The C4 generation of Corvette was a dark time for the vehicle. Not only did it shine dimly on what the car was capable of, save for the potent ZR1 trim, but it was also a very unprofitable venture for General Motors.
In fact, Chevrolet lost about $1,000 on each C4 Corvette built. That was until Russ McLean stepped in to head operations.
Not only did McLean turn the C4 into a profitable venture, but the former plant operations manager took a stand to executives who wanted to kill the Corvette and “let it die” after the C4. McLean understood the history behind the Corvette, and simply wouldn’t allow it to happen.
After scrounging up funds from wherever possible, McLean and his team built a test mule, and invited executives to drive it. His creation was deemed worthy of production, and the C5 Corvette would go on to become Motor Trend’s 1998 Car of the Year.
It’s only fitting McLean be officially inducted into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame for his tremendous work. The C5 Corvette was more important than some think. It set up blueprints for the C6 and 2015 C7 Corvette Stingray to follow in the coming decade and, for that, we thank him.
Cheers to you, Mr. McLean.