At the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green Kentucky, there is an exhibit to Zora Arkus-Duntov, the man that many call the “father of the Corvette”. Not to go off on a tangent, but I disagree with the term, after all, the Corvette was born from the mind of design genius Harley Earl and Zora came on to the scene after seeing the Motorama Corvette in 1953. However, once at GM, no man had greater influence on the direction of the Corvette than the Belgium-born engineer.
From 1953 through his retirement in 1975, Zora guided the performance and technical innovations that became synonymous with the name Corvette. He was the man responsible for such advances as disc brakes, independent rear suspension and limited-slip differentials. All these innovations became standard features on most automobiles, but they were first found on the Corvette.
Prior to his death in 1996 from cancer, Zora made plans for his collection of papers, engineering designs and other memorabilia relating to the Corvette, and also made known his wishes as to where his remains would be located. And that was one of the places he loved the most, the National Corvette Museum.
Bobbie Joe Lee, the NCM’s marketing and media relations manager said, “Zora asked that his ashes be brought here. He was the engineer who turned the Corvette into the world-class sports car it was meant to be.”
As part of the Corvette Museum’s Zora Arkus-Duntov exhibit, an urn with his cremated remains is on display. His 1974 blue and silver Corvette is parked nearby.
According to Bobbie Joe, Zora made several trips to Bowling Green to help promote the Corvette Museum. “He was at the groundbreaking ceremony,” Lee said. “That’s when he asked that his ashes be put in the museum. When his wife dies, her ashes will be placed in the urn with his.”
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