Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Corvette Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

The National Corvette Museum has announced the following inductees to be recognized as part of the 18th Annual Corvette Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2015: Herb Fishel in the category of Racing; Rick Hendrick in the category of Enthusiast; and Russ McLean in the category of GM/Chevrolet. These three individuals will be recognized with the highest honor bestowed by the Museum for their contributions to the past, present and future of Corvette.

The 2015 Corvette Hall of Fame recipients will be inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame during a ceremony and banquet on Friday, September 4, 2015. Their induction will take place as part of the Museum’s 21st Anniversary Celebration September 3-5, 2015.

Herb Fishel knows a lot about setting goals and accomplishing them. Growing up in the 1950’s, he listened to races on the radio and read hot rod magazines. That’s where he learned about a man named Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Father of Corvette. By 1964, he was an engineer working with Zora, at a time when racing was a covert operation at GM. Herb would lead the charge to change all of that, going from engine design, to working in the Buick Special Products Group, then as the Director of Chevrolet Racing, and finally as the Executive Director of GM Racing.

In addition to starting the factory Corvette Racing team that won the overall victory at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, cars powered by Chevrolet under Herb’s watch have won 20 NASCAR Manufacturers Championships (11 consecutive); 12 Indy 500s; and class wins in the Baja 1000, Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 races.

“I didn’t want to just coast through a career. I wanted to leave something substantial behind me that was significant and noteworthy. The Corvette’s success in racing was a key chapter in the story of Corvette. I had the vision and provided the leadership to make it happen, but I didn’t do it alone. It took a team of people to do that. To be inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame now for that contribution and to be placed in the same framework as people like Zora Arkus Duntov, who I’d looked up to as a kid, is humbling. I’m very grateful.”

Raised on a farm in the 1950’s, Rick Hendrick raced and wrenched on cars at an early age. His love for automobiles led him to open a small used car lot with another car dealer at the age of 23. Hard work and his devotion to the automotive world led to the purchase of a dealership of his own that became the precursor to the Hendrick Automotive Group which now consists of more than 120 franchises over 13 states, employing over 10,000 people.

In 1984, Hendrick Motorsports was founded and has grown into a facility that spreads out over 430,000 sq. ft., employing 600 people to support four full time Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With a NASCAR record of 14 national series owner’s championships and 15 overall, its roster of stock-car drivers includes Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Today he owns a large collection of Corvettes that includes many of the first and lasts in models and generations. His most recent addition being the VIN 1 Z06 Stingray Corvette that he paid $1 million for at auction in support of the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Having accomplished so much, Rick is grateful and humbled to be inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be selected for the Corvette Hall of Fame. My love for Corvettes goes back to when I was a teenager, and it was the love for the car that got me into racing and the automobile business. To be honored at a place where so many of the Corvette greats are honored -- it’s just humbling. I never dreamed that I’d be recognized in such a way.”

Russ McLean had a reputation at GM for turning around operations where quality and/or cost was an issue. So in the 1990s, when the Corvette program was in trouble, he was brought in to turn it around. While he was able to achieve his goal of decreasing cost and improving quality, a change in power at GM resulted in a radical change of instructions to Russ, who was told to “let the Corvette die.”

At this point Russ was confronted with a dilemma. While he was a company guy who built his career on his solid work ethic, he decided that he couldn’t let the Corvette fail.
Risking his job and reputation, he joined forces with other rebels within the company to continue working “in the shadows” to keep the Corvette program going and moving forward into the next generation.

“I was still doing my job, just not following instructions,” he says laughing.

Of course, the success of the 5th generation Corvette validated their activities and propelled Corvette to even greater heights since. Being inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame is just one more confirmation that he had done the right thing.

“This honor is really for the Corvette people working with me who did their jobs extremely well; who interphased and cooperated with each other; who were so dedicated and supportive of each other. My job was to let the Corvette die, but together we did all we could do to improve the C4 and keep the C5 viable. I’m very happy to be representing all of those people in the Corvette Hall of Fame.”

The National Corvette Museum established the Corvette Hall of Fame in 1998 to confer the highest honor and recognition upon the most influential individuals in the history of the Corvette. The award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to their respective fields, each having reached the highest level of accomplishment. Inductees must also reflect the highest standards of integrity and character to positively enhance the prestige of the Corvette and the National Corvette Museum.

