The name is a familiar one within the Corvette community. Zora Arkus-Duntov, colloquially known as the father of the Corvette, will forever sit as the man credited for morphing the icon into what we know it today. Road & Track had decided to do some digging on the Russian man who would create the ultimate American badass.
In fact, Duntov was a brute force in ensuring the 1953 concept vehicle shown at the New York Motorama made its way to production. Insisting the car would allow Chevrolet to reach a younger audience, the Corvette was born. But it wasn’t until the C2 Corvette Sting Ray when Duntov’s magic would really begin to glimmer.
In all truth, Duntov despised the design and looks, penned by Bill Mitchell, of the C2 Corvette, damning it for poor aerodynamic performance, and detested the split-window design for poor rear visibility. Eventually, the split-window would be canned, but the design stuck, proving to be mighty popular, and earned GM massive profits.
Where Duntov excelled were the bones underpinning that pretty face we know as the C2 Corvette. Duntov is credited with scoring major wins with an independent rear suspension, a stiffer frame and four-wheel disc brakes.
But Duntov pushed harder, and some of his greatest achievements never came to be. The head Corvette engineer, a title bestowed upon him in 1967, pushed hard for a mid-engine design, but ultimately it never made its way into production despite his evidence in performance credentials. GM deduced it would alienate buyers, the C2 and C3 were selling incredibly well, and the investment seemed silly at the time.
Now, 19 years after Duntov’s passing, his legacy has begun to thrive. The media has coined mid-engine Corvette rumors “Zora prototypes,” an effort no doubt to show a long-held dream realized. General Motors has even trademarked the name for land vehicles.
We’re not sure if a mid-engine Corvette will actually wear a “Zora” badge, but it won’t matter. Zora Arkus-Duntov’s handiwork will forever touch America’s sports car icon.