Chrysler could not prudently let GM go unchallenged as a performance innovator. Starting in 1957 GM offered as an option on Corvette, Bonneville and certain other big-engine cars a new fuel system in which the gasoline was injected, not mixed with air by a carburetor and aspirated. The engineers believed fuel injection would soon supplant the trusty four-body carb. They were wrong only about the timing: carburetors didnt disappear from the U.S. until the 1980s, and then for reasons of pollution, not performance. GMs injection system, essentially mechanical, worked perfectly. The price of the option deterred many customers, though, and performance was hardly better than that of dual quad carbs.
Since 1954 Bob Rodger with his Chrysler staff, and engineers of Bendix Corporations Automotive Electronics Division, had been studying the question. In February 1957 a 300C coupé was outfitted with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) and tested by the factory. The trial outcome was evidently favorable, for on Sept. 28, 1958, the EFI "Electrojector" was offered as an option on Chryslers sport models - 300, Adventurer, D500 and Fury. Cars for whom the option was selected were sent to the DeSoto plant on Warren Ave. There the production-line carburetors were removed and EFI installed. An electric fuel pump and a 40-amp generator also went in. Finally, side emblems were removed and replaced with new ones proudly declaring FUEL INJECTION.
A $400 option, then, put you on the cutting edge of progress. At least that was how it looked to the few purchasers who put their money on the line. They were soon disappointed. Bendix EFI was too complicated. Injection was regulated through "valves" actuated by a solenoid, itself electronically actuated (miniaturized transistor electronics were then in infancy). Even with periodic adjustment the system was unreliable. The customer had to take his car back to the factory for installation of the twin carburetors it had been born with. Apparently Chrysler never got to the point of a general EFI recall.
The superintendent of the DeSoto plant has said that between Jan. 20 and July 15, 1958, 35 Chrysler 300Ds were equipped with fuel injection, along with 12 Dodges, 5 DeSotos and 2 Plymouths. These figures dont agree with the microfiches, which show 16 EFI-equipped 300s. Several of them have survived with their replacement carbs, and one 300D has come down the years to us with its EFI intact - its undergoing restoration.
Chrysler didnt carry its EFI experiment into 1959 or subsequent years. Only at the end of the 1980s did fuel-injected Chryslers reappear on the market.
Since last year (2002) an '58 ADVENTURER F.I convertible has been restored. It'st he only one DeSoto with F.I ! Pic of the electrojector below and other pics at http://www.chrysler300club.com/jhstuff/fuelie/fuelie.html
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