In this exciting year of the history-making new mid-engine Corvette, four long-time faces will be honored with induction into the Corvette Hall of Fame in September.
To be inducted for their contributions to the past, present, and future of Corvette are the following four men:
- Doug Fehan – Racing
- Henry Haga – GM/Chevrolet
- Dr. Mike McCagh – Enthusiast
- Wendell Strode – Enthusiast
They’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony and banquet set for Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 – during the NCM’s 26th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 3-5.
Fehan, of course, has served as Corvette Racing Program Manager since the program’s debut in 1999, helping Corvette Racing capture their first Le Mans win in 2001. Since then, they’ve gone on to win 107 races, 12 manufacturers championships, and eight class victories at Le Mans, but through it all, Fehan has stressed that the fans are the most important members of the Corvette Racing team.
Haga’s is a name you may not have seen before, but he was instrumental in the early days of the Corvette. He began his career at the General Motors Design Staff in the experimental design studio, and after gaining experience in all five car division studios, he was named Chief Designer for Chevrolet Studio in 1963 and was responsible for the designs of the Corvette, Camaro, Monza, special show cars, and the early Chevy II. He then spent six years in the late 1970s as Director of Design for the European passenger cars at Opal in West Germany before coming back to the U.S. in 1980 and serving as Assistant Executive Designer for the Chevrolet and Pontiac Exterior Design Studio. He was named Director of the General Motors Advanced Concepts Center in Newbury Park, Calif., in 1984.
Haga worked on the four-rotor Corvette as well, which would one day become the Aerovette. At a time when Design and Engineering departments were often at odds, Henry was liked by both legendary Designer Bill Mitchell and Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, which often had fantastic results. Jerry Palmer, who would one day become the Executive Director of Design, worked under Henry at that time. “Zora came up with the centrally mounted engine for the Aerovette,” Jerry recalls. “That drive train would make it to the Reynolds Aluminum Corvette, which almost made it into production. That was under Henry’s direction too, in the studio within the studio.”
Palmer recalls Haga as “a great mentor, a great friend, and up until now, one of the unsung heroes of Corvette history. We lost him early in life (in 1988 at age 57), but while he was here, he impacted a lot of people in automotive design. Many of the cars in the Corvette Museum has his touch on them.”
Dr. McCagh may be a dermatologist by trade, but he is a dyed-in-the-wool car enthusiast. When his children were growing up, he would let them choose a car when they came of driving age – they chose a 1950 Chevrolet Convertible, a 1949 Chevrolet, a 1947 Chevrolet, and a 1957 truck. They still own all those vehicles today, by the way.
That enthusiasm for cars eventually led McCagh to become a Lifetime Member of the National Corvette Museum (where despite being one of the earliest members, he holds membership no. 1957 because he loved that year of Corvette).
In fact, fellow enthusiast Rick Hendrick says that “if one were to look up Corvette Enthusiasts in the dictionary, they are more than likely to see a picture of Mike. Those having experienced Mike’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and dedication to the Corvette hobby over the years would certainly be supportive on Mike being inducted.” Fellow Corvette Hall of Fame inductee Terry McManmon praised McCagh for his support in the early days of the formation of the NCM. “Mike was one of the first to step up and support the idea of a Library and Archives when first proposed in 1984,” McManmon says. “As President of NCRS, he promoted this idea when it was still controversial, even among NCRS members. His support allowed us the earliest of funding to file our IRS 501 ( c ) ( 3) papers.”
By the way, McCagh is National Corvette Restorers Society member no. 14 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the group. He also has written many restoration and repair articles and is one of only 21 NCRS members to receive the Sam Folz Award, which recognizes the restoration, preservation and driving enjoyment of vintage Corvettes.
Strode, of course, is a familiar face to thousands of Corvette enthusiasts. In 1988, while working as a banker in Bowling Green, he heard that the NCRS was exploring the idea of a Corvette museum and contacted the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce with an idea to build the Museum there. He went on to lead a task force that secured a donation of 30 acres of land from private citizens and a commitment from the state to provide the road and utilities for the NCM.
While the Museum opened to lots of enthusiasm in 1994, it soon began to experience financial troubles, but Strode stepped up to become Executive Director in 1996, even though at the time he had never even driven a Corvette and had only ridden in one once. While he may have been a newbie about the Corvette, he knew his way around the financial world – developing new strategies for generating funds to save the Museum and making strides to repair strained relationships with the community, clubs, enthusiasts, media, the Plant, and GM.
Before his recent retirement, Strode saw the NCM pay off its initial debut and also nearly double in physical size, add a world-class motorsports park in 2014, and grow in membership from 1,600 to nearly 36,000 members today.
These four well-deserving representatives of the Corvette world will soon join 74 other individuals who have already been named to the Corvette Hall of Fame. Congratulations from Corvette Blogger, and thank you for your hard work and enthusiastic service over the past many years.
National Corvette Museum
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