(NSFW language at about 0:26)
If you were shopping for a new Corvette like the one in this video back in 1962, the top-of-the-line engine choice was the code 582 327 cubic-inch, 360 horsepower small-block topped with Rochester mechanical fuel injection. It was a relatively expensive option, adding $484.20 to the $4,038.00 base price of the car ($3,800.12 and $31,691.00 respectively, corrected for inflation – man, old Corvettes sure do seem affordable when they were new, don’t they?) but definitely worth it when you see the premium these “fuelie” cars command today.
Part of the reason for that sought-after status has to do with the fact that in 1962, just 1,918 Corvettes were built with the injected 327ci, making them fairly rare right from the start. But compounding the issue is the fact that many original owners converted their cars back to carburetion after giving up on finding a dealership mechanic who could make the Rochester injection run right.
The fuel injection system was completely analog, relying on a vacuum signal to modulate fuel delivery to eight continuous-flow injectors located in each intake runner. While the system was complex, it wasn’t necessarily more complex than a carburetor, which was essentially doing exactly the same thing, in more or less the same way, minus the port injection.
The problem was that it was a different kind of complex than what all but the most esoterically skilled mechanics were familiar with, so owners who just wanted a drivable car did what would be unthinkable today and simply discarded the fuel injection that is figuratively worth its weight in gold today.
Even with restored, complete fuel injection units selling for upwards of $10,000 all by themselves these days, it’s still a rare treat to see a Corvette with one that’s properly tuned by someone who knows what they’re doing.