The AIR (Air Injection Reactor)system was not a performance enhancement, it was an early emissions system. Air was pumped into the exhaust to convert some of the CO to CO2. Most headers were not plumbed for the air tubes, so if a hot rodder wanted headers, the AIR system was yanked out.
There's a common belief that manual trans. cars got the AIR system, but automatics did not. That's not true. By 69, almost all vehicles used the system.
As a little side note, If you need smog parts, or systems, contact Bill Hodel, in Massillon OH. I stopped at his shop last week, and was very impressed. He's a nice, honest man, and has an incredible inventory of used and NOS smog pieces. He also rebuilds pumps. I bought an extremely rare big block with A/C smog tube set, and a couple other items from him. Not cheap, but fair. Don't expect a bargain, but you can count on superior work.
In 69 I purchased a brand new Z/28 and I was totally disapointed by the performance of the car. It would cough and spit and fart brown smoke when I accelerated. I took it back to the dealer about ten times to get it running better.
I finally blew my cork and asked to see the owner of the dealership.
He was Maurice Carter who at the time was very heavy into Trans Am Sedan racing.
He was very sympathetic and sent me to his race shop with my car. The Mechanic Wayne Buckingham was his race car mechanic. He removed the smog pump and hoses and plugged the manifolds with brass plugs, he bumped the timing back up to where it should have been from 8 degrees to 13 initial advance. He set up the float bowls in the holley, and soldered a couple of wires that I had used to hook up a Smiths tach. When I left the shop I coul blip the throttle and get 6000 rpm instantly. I took all the smog equipment to my rental garage and stuck it in the corner.
When I changed garages I left them sitting there. I had also changed the manifolds for headers and they were there also. 20 years later when I started getting back into the hobby I was sick to my stomach to realize that I had left a complete smog/exhaust system with about 4000 miles on it in the corner of a garage. I also wish I had kept the car. It was a radio delete, no factory tach, no console, flat hood, Z/28 with D80, and style trim.
Only 69 Z/28s
Garnet Red 30,000 mi
Rally Green new in 69
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