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10 Things You Should Know About the Brilliant Zora-Arkus Duntov

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10 Things You Should Know About the Brilliant Zora-Arkus Duntov

Old 01-18-2017, 03:06 PM
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Default 10 Things You Should Know About the Brilliant Zora-Arkus Duntov

10 Things You Should Know About the Brilliant Zora-Arkus Duntov
by Craig Vogel

Zora's mid-engined Astro II XP-880 Concept Car
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:27 PM
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In 57, we were racing, and wanting to know the secrets of the 283, a friend who worked for the phone company obtained his home phone number and we called him.

After asking how we obtained his number, he was very pleasant and spoke at length with one of our club members who later became a a racing engine designer for Chrysler and Keith Black.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:44 PM
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He and his bro. invented the AruDun overhead valve head for the Ford flat head engine.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post. Great article, and great comments, guys.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:47 PM
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Zora was sort of pushed out of GM. Not really but he didn't want to go. He was upset that his final year at GM was when the Corvette performance era totally died.

Combine that with the fact no one in GM would listen to him about turbocharging he felt he has a few things to prove. This resulted in a truly ill fated project.

Zora's Retirement Project.

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Old 01-18-2017, 07:50 PM
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Some of the 10 points are off a little, such as he hired in with GM and then the Corvette came out. Also things like his first racing Corvettes were 1956 (official), not 1957 etc.. etc.., but still appreciate any article. He got the racing bug with Porsche, and tried to get his new employer to field race cars!

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Old 01-18-2017, 09:41 PM
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I got to meet him at Malcolm Konner Chevrolet at their annual Corvette show way back in 80s. A genius and legend for sure.
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:38 AM
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The best summary of his career is Zora by Jerry Burton.



It's very accurate and it's the only book that deals with his faults as well as his success.

Richard Newton
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:01 PM
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"Father of the Corvette" is a misnomer. That was Harley Earl. Duntov is more accurately described as the "Godfather of the Corvette" or perhaps the wise uncle. He was the guy who transformed Earl's baby from a so-so performance boulevard cruiser into a serious sports car that could beat Europe's best in open competition.

His first influence on Corvette performance was relocating the rear spring shackles on the '56 model to reduce roll steer.

Back then a lot of automotive engineering was intuitive based on experience, and Duntov was a brilliant intuitive engineer. One of his more interesting accomplishments was introducing Porsche to the concept of chassis anti-roll bars to both reduce body roll and tune dynamic response.

Duntov's biography by Jerry Burton is definitely worth buying.

Duke

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Old 01-19-2017, 03:16 PM
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Zora discovered the anti-roll bar thing from Rolls Royce. He then adapted the concept to the Corvette.

Then he gave all of the engineering data to Porsche.

At the time he was Chief Engineer for the Corvette he was also a factory driver for Porsche.

Amazing.

Richard Newton
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:51 PM
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Duntov was not officially appointed Corvette Chief Engineer until the seventies. There was no such position in the fifties, but he had a special interest in the Corvette and was assigned several Corvette projects.

Certainly by the mid to late fifties he was essentially acting as chief engineer even though there was no such title until nearly 20 years later.

Chuck Jordan once told me that Duntov had far more power than indicated by his position as staff engineer and salary grade, but he was personally hired by Ed Cole while Cole was Chevrolet Chief Engineer, and he maintained direct contact with Cole.

I believe he had already educated Porsche on the benefits of anti-roll bars by the time of his last drive for them. This was not long after he was hired by GM. He requested several weeks off, but it was denied. He considered quitting, but didn't.

I recall that he did go to France that year, but apparently GM forgave him, but probably docked his pay. All this is discussed in Burton's book.

Duke
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:38 AM
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I'm always amazed at how different the world was back then. Can you imagine a GM engineer driving for Porsche today?

The other interesting item that has always fascinated me is that no Corvette head engineer has ever been promoted. It has alway been a career ending job. A friend at GM said that you never want to labeled as a "Corvette Guy".

Having grown up in the GM culture of the 1960's I can attest to you that it was a very interesting place. Jerry Burton and I have discussed the fact that Zora survived because the Corvette was truly insignificant to the total picture. He had a great deal of freedom because the Corvette wasn't all that important to the financial picture.

In 1959 Chevrolet sold 281,000+ 2-door sedans and 525,000+ 4-door sedans. They sold 9,670 Corvettes.

Richard Newton

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Old 01-21-2017, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rfn026 View Post
I'm always amazed at how different the world was back then. Can you imagine a GM engineer driving for Porsche today?

The other interesting item that has always fascinated me is that no Corvette head engineer has ever been promoted. It has alway been a career ending job. A friend at GM said that you never want to labeled as a "Corvette Guy".

Having grown up in the GM culture of the 1960's I can attest to you that it was a very interesting place. Jerry Burton and I have discussed the fact that Zora survived because the Corvette was truly insignificant to the total picture. He had a great deal of freedom because the Corvette wasn't all that important to the financial picture.

In 1959 Chevrolet sold 281,000+ 2-door sedans and 525,000+ 4-door sedans. They sold 9,670 Corvettes.

Richard Newton
Damn then I actually have a rare Chevrolet!

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