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Grandpa's Chevy 283

The Significance of Carburetors

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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I love carburetors.

It's true.

My fascination with carburetors began with the Rochester Quadrajet on my Grandfather's El Camino.

Growing up with stories about the significance of that carburetor on his cruck's performance did it for me.

Of course, as a small child, I had no real interest in carburetors, only my Grandfather's stories and the fun I'd have when he'd open up his Q-Jet on the 283 and I'd get to feel his El Camino pick-up and rocket down the road. I didn't get to tinker with a carb until I was a teenager, but the fun and frustration of swapping jets and other carb parts to improve the driving characteristics and performance of the Original 351 permanently cemented my love for them.

Plus, I like the way they drive — way more than electronic fuel injection. There's just something that's much more natural and elemental about the way a carburetor runs. EFI just feels too bionic, like the engine's on life support, and it's being forced to run, rather than allowed — and really, fuel injection doesn't even have better throttle response, make more power or provide a broader power curve in a normally aspirated application. In fact, in the numerous comparison tests I've read and experiences I've had, carbs tend to provide superior results in all three areas when tuned correctly.

Recently reading and reviewing How to Rebuild and Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors has really got me looking forward to restoring my Grandfather's Q-Jet and opening it up on the little 283.

It'll be good to hear and feel the El Camino get up and go, again — it's been waaay too long.


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