Duntov: “Father of the Corvette”

Zora Arkus DuntovCare for a history lesson? Maybe you will if you find it’s geared toward the initial creation of the Corvette. Well, the very first Corvette was introduced in 1953 by a Russian immigrant engineer named Zora Arkus Duntov.

Duntov, born in Belgium and raised in Berlin by Russian parents, fled to New York when the beginning of WWII raged. With a degree in mechanical engineering from the Institute of Charlottenburg and a passion for racing, Duntov started a company that built aluminum heads for Ford vehicles. With tremendous improvements to the horsepower of such Ford vehicles, Duntov’s name quickly generated huge recognition throughout the United States.

Porsche and Daimler Benz were so impressed that they hired him as a consultant to improve their racing programs. At the same time, Duntov made such an impact with General Motors about innovative Corvette improvements that they hired him full time as a research and development engineer.

From that point on, the Corvette was forever changed! After WWII, soldiers began returning to the states with the desire to own a two-seater sports car they had seen overseas.

With this in mind, Duntov was able to construct a two-seater Corvette with fiberglass, since steel was such a hard commodity to find after the war. The lightweight vehicle was also equipped with a two-speed automatic transmission from a 6-cylinder truck motor. Needless to say, the Corvette called for much improvement in order to compete with the infamous European Jaguars and Ferraris of that era.

As time has progressed, we have seen numerous extrordinary improvements to the Corvette. Heck, the 2009 Corvette ZR1 has the ability to blow even the best European vehicles right out of the water! We have Duntov to thank for such an inspiring ‘Vette vision.

[ Wikipedia ]

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