Supporting Vendors / Dealers - Advertising - Shop

GM Press Release: April 22, 1996: Zora Arkus-Duntov

General Motors Media Press Release

FOR RELEASE: April 22, 1996
CONTACT(S):  Chevrolet Communications
Phone:  (800) CHEVY-MI or: (810) 492-8841
Fax: (810) 492-8853

Zora Arkus-Duntov

He was called the "Father of the Corvette," a dream maker, a Detroit legend and an engineering genius. Zora Arkus-Duntov was all of these things -- and then some.

He died Sunday (April 21, 1996) of natural causes in a Detroit hospital.

Duntov will probably be best remembered for his years as Chief Engineer of the Chevrolet Corvette. Duntov began his 22 years with Chevrolet in 1953 after seeing the XP-122 Corvette prototype at a GM show.

Duntov wrote Ed Cole, then Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer and later General Motors president, appraising the car. Cole was so impressed that he asked Duntov to join Chevrolet as a research and development engineer. He was named a design and development engineer in 1956, and perfected Chevrolet’s famous Rochester fuel injection system which was optional on the 1957 Corvette.

During that time, he was also charged with organizing a factory race team for the 1957 Sebring Race. The result was the Corvette SS with its tuned 283-cube Chevrolet V8 delivering 307 horsepower. It was later transformed into the Corvette Sting Ray. Both cars considerably influenced Corvette design throughout the ‘60s.

Duntov set a fast pace for himself, too. In 1957 he became Corvette’s engineering coordinator, and was named Director of High Performance Vehicles. Duntov became responsible for Corvette engine and chassis design in 1963, and in 1968 was named Chief Engineer of the car that drew him to Chevrolet.

Often cited as the engineering genius behind the Corvette, Duntov was responsible for such advances as disc brakes, independent rear suspension and limited slip differentials -- items that eventually found their way to other Chevrolet models. He also masterminded the CERV-II, the world’s first mid-engine car with full-time, 4-wheel drive.

A rugged individualist, Duntov also filled his life with numerous successes outside the engineering field. He drove in major automobile races, such as LeMans, in which he was a 1954 and 1955 class winner. In 1955, driving a pre-production 1956 Chevrolet, Duntov set a Pike’s Peak stock car record of 17 minutes, 24.05 seconds -- a record that lasted 13 years.

In 1956, he broke the "flying mile" record in a 1956 Corvette at Daytona Beach with a speed of 150.583 miles per hour.

Duntov, born of Russian parents in Belgium, came to America in 1941. He was graduated from the Institute of Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany, in 1934, with a degree in mechanical engineering.

In recent years, Duntov was a consultant to Chevrolet and the specialty equipment industry, and continued to attend Corvette shows and events across the country.

One of those events was held in January 1995. Duntov celebrated his 85th birthday at the opening of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. The crowd of 120,000 Corvette fans gave him a long, standing ovation, a fitting tribute from the people who best appreciated his genius.

0 (0)
Article Rating (No Votes)
Rate this article
Attached Files
There are no attachments for this article.
Comments
There are no comments for this article. Be the first to post a comment.
Name
Email
Security Code Security Code
Related Articles RSS Feed
Technical Article: Spring Thing - Putting the "Spring" Back In Your Corvette’s Step
Viewed 537 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Technical Article: Timing and Vacuum Advance 101
Viewed 896 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Determining the Resistance Value of the Ignition Key Resistor Pellet
Viewed 827 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Corvette Demographics - 2009
Viewed 721 times since Sun, Jul 6, 2014
Small Block and Big Block Engine Bore and Stroke Chart
Viewed 1218 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Big Block Chevrolet Engine Crankshaft Specifications
Viewed 1820 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Engine Casting Numbers: Chevrolet V8 Passenger Cars
Viewed 811 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Chevrolet Service Bulletin: Information on Proper Tire Pressure
Viewed 724 times since Mon, Jul 14, 2014
Product Review: Best All-Round: We Test the Goodyear F1 GS-D3
Viewed 957 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014
Service Bulletin: Minor Paint Repair Without Repainting
Viewed 593 times since Tue, Jul 15, 2014