Bowling Green, Kentucky has been the center of the Corvette universe since production moved there in 1981. Since then, our beloved sportscar has entrenched itself into the Kentucky countryside, both literally and figuratively.
Enthusiasts are welcomed by a community that has embraced this world-renowned entity, and today, passionate Corvetters are able to enjoy all aspects of their beloved marque. The National Corvette Museum has grown to house a vast offering of Corvette history and information and serves to celebrate all things Corvette, both old and new. The trifecta of having the assembly plant, the NCM Motorsports Park and the National Corvette Museum makes a visit to Bowling Green a memorable experience.
Every September, the NCM celebrates another year of serving the Corvette community. One of the highlights of the festivities is inducting individuals who have contributed to Corvette into the NCM Hall of Fame. This is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual in the Corvette community as it recognizes their significant role in promoting Corvette to the world.
This year, four individuals were welcomed into the hallowed halls of the NCM Hall of Fame and each one has had an indelible influence on the Corvette world.
If you were to name all of Corvette’s Chief Engineers who were also avid racers, you would wind up with a very short list of only two names, which would include the man deemed the father of the Corvette–Zora Duntov–and Tom Wallace.
Zora was the driving force that piloted Corvette’s rise to stardom in the performance realm during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. His ideas revolutionized the little two-seater and established it on a world stage. Tom Wallace’s passion for performance also elevated Corvette performance to an all-new level as the record-breaking and revered ZR1 nameplate re-emerged on the 638-horsepowered, supercharged supercar in 2009. Tom also encouraged fellow employees to participate in driving Corvettes whenever possible during driving events and other activities. This allowed all of the various divisions such as marketing, sales, engineering and design, to bond with the car and with each other.
Today’s ever-increasing performance continues to build on the foundations built by both Zora and Tom Wallace and it is fitting that now, both men are well-deserving members of the NCM Hall of Fame. Their competitive spirit still flows through the hallways of Chevrolet and their enthusiasm to make the car better still inspires others to do likewise.
At only 20 years of age, Mike was passionate about Corvettes. He bought his first Corvette in 1970 and quickly realized that there weren’t any local Corvette clubs for like-minded folks to share their enthusiasm. He quickly remedied that. Likewise, his Corvette enthusiasm flowed into collecting wearable items and collectibles with the Corvette nameplate.
He continued to share his fondness for Corvettes with others by selling Corvette merchandise at shows and events. With a $500 loan, Mike set out to make a living immersed in satiating the appetites of fellow Corvette enthusiasts. Today, Mike’s company Mid America Motorworks is a leading, world-wide supplier of Corvette parts and merchandise.
Mike promoted the Corvette community as much as he did his business, and as a result, both entities have grown to become a household name. Mike has been the impetus of various events, such as the “Drive Your Corvette To Work Day” and spearheaded getting the USPS to issue a commemorative stamp to celebrate Corvette’s 50th Anniversary. Additionally, Mike’s company holds an event to celebrate its customers each year called FunFest. Known as the “World’s Largest Corvette Party,” the event is set up as a “thank you” to the Corvette community for their support each year.
Corvette enthusiasts world-wide have profited from Mike’s efforts, and while many may not recognize how much they’ve benefited from Mike’s accomplishments, their cars more than likely wear components that come from the warehouses at Mid America Motorworks. Mike’s influence has been felt throughout the entire Corvette universe, from its center at the National Corvette Museum, to the other end of the spectrum in the individual enthusiast’s garage.
John and Burt Greenwood
As powerful as the famed L88 engines were, they would not have been nearly as successful had it not been for folks such as John and Burt Greenwood. Their father worked at GM’s Tech Center in Michigan and being around so much creativity and talent had a profound effect on both men. They quickly showed an affinity for engineering and design.
That enthusiasm quickly revealed itself as John began to show his prowess as a driver and Burt began using his keen eye for design to help him gain a competitive edge. This led the duo on to several championships in the early to mid ’70s. Greenwood Corvettes were fierce competitors on tracks around the globe and are still revered for their accomplishments in putting the Corvette nameplate out front.
Their enthusiasm for speed flowed over to street cars, and both C3 and C4 Corvettes were endowed with Greenwood go-fast goodies to give their owners the upper-hand. Today, some of their unmistakably-American cars are quite collectible and their footprint on the entire Corvette world is unquestioned.
We are grateful to each of these individuals for their contributions to the car that we all adore. Whether working inside GM, competing around the globe or supplying products that help enthusiasts enjoy their Corvettes more, each one of these gentlemen has earned the right to their place in the NCM Hall of Fame. All Corvette enthusiasts are better for your sacrifice and contributions and we congratulate you on your well-earned honor.