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Mr. Fish was passionate about connecting race history with the racing of today. Son of the legendary Bob Fish, Sr. of Fish Carburetor fame, Bob, Jr. had many stories of the great drivers connected with the 1950's racing and his father., including Fireball Roberts. Go to the Fish Carb page for more info.

From the Family of Mr. Fish: Thank you so much for your kind words.  My family has been very touched to hear from those who knew my father at different phases of his life.  I'm finding that he had an even more interesting history than I realized.

The services tomorrow, June 26th, 2007, will consist of internment at 10 am at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma in San Diego, CA.  There will be a memorial service at 2pm at the Chapel of the Roses in Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita, CA (3838 Bonita Road).  Those who wish to gather after the service are invited back to the home my dad shared with my mother, Audrey, at 3261 Bonita Mesa Road, Bonita, CA.

Thank you again for contacting us and for your condolences.      Best wishes,   Kim Gietzen

The Fish Carburetor Story

(Uniform Patch)

Story                 Patents              Pictures

The Fish Carburetor was originally invented by John Robert Fish in America in the early Thirties. J.R. was not an automobile engineer but a brilliant all-round inventor with a strong grasp of pressure differentials and expertise in machine tooling. He was possibly the originator of the "Iron Lung" as he invented a "pressure bag" for his wife who appeared to suffer with serious circulation problems. The raising and lowering of the bag pressure apparently helped her greatly. 0n another occasion, Bob Fish cabled the President with instructions at great length on how a very simple pressure box could be lowered to rescue some sailors who were trapped in a sunken submarine!

Carburetion Principles

When he came to look at carburetors initially, it was to stop the waste of fuel as it slopped about on cornering, braking and hard acceleration. All standard or conventional carburetors are entirely dependant on a stable fuel level to feed through the "Manometer" principle. He demonstrated the point by fitting a glass jug to the bonnet (hood) of a car. The level changed by literally inches on hard cornering. The typical four barrel carburetor of the time had float chambers almost all round the unit to prevent starvation but it was very wasteful on the high side of the float chamber. All conventional carburetors still use the "Manometer" or "U" tube principle today and rely on a Venturi to accelerate the incoming air so dropping the pressure which then lifts the fuel level through the jetting. Unfortunately, this tends to strangle the engine at higher revs. Fuel of course has a much higher inertia than air so jetting has to be much richer at low speeds (air velocity) which means that when the fuel finally catches up with the air flow, it would be chronically over-rich requiring it to be corrected by an "air corrector jet" to bleed down the over-rich main jet.

Small carburetors suit bottom-end flexibility, response and fuel consumption but not top-end power which then requires a larger or multi-carburetor set-up that in turn produces poor fuel consumption and flexibility. Bob Fish produced a carburetor that entirely eliminated these compromises as:

 Fuel level was not critical to metering under any conditions.

 No Venturi was required to potentially strangle the air flow.

 A single progressive metering groove did away with both main and corrector jets, as well the Venturi.

 The carb works on pressure differential - not air speed, which means that it is almost instantly self adjusting & self compensating so any change in weather or altitude requires no adjustments or modifications as with conventional carbs. Hence all round suitability for cars, boats, aircraft, mountain or pressure charging use.

 Instead of the usual one main fuel discharge point within the carburetor, the "Fish" has from SIX to TEN leading to vastly superior atomization and therefore much improved vaporization and since wet fuel DOES NOT burn (only the vapor), better and more complete combustion is ensured enabling more power to be extracted from the same amount of fuel.

 Result - again LESS WASTE!

The Struggle

The "Fish" was seen as a very serious threat to the "Original Equipment" establishment and could not be tolerated. J.R. suffered years of dirty tricks and persecution in an attempt to put him and his carburetor out of business. He even had his mail stopped on trumped up charges which were entirely UNTRUE and the case never went to court. It was simply a deliberate time wasting exercise to stop his cash flow and ruin him. He was not to be beaten and moved to Florida where he kept going by selling carbs to individuals including some wealthy big game fishermen which enabled them to reach and return from their fishing grounds much quicker so having more time to actually fish (no pun intended!) and increase their catch potential.

Fish Plant on Ballough Road, Daytona Beach at the foot of the Seabreeze bridge (Later become Ray Fox Garage)  -  Picture Courtesy of Orlando Boni www.Boni.com/fish


The Racers Involvement

At about the same time an up-and-coming local Stock Car driver got involved. The famous and almost legendary "Fireball Roberts" who drove the original M-1 car and carburetor in place of the big 4 barrel "Works" carbs. He literally left them standing with his otherwise out-of-date car. His epic performances must have helped put Daytona Beach race track on the map. In those days, it was partly on the road and partly on the beach itself! The "Works" organizations did not like it one bit and again the "dirty tricks" started. "Fireball Roberts" frequently made Pole Position and gained the trophy. Repeatedly, however, his race tires developed "mysterious problems" when leading the race convincingly. These "faults" suspiciously did not seem to occur in the "Works" cars. - It would seem that the Fish Carb could not be allowed to succeed either on the track or commercially.


The Revival

In the early Fifties, one of J.R.'s many backers, a Canadian by the name of Eric Liebman of "Fish Canadian Carburetors" from Willowdale, Ontario, talked J.R. into producing a "sleeved down" M 1 called the SM (Small Medium) and adapt it to the growing tuning market for VW Beetles. This helped the factory's financial situation for a while. Then in return for his considerable ongoing financial backing, J.R. granted Eric Liebman exclusive "rights" to the Northern States, Canada and the rest of the World. Bob Henderson first met Eric Liebman in 1956 and was granted a Dealership for part of Canada. In 1959, Bob Henderson returned to the U.K. with a few samples for his friends to try out. The interest was considerable and an unexpected business then took off.

The Americans could not keep up with the UK demand so Eric Liebman granted Bob Henderson his "rest of the World" rights with a view to being supplied back with carbs from the new production of further improved models. Bob Henderson was granted improvement patents for the "Minnow Fish" (small fish) versions and obtained registered trade marks for the name MINNOW and the Fish device itself.

Trivia: The Fish Carb Race Fleet cars were generally numbered by the series of carburetor they ran  -- not necessarily that of the car ID!

Many Thanks to Orlando Boni, a distributor of Fish Carbs from the early 1950's. He and his son have a great website on Fish with lots of info that he has graciously let me use here in the Fish section. Mr. Boni is very enthusiastic to have the Fish Carb and Fireball Roberts remembered as a very important part of racing history.

Check out his company's website here: CLICK

And also see his Fish Carb story here: CLICK


Orlando send along another great story: This one is about a well known
local short track racer for Fish Carbs and the legendary Ray Fox from Daytona Beach,
Larry Flynn
, the 'Flyin' Irishman'; Article from Speedway Park Program June, 1955

Other Fish Links:
100 Mile Per Gallon Cars?: http://www.mhhe.com/business/finance/rwj/adopter/story.html
Energy Suppression: http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/feb2/bird.htm

Story                 Patents              Pictures


Copyright 1999 FireballRoberts.com by Roland Via. All rights reserved.  Revised: 02/14/16 10:08:08 -0500. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. FAIR USE NOTICE: This web page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This page is operated under the assumption that this use on the Web constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Any text or images that you feel need to be removed please contact me. FireballRoberts.com is not associated or affiliated with any racing club or organizations including that of NASCAR. Opinions and other content are not necessarily those of editors, sponsors.