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How taking a chance saved the Corvette

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in Leaders & Managers

It’s difficult to imagine today, but when General Motors put its new Corvette on national tour in 1953, the car fell flat in the marketplace.

But a young, Russian-born engineer named Zora Arkus-Duntov fell in love with the car ... so in love that he wrote to GM headquarters and asked to join the project.

Maurice Olley, GM’s head of R&D, took a shot and hired him.

Arkus-Duntov gave the ’vette its first V-8 engine and entered one in the 12-hour race at Sebring in 1957. Demand soared, and the Corvette roared into automotive history.

But it all started with a single “can do” letter from a young immigrant who had the vision to take a long shot and follow his dream

.— Adapted from “Genesis: the 2005 Chevrolet Corvette Arrives With a Rich Heritage,” David Kimble, Road & Track.

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