January 11, 2014
updated: January 18, 2018
by Peter Disher
Between 1967 and 1970 Shelby Automobiles experimented with a variety of fuel injection systems. The tests were supervised by Shelby's chief engineer, Fred Goodell.
Goodell anticipated the coming emission standards and desired increase performance. Goodell tested both mechanical and electronic systems. These included throttle body designs and down draft style systems.
The program included almost two dozen cars. All of these company cars would be designated as "engineering" vehicles.
It is very diffcult to find information on the Shelby fuel injection cars. Once the tests were concluded, the fuel injection systems were removed and the cars were sold as "used" cars.
Existing engineering records only describe a few specific systems. These include the Conelec, the Bosch/Bendix and the Lucas Fuel Injection. Although the systems were tested by Goodell,
many were installed by subcontractors. In the case of Conelec, this work was done at their factory in New York. This decentralization of the work has made it difficult to reconstruct the historical record.
The first car to receive fuel injection is believed to be a 1967 engineering test vehicle. The vehicle is described in notes, but very few details are known at this time.
When the new Shelby/AO Smith contract was being finalized in May of 1967, plans called for fuel injection vehicles on the production lines. The original proposal called for 8,000 Shelbys to be built
(4450 cars were actually delivered). The expectation was that at least 20% or 1600 cars would be equipped with either fuel injection or superchargers. Unfortunately, none of these cars ever materialized
on the production lines of AO Smith.
In 1968, Goodell did manage at least four vehicles with fuel injection. Most likely these cars had their fuel systems custom installed.
Three of the first four cars built were designated as fuel injection test vehicles.
The fourth car was a GT350 convertible
sent to Hertz. It was designated as an advanced show car. Goodell personally oversaw the installation of fuel injection on a California Special prototype. The car later known as the "Green Hornet" was
shipped to Conelec in New York for installation of the EFI system. Goodell clearly favored the Conelec EFI systems.
Shelby # 101 is one of four known fuel injection test cars from 1968.
This research paper is ten pages long. Written by Goodell it compares the Bosch system to the more efficent Conelec EFI.
Goodell's fuel injection project had grown exponentially. Earlier cars remained in testing. More than a dozen new cars were also added to the fleet. By 1969, it was clear to Goodell that emissions would be a major
factor in the coming years. Conelec was already making changes to their system. They planned to add oxygen sensors and increase inputs to the computer for better fuel efficency.
1969 Shelby # 849 was an original Conelec car and is now in Germany.
1969 # 2329 was a fuel injection car and it also had a Cougar dash installed.
Surprisingly, at least one 1970 fuel injection Shelby was built. The demise of the Shelby program has not been accurately documented over the years. As with all complex relationships, there were numerous factors
that led to the end of Shelby Automobiles. Certainly one contributing factor was the three way antagonistic relationship between Ford, Shelby and AO Smith. AO Smith often complained of not being
paid in a timely manner. They actually refused to build the 1970 models, opting out of the program. The conversions of unsold 1969s, were completed by Kar Kraft, another Ford subcontractor.
This picture of David Long was taken at SAAC 37. It would be one of David's last public appearances.
At the time, I didn't know one of the original fuel injection cars was actually yellow.
2013 The Conelec Legacy Car
After years of research, one more Shelby would be equipped with fuel injection. Originally sent to Town and Country Ford in Charlotte, North Carolina. This 1969 GT350 (9F02M481088) volunteered to become the only working
example of the Conelec EFI system. The system was installed at the facilities of Mr. David Long. Long is the original inventor of the Conelec EFI system. He was also Goodell's good friend. Goodell often stayed
at his home in upstate New York. David and his son, Chris,
worked tirelessly to install the system just like it was done in 1969.
March 2014- This is a picture of a box of new, old stock Conelec fuel pumps found in New York. The box contained several different styles of pumps.
Each of the pumps has a factory block-off in the fuel line port.
Here is the box after it was unpacked for the first time in 40 years. Most of the pumps survived in like new condition. Only a few were damaged.
These could be used for parts, but the pump has very few moving parts.
Also included in the stash were two extremely rare, salesman "cut-away" view pumps. A single piston moves up and down to pump the fuel.
This chrome pump was also found.
If you have information on Shelby fuel injection cars please contact me.