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Rein Car Nation Cover Fall 2019
						Zora Arkus Duntov
GM Leans on Duntov Legacy in C8 Teaser Video

Arkus-Duntov featured in Corvette C8 teaser video

As custodians of classic Corvette legacy, Zora Arkus-Duntov was about the first person we thought of when rumors of the mid-engine Corvette started to circulate. Now confirmed by GM and set to debut on July 18, the mid-engine ’Vette represents a radical departure from the Corvette formula. But that departure has been a long time coming, as it was Zora that always maintained that the Corvette should go mid-engine.

Zora pushed to improve every aspect of the Corvette, even before his career at GM started, and the ’Vette’s vitality as a serious sports car is thanks to him. Larger engines, lighter materials, innovative suspension setups and outside-of-the-box drivelines were the types of innovations Zora was constantly experimenting with, and he was involved with numerous mid-engine Corvette prototypes. The Astro II, XP-822 and rotary-powered XP-897 GT were a few mid-engine projects that Zora was involved with, and can be seen as the initial steps towards the upcoming C8.


Zora’s successor at GM, Dave McLellan (designer of the C4 Corvette), recalled Zora regularly pushing him towards the mid-engine configuration. “Dave, you must do the meed-engine Corvette,” he would say, in his heavily accented voice.

Ultimately, mid-engine Corvette concepts were quenched by the designers and stylists, who preferred to hedge the Corvette’s reputation on its familiar front-mounted V8 engine under a long hood. Having pushed the conventional Corvette formula to amazing lengths with the C7 though, GM has finally committed to mid-engine leap, decades after Zora suggested it.

Chevrolet’s latest C8 teaser video titled “Let’s Go,” is full of tributes and nods to Zora and the mid-engine concept vehicles of his era. In addition to footage of aircraft and rocket launches, there’s a great segment of Zora strapping on goggles while he questions, “Is your seat belt fastened?” Followed by “Alright, let’s go.” All the while, a stopwatch counter clicks away to 07.18.19 (the C8’s release date), where the C8 rushes by in its curve-disguising camouflage. The folks at Hagerty were quick to point out that this date sounds quite a bit like a Nürburgring lap time, which would place the C8 in with the Radical SR3 Turbo, Porsche 911 GT3 and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.

The latest teaser video is not the first reference to Zora surrounding the C8. Several sources pointed out in early April that the C8’s camouflage wrap had several small nods to Duntov, as a logo with the profile of his head could be seen in several places on a C8 test car.

Even if the new mid-engine Corvette comes decades after he pushed for it, it’s pretty clear that Zora is looking down fondly on the new Chevrolet.

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