Have you ever driven a car or truck with a carburetor?

Kind of a random question, but it hit me the other day that I am pretty sure I have never actually driven a car or truck that’s had a carburetor. I got my first driver’s license in 1996, and carburetors had become rare on new cars in the US by around 1990. The earliest model year car I’ve ever driven was a 1988 model. The 1988 Buick I drove in high school actually had badges on the fenders calling out the fact that it was fuel injected.

One wild card is the truck we had at my summer job as a groundskeeper which I drove occasionally. That was a 1988 Isuzu, and according to Wikipedia it was offered with a carbureted engine through 1993 (which Wikipedia says makes it the last vehicle available in the US with a carburetor). But I’m going to assume the vast majority of buyers opted to upgrade to the more powerful fuel injected engine and very few were actually sold with carburetors, and thus that truck was most likely fuel injected.

Every car I’ve driven after that was build after fuel injection had become standard on all cars.

  • Yes, and I am over 40
  • Yes, and I am 40 or younger
  • No, and I am over 40
  • No, and I am 40 or younger
  • I don’t know

0 voters

Ah, that explains everything! :wink: In 1996 I was starting to have thoughts about the possibility of early retirement. Incidentally, my beautiful 1977 Chev Caprice had a magnificent V8 with a four-barrel carb. It’s still probably the finest, most quiet and comfortable car I’ve ever owned, but it also had massive amounts of power. Those were the days. For Archie and Edith Bunker it was their LaSalle that ran so great; for me, the Chevy.

A 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 XL has a 390 cubic-inch V8, a 1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon, and a 1984 Plymouth Horizon.

1979 (or was it 1977) AMC Hornet definitely had a carburator. It is one of the few things I could fiddle with when the car a wouldn’t start. I had as spay can of something you could spray into the carburetor directly to get the car started.

Our boat engines also had carburators.

I’m over 40

My first car was a used '85 Honda Accord that I got in 1994.

Spent plenty of time with the hood open with the carb unscrewed, trying to get it to start.

When I finally got a newer car, was very confused as to where I was supposed to spray the ether.

My first car was my parents’ 1978 or 79 Plymouth Volare. Which was notorious for stalling issues due to carburetor issues.

The other big change in ICE (internal combustion engine) technology is having computer controlled spark timing, thus eliminating the distributor, and thus eliminating all the fussing with adjusting the timing.

Airplane engines also have a carburetor, at least the older ones do. I think newer ones have likewise gone to injection. The air coming through the venturi can be freezing cold, and freezing water vapor in the carburetor is a perennial problem in aircraft. Thus, airplanes have a carburetor heater that the pilot controls, and one of the things every pilot needs to learn is when to use it.

ETA: You young’uns don’t even know what a venturi is.

I got my license in 1971, so, yeah.

I’m 55, and got my driver’s license in 1981. A number of the cars I drove during high school and college had carbs, including:

  • 1974 GMC pickup
  • 1969 Jeep Wagoneer
  • 1981 Plymouth Reliant
  • ~1985 Jeep Wagoneer

The last one was my dad’s car, which I used to move my stuff from Madison to Chicago when I got out of college, and started my first car. The carburator was working poorly, and as my sister and I drove from Green Bay to Madison (to pick up my stuff), the car started working poorly. We took it to a local repair garage, where they cleaned a ton of gunk out of it (I remember how dark the mechanic’s hands were after he finished).

Carburetors are in charge of vaporizing the gasoline and mixing that with air in the right proportion. Thus, they are affected by the altitude at which you are driving. In the bad old days, if you lived down in the flatlands and drove up to the mountains, you had to get your carburetor adjusted for high-altitude driving.

When I was a young’un, we all went up to the mountains for the occasional weekend. Before going, my father always took the car to a mechanic for the high-altitude adjustment, and again after we got home for the low-altitude adjustment.

1966 Galaxie, 1973 Ford Pinto, 1981 Datsun 210 Wagon, so yeah. That doesn’t count my wife’s cars. Even did my own tuneups some times.

Parent’s cars:
1954 Plymouth Plaza – straight six, carb
1963 Rambler Classic – straight six, carb
1970 Olds Delta 88 – V-8, carb

My vehicles:
1966 International Harvester stepside – straight six, carb
1969 Camaro RS – V-8, carb
1973 Buick Electra 225 – V-8, carb
1978 Olds Cutlass – V-8, carb
1981 Ford F250 – V-8, carb
1985 Olds Delta 88 – V-8, carb

First fuel injected:
1990 Ford F250 Diesel.

I think they’ve all been fuel injected since then (as long as we squint sideways at the throttle body injection and all pretend together).

I’ve rebuilt more Rochester Quadra-jet carburetors than I can count.

I have a 1963 Ford Falcon that’s carbureted with a manual choke. It was my daily driver for many years but it’s currently in storage while I finished my undergrad.

I also owned a 1968 Ford F250 with a manual choke carb.

Once everything is dialed in and tuned up, start-up is pretty quick and reliable. I didn’t find them to be too onerous.

ETA: I’m 36 and got my license in 2001.

I had several cars with a carburetor. A Barracuda, 2 Camaros and a piece of crap Chevy Citation.

I rebuilt carburetor several times back then. It was kind of fun. Working on cars back then were kind of fun. 70s and earlier. That Citation was just a pain in the butt.

BTW: I fixed the thread title.

My first car was a 1979 Chevy Impala with a 305. I never had problems with the carb but I did run it head on into a tree at 30 MPH in a blizzard which resulted in a massively crushed grill and hood. Fortunately, there was enough space up front that it didn’t even touch the engine.

I got my first license in about 1963, and the first car I drove was a 1960 Rambler. Stick shift, and most definitely carbureted. After that, I owned three Plymouths, all carbureted.

My dad had, up until maybe 5 years ago) a 1972 LTD. I drove it, but not a whole lot. But it’s how I learned to change the points.

Getting back to the OP, I’m 40, got my license in 96 as well. While I did drive some cars with distributors, they weren’t my daily drivers. It was mostly when I was driving an old beater my dad had at the time or some of our work vehicles.
That LTD I mentioned, my younger brother only drove it once, I remember hearing it crank and crank and crank and as he was about to head back in to tell us it wouldn’t start, my dad and I both yelled “give it some gas” and it fired right up. My mom, having driven only cars with fuel ignition for the last 25+ years, still pumps the gas when she’s starting her car.

Also, not that I’m thinking about it my 2008(?) Honda Shadow (motorcycle) had a carburetor as well. Part of the reason I sold that bike was that I got sick of taking the whole thing apart and cleaning it every time I wanted to take the bike out.

I have owned about 40 or so cars since I was 16. That doesn’t include the 20 or so cars I used as race car at local short tracks. All had carbs till I bought a 2006 Chevy Equinox in 2008. That and the 2 I have owned since are the only fuel injected vehicles I have owned. I used to rebuild Holley carbs, I could disassemble, clean and rebuild one in about 40 minutes.

I think it is revealing that you ask about cars or trucks but not about motorcycles. And the answer is yes, of course.
Told my girl I had to forget her, rather buy me a new carburetor!

Several of the bikes have 2 carbs. One of the BMW’s has a twin Weber set-up. A tuning nightmare! But boy, is it fun to drive!