Zora Arkus-Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette
by Jerry Burton
National Post (Canada) - May 28, 2004
Corvette saviour led adventurous life
The Legend Behind Corvette
By Jerry Burton
432 pages, 190 photos
"One of the most fascinating automotive history or historical biography books to hit the shelves this past year is Zora Arkus-Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette. This book by Jerry Burton is a detailed look at one of the great characters of the automotive business who made a difference.
Most people will admit that the Duntov name goes hand in hand with the Corvette and its development, but how much we all know about the man has been limited up until now. Having been a friend of Duntov for many years, Burton gives the reader not only a detailed history of his life but explains why he did so many amazing things, throughout his life.
Burton"s book is filled with strange and unusual stories about Duntov that reads more like an adventure novel than a biography. Duntov was born in Brussels where his parents were attending university, then raised in Russia during the Revolution, then on to technical schools in Germany after the First World War.
At this point in his life he decides that the automotive business is going to be his profession. Unfortunately, getting there would take a while. In the meantime, he races cars, smuggles gold, marries a beautiful professional dancer, joins the French airforce and then manages to get his wife, brother, and parents out of war-torn Europe before he even arrives in America.
Once in the United States, Duntov becomes a very successful engineer and wartime manufacturer, making a name for himself solving vibration. problems in machinery. His dreams of getting involved with automobiles finally materialize when he is offered a job with Allard in England. He also gets back into racing, this time at LeMans.
Contrary to popular belief, Duntov was not the father of the Corvette. Burton tells us that, like so many other car enthusiasts, Duntov views the Corvette for the first time at the New York Auto Show. Seeing great potential, Duntov decides he wants to be a part of the development of this new American sports car. With a lot of work, Duntov finally gets a job as an engineer at General Motors and he goes on to save the Corvette from cancellation.
If you are a corvette fan or just a lover of automotive history, this is a book worth having. Slightly long-winded in places, the book is still good reading and a real wealth of Corvette information."