Video: 1962 Fuelie Rumbles Back to Life

(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.

fuelie2

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.

0306VET_RochesterTWO02_zThe 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.

0306VET_RochesterTWO10_zEven 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. 

About the author

Paul Huizenga

After some close calls on the street in his late teens and early twenties, Paul Huizenga discovered organized drag racing and never looked back, becoming a SFI-Certified tech inspector and avid bracket racer. Formerly the editor of OverRev and Race Pages magazines, Huizenga set out on his own in 2009 to become a freelance writer and editor.
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