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History 1957... Fuel Injection!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,703

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    GM's entry into mechanical F.I. in '57 was impressive for the time.
    Even more impressive [IMHO] was Mopar's electronic F.I. of '58... Fitted on a hemi no less!
    Joined: May 6, 2008
    Posts: 910


  4. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755


    I know a guy here in Berk. who has a car he claims is one of those hemis but is missing the fuel injection. He told me they mostly didn't work either and most people took them off before too long and are now obviously extremely hard to find. I have seen his car and he drives it around but haven't looked at or into it close enough to verify any of that.

    edit: here is some info I found. Only 35 units total and about $640 extra each at the time and apparently only 10hp extra gain. Not a lot of bang for the buck. No wonder only 35 'brave' souls tried them out. Must have been painful to decide to pull them off and stick the carbs on after that.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
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  5. I always liked the look of the Chevy FI setup
    Pontiac offered a FI setup on the '57 Bonneville rated at 310hp, only cost an extra $500.
  6. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    Not about the bang for the buck, but instead about the tremendous technological leap the electrojector was.

    Seriously tho, this thread is about the GM Bendix unit... Not really fair to try and hijack the thread.

    If Ryan is interested in doing a writeup on the Mopar unit, he is more than welcome to contact me.
  7. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,261


    You are a treasure hunter extraordinnaire, Ryan. Beautiful. Back when Detroit was leading, not following.
  8. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,846


    During the video with the "flight engineer" in the car,it was mentioned that shutting off the fuel while coasting can reduce SMOG.Perhaps GM was seeing something coming in the future.But Chevy dropped FI after about 7-8 years just when pollution controls came out,probably not enough demand to justify more engineering costs? The other FI systems offered on US cars were a flash in time in comparison
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  9. 31modelo
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,126


    Father in law had a vette with it and traded it for a dual fours. This man bleeds chevy orange but has no nice words for the early FI. He only wishes he kept to sell now.

    Truckedup GM used that same idea in building their 05 Silverado 1500. The engine turns off when coming to a stop. Runs off the batteries until you press the gas pedal. New truck old idea
  10. daddy_o's_diner
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,773


    I agree it was a big step for GM to take. I love to see these FI cars at shows and always give them a good once over.

    An old-timer in our area has an orginal '57 fuelie that he bought new. I have heard him do nothing but complain about how much of a pain in the ass the unit is. He has had it serviced/rebuilt/tuned (big $$$'s) by the "experts" and can't keep it running right for very long. Last summer he finally swapped out the unit for 2 4's. Of course he is going to make sure the FI and the car are never separated.
    He said, I gettin too old and just want to drive it. Said he didn't have the time and didn't enjoy tinkering with it all the time just to keep it running. I first thought he was nuts for taking it off - but who am I to ague with the original owner of one of these gems?????
  11. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,846


    Shut off the fuel not the ignition during coasting .All electronic injection used on late model vehicles does that. I think that what was said on the flim clip.
    I've heard the original Chevy injectors would heat up and cause irratic running at low speeds.I did know a guy in NJ that fitted the early injection system to a 67 Camaro.
  12. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,063


    As I recall the general consensus when I was a kid was that they were junk. Who would have ever thought that they would be bringing the money that they do today. Perhaps you fellas that still have a functional corss fire set-up should be gaurding it for the future "Traditional Rodders" ;)

    The Ol' Man said the only problem was getting them dialed in correctly, from the factory there were a few mods that needed to be done before they were actually close to being up to par. They actually worked well if you were able to keep 'em tuned. One thing that they were not was a Hillborn unit. And it was easier to make zot with 2-4s.

    Easy to tune makes all the difference in the world when you would much rather spend Saturday cruisin.
  13. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    One of my buddies built a channeled Deuce roadster with the 57 GM injection. There was one guy in our area that knew anything about them in the early 60s. You bought a unit and took it to him to go through. He did not have a bunch of problems that I was a aware of. They were pretty cheap back then because of their problems and the Corvette restoration world had not taken off yet. He later built a 34 4dr and started with a 63 unit but eventually went with a 4 bbl.

    Did you notice that the prototype had a dash mounted rear view mirror?
  14. wayne567
    Joined: Apr 29, 2010
    Posts: 7

    from australia

    I might put one of those FI badges on the side of my 57 when i fit the 502 Ramjet into it,

  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,546


    In the late 50's My stepfather's boss's son had a 57 Fi Hardtop that he had pulled the fi unit off and stuck on the shelf in his dads shop. The same reason as most gave in that it was too temperamental at the time and he couldn't find anyone who could sort it out. This was on Bainbridge Island, Wa in about 1958. I was a highly impressed 6th grader when I got to see the car and the FI unit.
  16. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,527


    I ran an early Fuelie unit on my '57 back in the 60's. It was a 283 bored out to 301 with a 30-30 solid lifter cam and long tube headers. It ran very strong and the only problem I had was when it rained and you turned on the wipers the manifold vacuum dropped and the unit sensed it as full throttle and went full rich, even at idle. The factory equipped cars had seperate vacuum pumps to get around the problem.
  17. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,098


