As a young man, Duntov was into boxing, motorcycles, fast cars, and pretty girls. After his formal engineering training in Berlin, Germany, Duntov started racing cars and applying his engineering skills to racecar construction. In 1935 Duntov built his first racecar with help from his racing partner Asia Orley; they called the car, “Arkus”. Their goal was to debut the car at the Grand Prix de Picardie in June 1935. But after a series of mishaps, the car caught fire and never raced. From this point forward, all Duntov wanted to do was build racecars. Read More
Back in the day, car magazines typically came out the same month, or the month before the specific month printed on the cover and on the footer of every page. I got my July 1969 issue of ”Car Life” as my summer vacation was beginning. I had just graduated from junior high school and was about to turn 15-years-of-age; almost two years away from when I could get my driver’s license! Read More
One of the definitions of the word, “godfather” is; “one that founds, supports, or inspires”. Of all of the Corvette’s “Founding Fathers” none are more deserving of the term than Zora Arkus-Duntov. It is not an exaggeration to say that were it not for Duntov, the Corvette never would have made it past 1970!
Although the Corvette fit the definition of a “sports car”, when Chevrolet released the car in 1953, they said that the car was, “not a sports car”. But when Zora saw the Corvette at the 1953 GM Motorama in New York City, he said that it was the most beautiful car he had ever seen, and knew instantly that he wanted to be a part of the new Corvette team. Read More
Zora used to joke that he had the birthday-Christmas curse, which means you won’t get double the number of gifts – which is funny coming from him because he was Jewish. The man had an awesome sense of humor! Regardless, Zora Arkus-Duntov’s part in the Corvette story is just as important as the original design of the car.
When Zora went to work for GM on May 1, 1953, no one inside GM knew anything about serious sports car racing. If it hadn’t been for this gray-haired, wild Russian with more passion for racing than anyone inside GM had ever seen before, surely the Corvette would have floundered and not lasted through the 1950s and never made it out of the 1960s. Read More