"The Corvette was no dog anymore."
- Zora speaking about the the Corvette after setting a 150 mph top-speed record at Daytona, Decemer, 1955.
Zora Arkus-Duntov, father of the Corvette, dies
By Wes Raynal / The Detroit News
Zora Arkus-Duntov was called the "Father of the Covette," a dream maker, and a Detroit legend. Duntov died Sunday of natural causes at St. John Hospital in Detroit.
He was 86
Duntov began his 22 years at Chevrolet in 1953. he was first drawn to the division after seeing the XP-122 Corvette prototype at a General Motors Corp. auto show.
Duntov wrote to Ed Cole, then Chevrolet's chief designer, appraising the XP-122. Cole was said to be impressed enough by Duntov's letter that he asked him to join Chevrolet as a research and development engineer.
Duntov did in 1956. He was named the Corvette's engineering coordinator just a year later, and was also named director of high performance vehicles.
In 1968, Duntov became chief engineer on the Corvette.
He was responsible for such advances as disc brakes, independent rear suspension and limited-slip differentials, all of which were found on production Corvettes.
Outside of engineering circles, Duntov drove in major automobile races, winning his class at Le Mans in 1954 and 1955, and setting the Stock Car class record at the 1956 Pikes Peak Hillclimb.
Dunov, born to Russian parents in Belgium, came to America in 1941. He had graduated from the Institute of Charlottenburg in Berlin in 1934 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Duntov served as a consultant to Chevrolet after retiring in 1975.
Visitation is from 2-9 p.m. Wednesday at the A.H. Peters funeral home, 20705 Mack Av., Grosse Point Woods.
Copyright 1996, The Detroit News
References: "Duntov, The Man Behind The Corvette" - from the Editors of VETTE magazine, 1996.