Photo Courtesy of the National Corvette Museum
At the Corvette Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the National Corvette Museum for the class of 2013, Wil Cooksey, Werner Meier and Johnny O’Connell, each had a video tribute shown with interviews, testimonials and archival footage showcasing their contributions to the Corvette Brand. Each inductee came to the Hall of Fame following a different path but their passion for Corvettes are shared as the videos show.
So if you couldn’t make it to Bowling Green for the ceremony, we have the three videos so you can get know the Class of 2013 a little better.
2013 Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Wil Cooksey
Wilmer Cooksey Jr. served as Corvette Plant Manager from February of 1993 until his retirement in March 2008. As the first African-American to earn the position and the man who held it the longest, he brought a life-long love of Corvette to the job. Believing in the phrase that “none of us are as smart as all of us,” he worked with the United Auto Workers Union and listened to customers to make the Corvette exceed the expectations of all who dreamed of having one someday.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1942 Wil accomplished much in his life. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Masters degree in industrial engineering. He went to Officers Candidate School as well and served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army where he was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts. He is the winner of a number of honors including “Black Engineer of the Year–President’s Award”, “Achiever of the Year”, “Black Achiever in Industry” and now takes his place in the Corvette Hall of Fame.
2013 Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Werner Meier
Werner Meier’s very first car was a new Corvette. His love for the car would eventually guide the direction of his life taking him from his family’s garage where he would work on cars with his friends, to one day starting Masterworks Automotive Services. Now regarded as one of the best in the world at restoration, Werner has worked on over 100 Corvettes, including cars built for Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell and others. Cars from his collection have been put on display at the National Corvette Museum, the Gilmore Car Museum, the Lingenfelter Collection and even the GM Heritage Center. His work and dedication to the hobby have earned him a place in the Inaugural Bloomington Gold Corvette Hall of Fame.
As committed to the future of Corvette as he is to its past, Werner’s efforts through car shows and with the Boy Scouts of America have inspired future generations to make their first car a Corvette too. For his devotion, passion, and dedication to the Corvette lifestyle, we welcome Werner Meier into the Corvette Hall of Fame.
2013 Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Johnny O’Connell
To many, race car driver Johnny O’Connell embodies what Corvette Racing is all about. Behind the wheel he is determined, focused, fiercely competitive, relentless and obsessed with victory. Outside of the car though, he is approachable, fun, engaging, and always ready to talk with fans about what makes the Corvette so great. He should know as his accomplishments include four wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans along with being the overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2001. He is Sebring’s all-time winner with one overall victory and eight class titles along with being a three time ALMS Champion with 38 ALMS wins. After Corvette his success in racing continued with Cadillac Racing in the World Challenge Championship. While driving for them, he also serves as a popular commentator for ESPN, and at the same time was named Vice President of Global Operations at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
“I love driving fast, and I love people.” Johnny says. “In my time with Corvette, I was able to do what I love for people I care about.”
You can see all members of the Corvette Hall of Fame at the National Corvette Museum’s website.
National Corvette Museum
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