Corvette from the Inside
Corvette From the Inside is a very different kind of Corvette book. It is a guided tour through Corvette history by a man who was intimately involved with America's favorite sports car for seventeen of the most exciting years of his professional life. The challenges McLellan faced in the 70s and early 80s as he struggled to lead the Corvette program from the edge of failure to resounding success serve as a wonderfully detailed case-study in how the American automotive industry relied on the ingenuity, intellect, and pure determination of its top engineers to resurrect itself from a near-fatal slump and compete once again with Asian and European manufacturers.
Dave McLellan joined General Motors in 1959, when the Corvette was only six years old. As a result, he looks at the early tale of the Corvette from a unique insider's perspective. He recounts the background of the Corvette's creation and provides fascinating insight into the Zora Arkus-Duntov years. He discusses the technical obstacles and solutions that paralleled the development of the Corvette from a primitive and poorly executed six-cylinder sporty car to one of the fastest and best handling sports cars ever conceived.
Impressed by McLellan's engineering talents, GM groomed him to assume the helm at Corvette Engineering, which he did upon Duntov's retirement in 1975. McLellan stepped into the job of Corvette Chief Engineer just as the car hit an all-time performance low. He gives his first-hand account of the transition from the underpowered C3 Corvette of the mid and late 70s to the formidable C4 and ZR-1 Corvettes with which McLellan will always be identified. In describing his experiences with the Corvette, his story traces the path of the auto industry from the dark days of the 1970s when OPEC and strangling emissions requirements took the punch out of the American muscle car, to the 1990s when the American super car-exemplified by the incredible four-cam ZR-1 Corvette-emerged as a world class competitor.
Not one to let his 1992 retirement from GM slow him down, McLellan continues his work in the automotive industry as a consultant. In this book he reveals his vision of the Corvette's future as he explores new levels of performance, active safety, and other innovations that may once again revolutionize the Corvette.
Table of Contents:
1. The Corvette is Born
The Corvette grows out of the European tradition of sports and racing cars and is reinterpreted for the American market
2. Duntov Develops the Corvette
Zora Arkus-Duntov had one thing in mind when he sought work with General Motors-to develop the Corvette into a world-class performance sports car.
3. The Second Generation Corvette-C2 1963-1967
An all new chassis with independent rear suspension would provide the foundation for all production Corvettes from 1963 through 1982.
4. The Mid-Engine Corvette
The mid-engine Corvette was the still-born dream of Zora Arkus-Duntov, who wanted to push Corvette to higher levels of performance, while GM management just wanted greater sales.
5. The Corvette Ages Through the 1970s
In the 1970s, major changes to the Corvette were restricted to those required to meet ever more-stringent government safety and emissions requirements.
6. The Next Generation Corvette
Finally given the green light to explore development of a totally new car, the Corvette Engineering group started considering all of its options.
7. Hammering Out the Details of an All New Corvette
With a basic concept in hand for a new Corvette, the engineering team now had to develop all the components and fit them together in the first all-new Corvette for 20 years.
8. The C4 Matures and Spawns a Raodster
As soon as the 1984 Corvette was ready for production, the Corvette Engineering Group went to work to improve its performance and safety. They also brought out a convertible version.
9. The Crucible of Showroom Stock Racing
With its Showroom Stock and Corvette Challenge racing programs, Chevrolet was able to test and implement changes to production Corvettes faster than would have been possible otherwise.
10. Handling Dynamics and Active Safety in the Corvette
As Chevrolet's flagship, the Corvette was the perfect vehicle for introducing such safety and performance features as ABS and traction control.
11. Balancing Performance with Economy and Emission Control
The basic dilemma facing the Corvette's engineers was how to dramatically increase performance while at the same time making a clean-burning and more fuel-efficient sports car.
12. The ZR-1: How the LT5 Came About
In its constant search for greater performance, the Corvette group opted to develop an exotic and powerful new double-overhead camshaft V-8 engine.
13. Chevrolet Introduces the ZR-1
The world-wide introduction of the potent ZR-1 version of the Corvette was an exciting and gratifying time for Dave McLellan and his engineers.
14. Making the Chevrolet V-8 a Modern Engine
By the late 1980s, many thought that the small-block Chevy had reached its limit of development. However, a small band of dedicated engine men proved that the engine had potential they had never before imagined.
15. Breaking the Paradigm with the C5
In order to produce a faster, lighter and more efficient Corvette, the engineering group had to abandon conventional practices; the backbone chassis of the C5 was the result.
16. Understanding the Past to Build a Future
Without a solid history of American sports cars to draw upon, the Corvette's designers and engineers had to look to Europe's motoring past to plot the Corvette's future.
17. The Corvette's Future
Dave McLellen may not be Corvette's Cheif Engineer anymore, but he never stops thinking about how the Corvette should be developed using new technology for greater performance.
About the Author
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