Fire and Corvettes simply do not mix. A small fire in a conventional steel-bodied car is one thing (and usually repairable), but a fire in a Corvette usually spells "catastrophe." Of course, the old "it can't happen to me" syndrome usually strikes, but just for the sake of discussion, pretend you're cruising down Main Street with your pristine '67 427-powered coupe. What happens if a nut on the fuel line inadvertently backs off, or a mechanical fuel pump fails, or a needle and seat assembly sticks and gasoline is sprayed onto a set of hot exhaust manifolds? How much time will it take for you to (A) figure out there is a real problem and (B) stop and do something about it. We suspect it will take longer than you'd like in both cases.
What Can You Do About It?
there are preventative measures you can take. A fire extinguishing system is the ultimate solution. Believe it or not, it is possible to purchase a capable and comprehensive extinguishing system for under $500. And for less than $750, you can have something with all the bells and whistles. In contrast, you have to consider how much you'll lose if you inadvertently torch the car. Insurance will cover you, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Let's imagine you have $50,000 (or more) tied up in a '67 Corvette. Will the insurance company view your car as a beautifully restored vintage Vette or will they look at it as just another old car? One way or another, there's a good chance you could get burned.
Several insurance companies offer deep discounts if a classic vehicle is equipped with a dedicated on-board fire fighting system. In some cases, these discounts may be significant enough to cover the cost of the on-board fire fighting equipment in the first year or two.
How Difficult Is It To Install A Complete On-Board Fire System?
The systems aren't complex. On the activation side of the equation, you can get anything from a simple pull cable release to a system that takes its activation from the air shifter (CO2) bottle. In between are systems that use either a push or a pull knob. If you can hook up a throttle cable, you can install a system such as this. As far as the discharge is concerned, some of the more complex fire fighting systems use multiple discharge nozzles. The hook up is by way of an AN fitting. All that's required is to cut, bend, and flare either a steel or aluminum hard line so that it can be affixed to a remote discharge outlet (more on this later). Mounting of the bottle is equally easy. Typically, an aluminum bracket is affixed to some point in the car, and the bottle is clamped to the bracket by way of aircraft-style clamps.
How Big Is This Stuff?
Complete systems are not as complex and heavy as you might think. The most sophisticated, highest capacity system tips the scales at 1611/42 pounds (charged). Bottles generally don't exceed 20-inches overall (including discharge head) and usually have a maximum diameter under 7 inches. You can get a lightweight system that weighs in the range of 6 pounds. DOT-approved, high-pressure, carbon-fiber bottles are also available.