Originally Posted by papajam
Could be that I recalled incorrectly that it was Honda. But a Japanese manufacturer none the less.
Probably Toyota- they, like everyone else besides Honda, uses a variable valve system that rotates the cam. BMW has recently gone farther to include variable lift to that, by moving the cam.
But Honda contiues to do their variable valve actuaction with a separate cam and an actuator that switches the rocker arm operation.
If you want some real firsts, I have a copy of some documentation from Don Black that shows that Alfa was experiementing with EFI back in the '30s (!). Basically, it was an electrical system that was similar in layout to a distributor, but could vary the lenght of time the switch was closed, and then direct that to an injector. Pretty cool stuff, and it was apparently very successful- IIRC, the car got way better gas milage on the test they ran. But then Alfa ran into WWII, and development stopped.
Another intersting read I have is an SAE paper from Don- explaining how Alfa was developing their own EFI system that was loosely based on the SPICA mechanical injection. Pretty cool set up, sadly, Alfa was very cash strapped in the late 70's, early 80's, and had to buy Bosch's system. Alfa did know of the real benefits of fuel injection, but it was just too expensive to fit all of the cars in Europe with the very expensive SPICA (relative to Webers/Dellortos) when the benefit vs. need was questionable.
It was both good and bad that Alfa was a state owned entity... Could do some more creative engineering, but money was always a problem.