    Really great stuff-thank you for posting. A lot of marketing work there to somehow get the customer to equate F.I. with jets and the next big thing. And t he mirrorp on the dash was either an early offering that was changed for visibility or vibration issues, and may (for some reason this sticks in my head) have only been offered on the four door hardtops, although that make no sense. And that model is a litte scary looking.
  18. Automotive Stud
    Joined: Sep 26, 2004
    Posts: 3,894

    Automotive Stud

    My dad had a '62 fullie vette in the mid 60's. He had GM rebuild the injection 3 times and it still didn't run good. He finally bought a new corvette intake and carb right from GM and it ran great. He sold the injection with the car.
  19. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,546


    I always assumed it was throttle body, but it looks like it was port injection.

  20. eviltex
    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
    Posts: 18

    from el paso tx

    i didnt realize 57 was the first year gm did this, i saw a 57 convertable with fuel injection sitting in some guys yard of cars, top down crappy tarp over it rusting away.... doesnt that drive you crazy when you know they have it like that just because they are " gonna fix it up one day."....
  21. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Um, the GM unit was made by Rochester. The Bendix was the Electrojector that Chrysler used. The GM unit was mechanical and the Bendix unit was electronic. And it was the brain box on the Bendix unit that failed.
  22. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,496


    I have on that I've fooled with for 34 years--just redid the car again--it's a 57 Hardtop-283/283 and it runs very well--it is tempermental sometimes but we drove it alot back in the late 70's early 80's. Idle can get erratic with todays fuel when it gets warm--otherwise, runs pretty good-pictures are in my album here
  23. They were temperamental and tough to keep tuned but another more serious problem with the Rochester units was fuel leakage. The fuel would drip into the intake ports and into the combustion chamber when the engine was shut off. When you tried to start the car again some cylinders were in hydraulic lock. In some cases, this caused bent rods.
    I know a couple of guys who have installed electric solenoid valves on the fuel supply line to prevent this problem. When the key is turned off the valve is closed and there's no pressure left to cause any leakage. Most of the time they hide the valve behind the FI plenum so the engine still looks stock.
    In the right hands, and with the right (current) tricks these units can still give some impressive performance.
  24. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,496


    here's mine--283 HP motor--as some mentioned, they are very vacuum sensitive-seem to run the best with a 097 cam. This s a 57 4800 unit (3rd design) with some performance mods done in the late 50's/early 60's. They had a problem with gas leaking by when shut of and would hydraulic a cylinder and bend rods (mine did it back in 79)--mod is to install an electric valve in the spider line.
    The man that rebuilt mine this time has a twin to my car that he has owned since 1966-very nice old BelAir--283/283-3 spd,black with silver black interior and drove it from South Carolina to Ca with no issues-when he dials in a fuel unit ,he puts it on his test mule which is a 60 Vette with the same motor/cam.He put 200 miles on my unit before I got it back to make sure it was on the money. I used to drive this one non stop on 10 hr trips to get my kids for the weekend (wouldn't do it now)--did it many times with no issues--always carried a spare drive cable but never had to use it. Wife also used to drive it to work in Fresno everyday--a little finicky to start cold sometimes but always started.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  25. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,193


    Have you ever noticed all of the "Authentic" 57 Fuelies at the Barrett Jackson and other high end auctions every year?Kind of like all of the "Authentic" Continental kits you see on Bel Airs and T-Birds at all of the car shows.......
  26. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,733

    from DFW USA

    Bendix was so discouraged by the 1958 Mopar Electrojector (and little-known experiments with AMC) that they sold their patents for EFI to Bosch, which has become the foundation for most of the technologies revolving around fuel injection for production cars ever since.

    I have always liked the looks of the '57-61 GM fuelie setups. But I liked the '58 Mopar signage better! :D

  27. Elmo Rodge
    Joined: May 12, 2002
    Posts: 2,007

    Elmo Rodge

    The local (Arcadia, California) librarian had a black 1957 4-Door Feulie. Her name was Mrs. Freer and she was a zillon years old and certainly no "Hot Rodder". Wayno
  28. sean72
    Joined: Dec 20, 2004
    Posts: 452


    Did you guys catch the four door at the end of the film? It looks to be a '57 Chevy four door hard top 210 model with Fuel Injection. Now that's got to be one uber rare car.

  29. The maroon car on the left is an original FI car and still is today. It was a little slower off the line than my 340HP but would always pull harder once it was wound up.


    Attached Files:

  30. CrkInsp
    Joined: Jul 17, 2006
    Posts: 512

    from B.A. OK

    I had a '57 Vette w/FI in 1963. Lets see, vacuum problems, nozzle leaks, weather sensitive, dealer got tired of working on it (bent rods), but it was fun to drive when it ran good.

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