17 Jul Museum Hosts Former Corvette Chief Engineer
As an early pioneer in composites manufacturing, Liteflex (owned by our museum founder, John Prikkel) is a heavyweight in lightweight engineering. So too, is a recent visitor to our facility – Dave McLellan.
For those who might not know Dave, he is a former automotive engineer for General Motors, having joined in 1959 after graduating from Wayne State University. But most notably, he was the chief engineer for the Chevrolet Corvette from 1975 until his retirement in late 1992. As just the Corvette’s second chief engineer, Dave remains indelibly linked with Corvette even today.
During his tenure at Corvette, Dave was responsible for all aspects of the Corvette’s production. He made countless contributions to the American icon, ensuring smart refinements and steady improvements each year and through multiple model generations.
Composite Springs Important to Reducing Weight
Dave was the person responsible for transitioning Corvette’s rear suspension from a transverse, steel leaf spring to a monoleaf composites spring. He took the political risk for the suspension redesign, and in 1981 replaced the 48-pound steel leaf spring with a seven-pound fiberglass spring. That decision paid off and in 1984, Corvette introduced both front and rear fiberglass composite leaf springs.
Since that time, Liteflex Composite Springs have been installed on every Corvette produced! So, it goes without saying that John Prikkel is a very big fan of Dave McLellan and the impact he created. It was his desire to utilize new materials and processes that drove the original Liteflex engineers to develop springs that are lighter, last longer, and increase performance.
Dave Welcomed At Museum
More recently, Dave McLellan visited the Dayton Auto & Memorabilia Museum in Dayton, Ohio and examined a prime example of his Corvette legacy. He and the executive team toured the Museum and then visited Liteflex’s manufacturing, assembly, testing, and shipping departments. They also examined all the various applications that Liteflex Composite Spring supports: automotive, class 8 steer axles, tractor trailer, military, golf cart, transportation, etc. It was a real honor hosting Dave and we hope to see him again soon!
There’s More To Know
Dave is also the author of, “Corvette from the Inside, the 50 Year Development History” which includes the 17 years during which he and his team made history. Be sure to check out the book for a detailed look into his years at the center of Corvette Engineering, his take on Corvette history and many of the details that have made the Corvette a perennial favorite with millions of Americans.
Click HERE to purchase the book, Corvette From The Inside, McLellan. Bentley Publishers, 2002.
Or for a special, personally autographed copy, click HERE.