Back in 1958, Chrysler experimented with electronic fuel injection. Did it work? Not at all, but it made for 21 very rare Chrysler 300 models.
The latest car to roll into Jay Leno’s Garage is an incredibly rare 1958 Chrysler 300D with electronic fuel injection. Leno’s personal body guy and in-house painter Per Blixt owns the car and he’s worked on making it (almost) all original for at least 15 years, he says in the episode.
While Chrysler branded the system as electronic fuel injection, Blixt says it was actually transistors that sent messages for the system to work. It didn’t work well at all, though. In fact, he says of the 21 that were originally made with the fuel injection system, three of them were brought back and fitted with carburetors. This model, in particular, was one of the cars that dumped its transistor-based fuel injection system. When Blixt found the car at a recycling center in California, the numbers pointed to it being one of the 21 cars that had the system originally.
When Blixt found the car, it was just a shell. Leno recalls it was the furthest thing from finished it could have been. Yet, Blixt put in the blood, sweat, and tears to bring the car back to life with the fuel injection system running a modern electronics unit. Now, the fuel injection works as it was supposed to. Instead of a black box under the hood where the transistors were, a computer box tells the system what to do. He also upgraded to Bosch injectors, but the 392-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 uses the original intake manifold and throttle bodies. Blixt says the fuel-injection system added 10 horsepower for a total of 290 hp back in the day, but this car makes more than 400 hp with his modern upgrades. The car could reach 153 mph in 1958.
Truly, this is a beautiful car and a sight to see both in Jay’s garage and on the street later in the video. As with every car on Jay Leno’s Garage, its story is fascinating, too. Check it out up above.