The C2 Corvette is often regarded as one of the most beautiful Corvette designs of all time, and along the way, it ushered in a fan favorite: the split-rear window. Potentially as a surprise to many, not everyone was onboard with the design trait and it had one notable critic: Zora Arkus-Duntov.
Peter Brock, a former Corvette designer, tells the story of Duntov’s feud with late GM vice president of global design, Bill Mitchell. After Brock finalized his sketch, Mitchell entered the design studio and asked for a cut line straight down the middle at the rear, which effectively split the rear window into two.
Brock and the team did as the boss man said. They took a knife to the clay model and implemented the change. Mitchell was out the next day, and Duntov happened to stroll into the design studio. In his best Duntov impression, Brock says the former Porsche engineer was incredibly turned off by the design and called it “stupid.”
The design team explained Mitchell requested the change, but Duntov made his case for the impracticability. Notably, he said it would cut down the visibility (very true), and cost would increase in production for such a design.
The next day, Mitchell returned to a screaming match between Duntov where Mitchell eventually kicked the famed Corvette engineer out of the design department. From then on, Duntov didn’t have much to do with the car’s design and focused on engineering expertise. After all, Duntov remained in favor of a mid-engine layout even before the C2 Corvette entered production.
Decades later, Duntov will likely see his dream come to reality.