Founding Fathers Pt 4: Corvette Godfather, Zora Arkus-Duntov

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

Founding Fathers Pt 3: Bill Mitchell, Creator of the Corvette Look

A few years before his death in 1988, Mitchell has this to say about the C4 Corvette, “That square box is pretty near plastic… the instrument panel – Dracula’s dressing room… it rides like a truck… it isn’t a style car, it’s an machine car… engineers are running it. Earl would never let that – I would never let that happen, and I condemn the guys for it!” Read More


Corvette Timeline Tales: March 24, 1956 – Chevrolet Scores First Major Road Racing Win with a Team of Heavily-modified Corvettes – VIDEOS

Unlike today’s Corvette Racing Team’s massive year-around, non-stop R&D program, the Sebring cars were prepared in just a few weeks and were being worked on around the clock. But all things considered, it was a valiant effort that paid off. Here’s a list of the modifications made to the Corvettes. This is why I say, these were no ordinary Corvettes and by 1956 standards, these cars were very advanced. Read More


Corvette “Timeline Tales” Nov. 16, 1956: One magnesium-bodied XP-64 (Corvette SS) would be built for the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring race

The 1957 Corvette SS Racer’s exotic body turned out to be the hot ticket to failure! Dateline: 11.16.17 (VIDEO BELOW!) – This was such a heady time! Corvettes were starting to do well in racing and the Fuelie was about to go into production. Chevy general manager Ed Cole gave Duntov the green light to… Read More


The History of Mid-Engine Corvettes, 1960 to C8: Part 2

But at the height of the Corvair’s popularity, V.P. of Design, Bill Mitchell saw “potential” in the Corvair’s unique platform and set two of his sharpest designers to work on a radical Corvair; Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine. Two cars were built; the Monza GT was a mid-engine coupe and the Monza SS was a rear-engine open-roadster. Neither car looked like anything else on the road, let alone a Corvair. If you ever wondered where the big front fender humps on the Mako Shark-II came from, now you know! Read More


Corvette Timeline Tales: June 26, 1958 – A 1958 Corvette becomes the 39,000,000th Chevrolet built!

In the early days of the Corvette’s existence, GM had an odd relationship with the car. Power-players such as Harley Earl, Ed Cole, and Bill Mitchell went to bat for the struggling sports car many times. And then there was the wild Russian engineer with the funny name, Zora Arkus-Duntov that pushed to make the car a successful racecar. But GM is all about sales and Chevy wasn’t selling many Corvettes. By the end of 1957 Chevy sold 14,446 Corvettes in total from 1953. In 1957 alone, Chevrolet sold 254,331 4-door Bel Air Sedans! Read More


Ken Hazelton’s 1963 Split-Window Coupe Corvette Racecar

Ken Hazelton’s Sting Ray shows that not everyone raced Z06 and Fuelie Corvettes. When Ken bought the car in 1991, it was pretty much in its original racing configuration. The car was raced occasionally and never abused or wrecked. Frame was excellent, body was great except for a damaged nose. It looked like a jigsaw puzzle that someone put back together and not very well. Ken replaced the nose, mid tire forward with an original style nose. The 327 small-block with a Holly carburetor was not the original motor, but similar to what it came with from the factory. It had a 1965 drivetrain with a M22 transmission, and a heavy-duty rear with 3.55 gears. The car came with a 3.70 rear that Ken used until it broke, then replaced it with a 3:90, and eventually a 3.55 gear-set. Read More

Corvette Timeline Tails: Happy 102nd Birthday Zora Arkus-Duntov

So who was responsible for infusing the Corvette with it’s Mojo? Zora Arkus-Duntov. Zora was, without a doubt, the ultimate automotive corporate misfit to ever work in Detroit. By the time he saw the very first Corvette at the 1953 Motorama, he was 44 years old, a seasoned mechanical engineer, race car driver and builder. he was quoted as saying, “When I saw the Corvette at the Motorama, I thought it was the most beautiful car I’d ever seen.” And Duntov appreciated beauty. Just look at his stunning blond beauty wife and former Bluebell Girls dancer, Elfie Duntov. yes, Zora new a good-looking dame when he saw one and one look at the Corvette and he knew where he wanted to be – in the engineering department of Chevrolet, working on the Corvette. Read More

Zora Arkus-Duntov, Ahead of the Curve in 1953!

Zora Arkus-Duntov started working at General Motors on May 1, 1953. His first few months were a little bumpy, plowing through some junky assignments, such as sorting out why a prototype car with a heavy rear end wouldn’t handle right and solving a driveline vibration on a GM bus. A few weeks after Zora started, his immediate supervisor, the very capable senior engineer Maurice Olley, suggested that Duntov quit because he didn’t like Zora’s non-engineering solution to the prototype’s handling problem. And he actually considered it! (for a very short time) Read More