David R. McLellan
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David R. McLellan
Second Corvette Chief Engineer
“Quiet Genius who refined the C3, Fathered the C4 and ZR-1, Conceptualized the C5” For his outstanding accomplishment and significant contributions to the CORVETTE.

Hear from Dave McLellan directly through podcasts and interviews on his new website at corvettechief.com.

Born in Munsing, Michigan, and a graduate of Wayne State University, and MIT, Dave started at General Motors in 1959, assigned to the Milford Proving Grounds. In 1975, he succeeded Zora Arkus-Duntov as only the second chief engineer in Corvette history.

As Chief Engineer, Dave began helping Corvette road racers fashion winning programs. To him, the race track was an extension of the proving grounds. With a team including Doug Robinson, John Heinricy, Jim Minneker and Scott Allman , Dave directed a Corvette endurance racing force so powerful that it was ultimately dismissed from SCCA competition for winning too many races! In the hands of racing legends like Kim Baker, Tommy Morrison, Dick Guldstrand, Doug Rippie and John Powell, Corvettes won 19 of 19 SCCA endurance races from 1985 to 1987.

Dave and Chevorlet's Frank Ellis worked to launch the million-dollar Corvette Challenge series in 1988. It was a convenient venue for final development work on Dave's most prized baby-the ZR-1. The ZR-1 was introduced to the world automotive press at the 1989 Geneva Auto Show. Almost 15 years after McLellan took over, the Corvette was universally acknowledged once again as King of the Hill.

On July 2, 1992, Dave stood by as the one-millionth Corvette was driven off the assembly line in Bowling Green.

Dave with a team from the legendary Chevrolet Research and Development, under the leadership of Doug Robinson concepeted the next generation Corvette (the C5). This car, brought to production after Dave"s retirement, solved the conundrum of achieving a light weight yet stiff Corvette convertible without compromising the driver passenger space. The C5 is the new paradigm in sports car convertible design.

Known as an advocate for pushing the envelope, Dave McLellan wanted to make the Corvette the best possible statement for American technology. And he did!


Corvette: The First 50 Years

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Authors Jerry Burton and Dave McLellan were interviewed and featured on the Speed Channel's documentary on the fifty year history of the Corvette.