Monday, September 24, 2018

1956 Rambler Custom

In my last post I mentioned that in the fall of 1956, American Motors tried to introduce the first car with electronic fuel-injection but ultimately killed to idea due to the complexity of the system. If they'd gone ahead, the unattractive sedan you're looking at would have been the fastest car in America. Even without the horsepower boost provided by fuel-injection, the 1957 Rambler Rebel (the pillarless-hardtop version of the car pictured) boasted a 327 c.i. V-8 with up to 255 hp. Combine that with the lightweight construction of the Rambler, and you've got a car with a 0 to 60 time of 7.5 seconds.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

1965 Corvette convertible fuel-injected

Glory days at General Motors: You're looking at the final edition of the only reliable non-electronic fuel-injection system ever put in a mass-produced car.

The basic problems in using fuel-injection without an advance control system were evident in the first fuel-injected car, the 1955 Mercedes 300 SL. From Wikipedia, "unlike today's electrically powered fuel injection systems, the 300 SL's mechanical fuel pump would continue to inject gasoline into the engine during the interval between shutting off the ignition and the engine's coming to a stop; this unburned gasoline washed lubricating oil from the cylinder walls, which not only left them unprotected in affected areas during start-up but would dilute the engine's entire oil supply if the car was not driven hard or long enough to reach a sufficient temperature to evaporate the gas out of the oil."

At this same time, the Bendix Corporation said, "No problem, we'll just build electronic fuel-injection." The Bendix system worked, provided the car owner kept a team of genius engineers and mechanics on hand at all time. American Motors promised a Rambler with Bendix fuel-injection in 1956, but never made it past the show car stage; no one has ever been able to find any of the fuel-injected Ramblers. In 1958 Chrysler made the same promise and actually built and sold a handful of Bendix system cars; all of them were recalled when it was clear the system was not reliable in daily use. One of these cars, a DeSoto convertible, has been restored.

In 1957 GM introduced its own mechanically-controlled fuel-injection. It was powerful (the first engine developing one horsepower per square inch of displacement), it was reliable (for those who could take the time to understand its complicated construction) and it got great gas mileage. The problem was that it cost almost $5,000 in 2018 dollars and those wanting to go fast found it easier to just buy a bigger engine with a couple of gas-guzzling 4-barrel carburetors. It's no coincidence that 1965, the last year the GM fuel-injection system was made for the Corvette 327 V-8, was also the same year that buyers could get the 396 c.i. big-block in that same car.

For the record, the engine you're looking at was available in full-size Chevy's from 1957 to 1959, Corvettes from 1957 to 1965 and in the Pontiac Bonneville in 1957 and 1958.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

1967 Ford Mustang convertible

While not a particularly expensive car, the old Mustangs are survivors. I'm not sure that his car has its original paint, but it doesn't appear to have had any major work done in 51 years. Even those RFK in '68 bumper stickers appear original. If only Bobby were still with us.