Monday, April 11, 2016

Electronic Engine Control Beginnings: The 1978 Lincoln Versailles

How did the electronic management  of automobile control functions evolve during the 1970s in American cars?  One important step forward  an be seen in the technology employed in the 1978 Lincoln Versailles. The Versailles proved to be a disappointing competitor to the Cadillac Seville, but it significantly introduced clear coat paint, halogen headlights, and microprocessor electronic controls. The Versailles 301 V-8 featured seven sensors which fed data to a central microprocessor which in turn managed spark timing and exhaust-gas recirculation. Those sensors included: a Dura-Spark Ignition Module; a Thermactor Control Solenoid; a Barometric Pressure Sensor; an Air Inlet Temp Sensor; EGR Valve Actuator and Sensor; Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor.

There were other examples of the use of microprocessor technology in 1978, including a Chrysler radio with an electron memory, the digital; clock with a vacuum-display chronometer, and a fuel consumption computer that calculated range in a Lincoln Mark V.

We rarely think of the Lincoln Versailles as a car of historical significance. But indeed, it did demonstrate new technologies with long-term impact.


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