Preserving the Legacy

It's not every day you're invited by a Corvette legend (I'd known Zora since childhood), to come sit with him at a car show in the summer of 1995; then he hands you a pen and says, "Richard, start signing your autograph." From that moment, the two photos directly below along with the following newspaper article, chronicle the event. Since this time, I've been on a mission from Zora and Harley. 

A Detroit reporter captured (see red arrows in 2nd pg of 1997 newspaper article below), Zora paying it forward and helping Richard get his project rolling.

"The first time I met Zora Duntov was on a hot summer day in 1966. He was sitting on the back of his boat soaking up rays and I was with my family at the Old Club on Harsens Island. It's a 90 minute drive northeast of Detroit and on the other side of Lake Saint Claire and included a car carrying ferry ride to the island at the end of the trip. My two sisters and I were walking around with our grandfather while he was looking at boats in the marina when he spotted a familar face and that's when we all went onboard and granddad introduced us kids to Zora and Elfi," says Richard.

Everyone wants to talk about Corvette's winning heritage, but few are as qualified as Richard Earl. Arriving at this place didn't happen easily, or overnight, and Richard is the first to admit, "After spending a good portion of my life learning about this iconic history, I'm now much more humble, grateful and appreciative of what an honor it is to carry this fantastic legacy forward." 

The newspaper articles, above and below, demonstrates how long Richard has been working on documenting early parts of Corvette history. 

1951 Watkins Glen, NY -- The First Corvette Brainstorm 

After doing all the scholarly research on the most seminal moment in Corvette history, "the beginning" Richard pitched a story idea to a writer at the Watkins Glen, NY Star-Gazette newspaper since this is where Harley Earl first envisioned creating the Corvette! In a very simple way, the newspaper article below published this story-line to celebrate the 50th Anniv. of the Watkins Glen race that was taking place in 1998. Richard supplied the necessary facts, photos and content on Nick Fraboni's role (Richard befriended Nick and did first-hand interviews with him) as well as Harley's historically significant quote at the end of the article shown directly below, "Watkins Glen, that's where I got the idea for the Corvette."  The Star-Gazette's Charlie Coon did a fantastic job sewing this story together.

This article on Harley's Idea Born in Glen nails down the essentials on this great story behind the beginning of the Corvette.

Oddly, in the decades leading up to this 1998 article, nobody else had ever before discovered this significant vein in Corvette history, or, simply encapsulated all the facts together for people to easily understand where HJE got the idea.

Lots of savvy people today, who know a thing or two about auto history, often don't know that besides being a talented artist, Harley Earl was one of GM's top dog engineers over the entire arc of his career. As a matter of fact his first job title coming into Cadillac at GM in 1925 was as a, "consulting engineer" and later on in a 1954 article Harley penned for the Saturday Evening Post  titled, I DREAM AUTOMOBILES, he declared, "I attended Stanford University and studied engineering." 

Harley introduced the modern building technology, (shown above of the C7 in full-size clay model mode) to the entire global automotive economy today. He was the kind of leader who always shared his accomplishments with other players on his team. And back then, GM had legions of players working on what was often billed, "a huge American team effort." 

Full-size C 1 Clay Model

 

 

Click the link below to contact Richard Earl about visiting your auto club.