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1966 Ford Mustang 289 V8 After a Tune-Up

Vintage Driving

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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It's been a long time since I've driven a car with a carb.

Waaay too long.

I love carburetors and the way they drive — for me, they beat electronic fuel injection all to hell.

Don't get me wrong, I know they don't work as well in some situations — like with forced induction — but for normally aspirated engines, they're my induction of choice.

Carburetors really got a bad rap in the '70s — those cars drove like shit.

While I've driven cars from that era, I've never owned one, and I grew up with '60s Muscle Cars which have fantastic carbs and tuning. They drive like champs and have throttle response superior to fuel injection.

Pair a carb with a nice, meaty V8, and they just yank the car around like a rag doll with a blip of the throttle — of course, '60s cars are a lot lighter than today's cars. It's funny, but we used to consider Chevelle's fat turds because they weighed 3,200+ pounds. Hell, my '95 Mustang GT weighs that much. Today's Corvette's weigh even more — and Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers are tipping the scales at around 4000 pounds. It would take a lot of engine to yank them around like rag dolls.

No, I'm not interested in converting any of my fuel injected cars to carburetors — and certainly not vice-versa. I enjoy each for their era-specific driving experience. For me, dumping a modern motor into a classic would absolutely ruin the car. About as far as you'll see me go is to modify the car with appropriately vintage mods that can easily be reversed so none of the originality of the car is destroyed. I like performance as much as the next person — probably more — but not at the expense of the car. They're too precious to me.

Hopefully sometime in the near future I'll get to mash the gas on the 351 again, but until then, I'll have to be satisfied with a blown, fuel-injected, front-wheel drive, four-banger. Yeah, I know, the Cobalt isn't exactly a replacement for a Muscle Car, but it's the closest thing I've got right now — at least it has a manual transmission.


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