Dave Hill <a class=Corvette" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/3060000000051242.JPG?0.057041435079420166" align="right" border="1" height="167" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="233" />

While Erin was correct in stating that Dave Hill was the father of the Z06, I think it's safe to say that he was so much more. After all, the Vette might not have survived the 90s had it not been for Hill's leadership through the difficult birth of the fifth-generation model, as so thoroughly explained in the book "All Corvettes Are Red" (an absolute must-read for anyone who follows the auto industry).

Nearly as important as what Hill did inside the halls of GM is what he did at the track. Launching the first serious Corvette racing effort in three decades, Hill then applied that knowledge to the stunning 2002 Z06. Amazingly enough, that car saw several incremental improvements after only a single model year, leading to the '03 model which was capable of hanging with some of the world's best sports cars. All of that knowledge then went into making the base-model C6 such an amazing performance value. Quite frankly, evolution at this pace hadn't occurred for the Corvette since the days when the Rolling Stones looked young.

I had the opportunity to briefly meet Dave Hill in person after a SAE-sponsored presentation he gave at MTU in the late 90s, and the man possesses enthusiasm and passion for the Corvette that?s just as great as his customers. It?s the sort of attitude that car guys wish was present at all levels of an auto manufacturer.

In my opinion, his accomplishments with the last two generations of Corvette - especially on the racetrack - put Hill in the same league as the great Zora Arkus-Duntov. A strong statement, but I think the results speak for themselves.

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