - EMPI carburetors. Visually the EMPI carbs closely resemble the well known weber carburetors.
Known EMPI models of carburetors
· EPC 32/36e
· EPC 32/36m
· EPC 32/36a
· EPC 38/38e
· EPC 32/36f
· EPC 34
· EPC 40 HPMX
· EPC 44 HPMX

Summation:

In the end what does this all mean to the consumer. First you must understand what you are buying and why. The choices are: The Original Italian designed and European Built WEBER or the carburetors that are "Similar" from NorthAmericanWeber or EMPI.

Up until 2001 Weber carburetor conversions all utilitized the European Carburetors. While there where competitors - Dellorto, Mikuni, and Solex there was one undisputed leader - Weber of Italy. That has all changed with the Parent company Magneti Marelli now owning one of the oldest carburetor names in the business, and a former competitor, Solex. It is interesting to note that at Magneti Marelli's website the founding of the weber carburetor was to elminate having to buy carburetors from the French Solex carburetor company. While legally Magneti Marelli can allow branding - they seemly would allow NorthAmericanWeber/Interco/WeberCarbsDirect to take a frozen dinner and call it a Weber this certainly that calls into question the whole concept of branding.

So - when you buy - do you want the original? The WEBER carburetor that is legendary in its performance. A proven carburetor with a track record extending over 30 years. The Italian designed carburetor that was, and is, the benchmark by which all 2bbl carburetors are measured. Built in Europe to the same exacting standards that only the original European Weber carburetors can deliver on. Or - do you want a branded or other style of carb (usually without knowing your aren't getting the original European Weber).

The choice is simple. Be sure it says REDLINE to assure you that your "genuine" european WEBER carburetor is tuned and jetted for the absolute best value your money can buy.
REDLINE's use of the European WEBERS assures the consumer they are receiving the same high quality genuine WEBER carburetor that has gone into the conversion kits for over 30 years. Time and race proven - there is really only one "genuine" Weber carburetor - the Legendary European designed and built WEBER (made in Spain):

4 comments:

Unknown said...

I can see why company's may use certain names--Cadillac instead of Opel--because they are more well known. It all comes down to be an informed consumer and researching a product before you buy it so you can make sure you are getting what you pay for.

http://www.haynes.com/products/productID/30

Elina Maria said...

Hi, you have did really well this is awesome post.
This is full of information and lots of technical knoledge.
Workshop Garage

Sophie Tilley said...

Hello this is really nice post.
Thanks for sharing this.
Workshop Equipment

Nicholas Clesceri said...

Is a 40DCOE 151(P/N 19550.174)a genuine WEBER carb?