A car with no computer?

How old of a car would I have to buy to get one that did not have any sort of on-board computer anywhere in its system?

I assume you mean what is the newest old car without a computer? Also, do you mean when an average car had no computer, or the LAST car to have no computer? And what level of computerization? Total control, or any computer control?

For example, my 1988 Jeep had none, but my 1992 had a rudimentary ABS computer, but nothing else was computerized. So between there.

I’m pretty sure almost all US-made cars from the mid-80s onward had a computer-based engine control unit. GM’s in 1980-1981, Ford in some late-70s models, and Chrysler with the 1976 Electronic Lean-Burn System. Because it was becoming impractical to try to meet fuel efficiency standards with conventional electromechanical fuel-and-ignition controls.

A few 1968 Volkswagen models had a computer-controlled electronic fuel injection system.

My guess? US-made pre-Embargo makes. Maybe get yourself a fine 1973 Chrysler Newport like my wife had.

If we’re talking anything electronic, I’d think early 70s at least before there’s something electronic in most cars besides the radio.

O2 sensors have been installed on every car made after 1980.

Electronic ignition was invented in 1948 but didn’t become widespread until the late 70s.

Alfa Romeo tested one of the first electronic injection systems in 1940. The first commercial electronic fuel injection system was “Electrojector,” offered in AMC cars in 1957. Electronic fuel injection was available in certain models since the late 60s and was an option in most cars through the 80s but did not actually become the standard until 1990.

Someone could easily build a one-off today that doesn’t have a computer, but assuming a typical production car, OBD-II became mandatory in 1996. Any mass produced car after that would have a computer.

The old VW Beetle probably at least deserves some sort of honorable mention here. That thing was produced with very few changes from the 1930s until 2003. US production ceased in 1979, though, IIRC.

So I’ll offer up the Beetle at 1979 for now, until someone finds a later model without any sort of computer in it.

I think the 1988 Jeep Grand Cherokee had an engine control computer. By the late 1980s, even carbureted engines usually had engine control computers to adjust timing and emissions equipment. 8953005225 – ECM for a Jeep Cherokee (1987 1988 1989 1990) – AutoECMs

Few visible changes but lots of mechanical changes over the years including fuel injection complete with computer starting in 1975 (some other VW models as early as 1967).

As for most General Motors cars it would be 1974. That was the last year for a points-style distributor. 1975 introduced HEI ignition which used solid state electronics to control the ignition coil.

that’s not really a “computer,” it’s just replacing a points breaker with transistors. Generally speaking, electronic engine control took over in the early-to mid '80s with feedback carburetors. but there were even earlier examples; the ill-fated Cadillac 368 c.i. V8-6-4 engine had a primitive computer powering its digital fuel injection and cylinder deactivation. And DeSoto (Chrysler) had an (analog) electronic fuel injection system in 1958.

I miss those cars. All you needed was fuel, oxygen, a spark and you are going down the road.

I remember setting the points on a WV bug. The gap was the width of the cover of a book of paper matches. But now there are no paper matches.

But obviously cars of today don’t need a lot of tinkering. And that is good, because I would be lost.

I actually just wondered, if I wanted to buy a car that had no computer, how old a car I would have to accept. Looks like something from the '70s, or maybe that '88 Jeep.

It’s typical of me that while people are working hard to perfect self-driving cars, I want to go in the opposite direction. I’m sure it can’t be just me. (Well, or it could.)

As I stated above, the '88 Jeep may well have a computer. ECUs were gradually phased in starting around 1980. If your goal is a car with no engine control computer, that is generally before about 1980. Usually cars with ECUs are more reliable and require less maintenance.

If your goal is a car with no electronics that could be damaged by (say) EMP, modern cars may not be that sensitive to this. I have personally been driving an ECU-equipped car when a lightning bolt struck a few feet away, and the car kept running fine. Cars and aircraft in flight are frequently struck directly by lightning which can induce a higher local field strength in kilovolts per meter than a high-altitude nuclear EMP, yet they normally keep running. The vehicle systems are shielded and designed for this, otherwise planes would be dropping out of the sky all the time.

It most certainly did.

This quora thread has some additional contenders and makes the point that even on carbureted (points etc) cars there was often an electronic emission control module (effectively a simple computer) for many carbureted 70’s and 80’s non injected models.

What is the latest-model production car that contains no computers?
I’m talking about no computer-controlled fuel injection, no computer-controlled ignition, etc. How far back would I have to go to find a car without any brains?

This guy seems to know what he’s talking about

And then find your self a mechanic who knows how to use a strobe light to time the ignition, and set the points gap. Or learn to do it yourself.

Or buy the manual. That’s how I learned.

It’s not a problem doing these things, and they are ridiculously easy things to do. It’s just that they have to be done. A good set of points should last a year or more. If you don’t maintain them, however, they will not last that long.

There is a reason that cars build without computers tended to be sold every three years. After three or four years, so many things need to be repaired, replaced, adjusted, or rebuilt that was much easier just to buy a new car.

Now, I love the old cars. I am not afraid to adjust the timing, or anything else. It’s just I got really tired of having to adjust the timing, brakes, valves, whatever. You can’t go 5000 miles without having to adjust something. After a few years of that, the idea that just having to pump gas, change the oil, and buy new tires has a certain attractiveness that is hard to resist.

Pretty sure my 1977 Datsun B210 had no computer.

Are there any cars sold anywhere in the world now without computers? What about other four-wheeled vehicles of varying degrees of carlikeness, such as lawn tractors, regular field tractors, golf carts, the ‘four-wheelers’ that you straddle and ride like a motorcycle, or those utility trucks that John Deere and the like make?

For the record, the first car produced in any real numbers with electronic fuel injection was the 1968 Volkswagen Type 3, which came in three forms commonly referred to as the Squareback (station wagon), Fastback, and Notchback (sedan). Compare the owner’s manuals for the 1967 and 1968 models here, on pages 46 and 45, respectively.