corvette fuel injection

Corvette Super Sport Show Car. Introducing fuel injection at GM

After the Second World War, fuel injection was applied by German manufacturers to motor racing after being used in Luftwaffe aircraft. The impact of this mechanical novelty shook several American engineers, who, led by Ed Cole, set out to emulate it in the General Motors range. The result was the Rochester Ramjet. An injection system that used this Corvette Super Sport Show Car as a presentation claim.

On the night of September 30, 1938, the United Kingdom and France bowed the knee to the aspirations of Nazi Germany with the signing of the Munich Accords. A document woven between fear, caution and even the complacency of certain leaders still blind to the expansionist danger represented by Hitler and his acolytes. In its lines, the victorious powers of World War I accepted the annexation by Germany of the Sudeten region. A first assault on the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, which was but the prologue to its full invasion only a year later.

As it was, it was obvious that the industrial might of Nazi Germany was solely aimed at unleashing war. A fact that some were slow to see, trying to contain a beast that took advantage of the time to arm itself to the teeth. In that sense, the development of German war engineering experienced growth only understandable in a country ruled by tyranny. Something that was especially visible in the aviation field, with the Luftwaffe claiming dominance of the skies in Europe. In this way, the planes of the Nazi air force had surprising advances such as fuel injection.

An improvement especially noticeable at high altitudes, which increased the performance of the engine by improving its power supply. Successfully implemented in the Messerschmitt BF 109s, its post-war use had massive application to the automobile starting with the Gutbrod Superior and Goliath GP700. German utility vehicles from 1952, followed two years later by the radiant Mercedes 300SL. Model that definitely popularized fuel injection among series cars, achieving a great impact on manufacturers of performance vehicles such as GM with its Corvette.


At the same time that in Germany two small companies applied fuel injection to motor racing, in the United States Ed Cole he became the chief engineer of General Motors. From Cadillac, his track record has as its main achievement the design of the mythical Small Block. But he also insisted on applying fuel injection to American motorsport. Particularly through Chevrolet, which fitted in with its powerful Corvettes in the idea of ​​improving performance thanks to better combustion.

In this way, Ed Cole worked alongside John Zolda and Arkus-Duntov -Maximum responsible for the Corvette- in fuel injection for about five years. The result was the Rochester Ramjet. A purely mechanical system, based on vacuum and pressure signals to measure flows, was offered as an option on GM's most high-performance models from 1957 onwards. Formed by an air meter and a fuel meter, this system manages fuel injection through pressure and vacuum signals, achieving more power and better response.

In this way, the V8 Small Block in its 4-liter version mounted on the first redesign of the C6 rose to 1CV. Less than it could give in lab tests, but enough to move the model's just under 283 kilos. A) Yes, Rochester Ramjet was an option on Corvettes until 1965, also complementing the range of models such as the Pontiac Boneville. Certainly excellent examples of sportsmanship in the American sense. With very strong powerful engines from low turns mounted on chassis designed to roll on flat straights.


That the United States is the mecca of entertainment is nothing new. For this reason, each launch of a new model becomes a well-studied media event from the field of advertising. Fact that in recent years has been attenuated due to the decline of the automotive industry in that country, but that In the golden fifties it had exhibits such as the GM Motorama. A traveling promotional sample with which the industrial conglomerate displayed its range along with striking unique pieces created to attract the attention of the press and the public.

Thus, the launch of the Rochester Ramjet fuel injection in 1957 was done through a modified Corvette C1. A model to which GM's design department applied a multitude of futuristic details in the style of the space fever of the moment. The most striking being the elimination of the windshield for the inclusion of two small Plexiglas screens. Really sporty details that made it possible to sell the unit quickly after completing its show tour at the GM Motorama.

Moment in which it is acquired by a piloting enthusiast, who ends up crashing him into a telephone pole during the course of a career in 1960. Following the accident, this fuel-injected Corvette C1 remained abandoned in a garage until its rescue in 1997. Happy news, even more so as it is complemented by a meticulous restoration that has earned the award of the National Association of Historic Vehicles of the States. United. In addition, it also achieved the highest mention in the Amelia Island 2017 within the category of significant car preservation.

A much more pleasant and peaceful story than that of the beginnings of fuel injection. In addition, in this case it will continue with the auction that Mecum will organize next January with this Corvette as one of the main protagonists.

Photographs: Mecum

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Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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