Additional information on reserving a spot at the prestigious Corvette Hall of Fame banquet will be available in the coming months via our website at: or can be obtained by subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter “NCM eNews” at: Corporate tables are available for the dinner and can be reserved by contacting Karen Renfrow in the Events Department at 270-467-8804 or email

The National Corvette Museum is a member-driven, non-profit foundation dedicated to educating the public through the preservation of the Corvette’s past, present and future heritage. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, the Museum is located at Exit 28 off I-65 in Bowling Green, KY.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ivan and Mary Schrodt Donate Five Corvettes

With a mutual love for cool cars, Ivan and Mary Schrodt were meant to be together from the beginning. When they got married, Mary was driving a ’68 Camaro and Ivan had a sporty Datsun. For years they went on to enjoy several different sports cars, but not a Corvette. “We had just donated our Toyota MR2 to a charity benefiting troubled youth,” Ivan recalls, “so we were without a fun car and looking for something new. We were thinking that maybe a convertible would be good this time as it had been awhile since we had one of those.”

One day Ivan got a call from Mary while he was at the office. “She never called work unless there was a reason, but this time she talked about different things until finally I had a meeting to go to and had to ask, ‘Hun, what did you call for?’” That’s when she told him she’d made an offer on a 1996 Polo Green Convertible Corvette. “That was our first Corvette. Mary loved that car and it is one of the ones we donated to the Museum.” He breaks into a warm smile as memories come to mind. “It’s a lovely car.”

Mary’s decision to get a Corvette would change the trajectory of their lives and bring them together with new friends, new experiences, and the National Corvette Museum.

“We almost immediately joined Valley Vettes Corvette Club out of Appleton, Wisconsin—a great group of folks that we are still a part of today. Shortly after that we attended a C5 Bash and became members of the National Corvette Museum.” The Schrodts would stop by whenever they passed through Bowling Green. As they got to know everyone, they began to appreciate the staff and their commitment to the Corvette hobby enough to want to do more. They became Lifetime Members, and Duntov Society Members as well, making the Museum a part of their estate planning.

“In my early involvement, I was invited to join the Board. When I came on we didn’t have the expansion, or even the land for the track. It was a wonderful time to be involved with transforming the Museum into something more. Before it was a Museum with a lot of nice cars to look at, but it became a place to come and interact with the Corvette Museum Family and other enthusiasts. With the CafĂ©, meeting rooms, conference center, exhibit hall, and the bigger store, it makes being here a much bigger experience. Being able to participate in that transformation of the Museum felt so good.”

On December 18th, 2014, they did something else to help grow the Museum. Along with the 1996 Corvette that started it all, they also donated four other Corvettes including a 1966 Rally Red 327 Convertible. “When people find out that you have more than one Corvette, they often wonder why that is. My answer is that they are all so different. They handle differently, they look different, their history is different and the way they evolved makes them all special. For example, a lot of people agree that the midyear is the best looking Corvette ever, and for me it is one of the best looking cars ever made. That is probably the reason we got the ‘66. We took that car out in a lot of parades and made many Sunday trips in it to Culvers for ice cream.”

The next donation they made to the Museum collection was a 1980 Dark Blue Metallic Coupe. “By the time we got this car we already had some other Corvettes and thought it would be fun to have a classic C3 to enjoy. I remember one time we drove through a Chevy dealership lot, and passed a family looking for a new car to buy. The daughter saw us and pulled on her dad’s arm saying, ‘Daddy, daddy, look at that one! Look at that one!’ I think we ruined the new car shopping experience for him as there weren’t any 1980 Corvettes sitting there for sale in the lot.” Ivan chuckles. “Fun car.”

The 2002 Millennium Yellow Z06 Coupe they also donated was a Museum Delivery car. “When we got that one we decided then to put our cars in a trust for the Museum. It’s an incredible car. It’s one of the best touring cars I’ve ever had in my life. It is big enough to pack up for a long trip, and handles superbly on a track. I modified it to make it a dedicated track car with new seats and a five point racing harness. That one and the 2007 black Z06 both love going on a track at speed.”

When they came to the 2014 Labor Day Celebration and got on the NCM Motorsports Park track for the first time, they decided to change their donation plans. “I got to thinking that instead of waiting years before making the donation, we’ve got two cars that could be put to good use now by the National Corvette Museum on this track.  The cars would be where they belong. While a lot of people donate their cars to be preserved, and rightfully so for their history, those two cars were donated to be used up.” He says with a mischievous grin. “We hope they get a lot of track miles and give a lot of track smiles.”

Thank you, Ivan and Mary, for all you have done for the Museum and the Corvette community. We are all so glad that Mary bought that first Corvette, and that it brought both of you into our lives.
If you would like more information on how you can donate your car to the NCM, or if you’d like to learn more about estate planning options, please visit our website at, or contact Connie Russell,at or by phone at 270-467-8815 / or you can contact Gary Cockriel at or by phone at 270-467-8824.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dyer Family Foundation Helps Make 1983 Corvette Display a Reality

National Corvette Museum creates new spotlight for the only 1983 Corvette in existence

The 1983 Exhibit, as it looked in the Skydome January 2014.
All thanks to the generosity of the Dyer Family, the National Corvette Museum is proud to finally have a proper exhibit for the only 1983 Corvette in existence.  In memory of Calvin and Frances Dyer, both Corvette enthusiasts, the Dyer family presented the National Corvette Museum with a grant to be used towards a new 1983 Corvette display.

The 1983 Corvette exhibit, previously located in the Skydome of the Museum, was originally mixed in with other Corvettes, simply blending in with its surroundings. Just prior to the sinkhole, the Corvette was placed on one of the pedestals in the Skydome.  Today, while renovations in the Skydome are in progress, the 1983 is featured in the Gateway of the Museum, earning the attention it deserves.

“A truss surrounds the car holding informational, graphic panels that help tell the story,” said Bob Hellmann, Facilities & Display Manager.  “Thanks to Final Finish, Adam’s Polishes and Heartland Media who sent representatives to finalize the truss display as well as cleaning and revitalizing the car, we now have an eye-catching showcase for this historical American sports car.”

A video with former Corvette Chief Engineer, Dave McLellan, provides museum goers with a brief history of the 1983 Corvette on display.

The 1983 in its temporary home, the Gateway area of the Museum.
The 1983 Corvette is unique due to the fact that out of the 43 Corvettes manufactured for the 1983 model year, only one survived.  With new technology and new designs in mind, big changes were to come from the 1983 Corvette.

In the video at the exhibit, McLellan explains that the fourth generation of Corvette conceptually began back in 1979/1980. “We were trying to figure out how to bring the car back to date in all aspects,” said McLellan. “There was new technology that hadn’t been used in Chevrolet or in any automotive yet.”

However, due to production issues, General Motors could not justify going through the government certification process so late in the production year. This resulted in the Corvette missing its own 30th anniversary.

Instead, the new C4 generation would be introduced in 1984 with the 43 cars assembled for the 1983 model year being used to sort out production details, engineering evaluations and car crash testing. Forty-two of the cars assembled were later destroyed, except for number 23, which retired to the National Corvette Museum.

The Dyer Family Foundation made the special display possible, helping the Museum properly highlight and share the history of this unique car. Calvin and Frances Dyer had a special place in their hearts for Corvette and personally owned four: a 1986, 1989, 1991 ZR1 and 1997. “We are so appreciative of the Dyer Family Foundation’s gift to help further the Museum’s mission of celebrating, preserving and educating visitors about Corvette,” said Museum Executive Director, Wendell Strode.

The Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm CT and is located off I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Learn more at or call 800-538-3883.

Friday, January 9, 2015

National Corvette Museum Reports Highest Attendance in History

Sinkhole, Anniversary & C7 Attributed to Increase

The National Corvette Museum (NCM), located just off I-65 in Bowling Green, KY, has reported achieving their highest attendance in history at 251,258 visitors for the year. Previously the Museum’s highest attendance was 200,900 in 1999 (the Museum’s 5th Anniversary).

While the Corvette-swallowing sinkhole became an international news media sensation, attracting the majority of the additional guests for the year, the Museum also celebrated its 20th Anniversary and grand opening of the new NCM Motorsports Park, boasting over 38,000 attendance for the festivities. In addition, the continued interest in the new seventh generation Corvette (with Plant tours re-opening in October, 2013) gave visitors yet another exciting reason to visit the Home of Corvette in 2014.

“The bar has certainly been raised for all of us as we now focus on 2015,” said Wendell Strode, Executive Director of the NCM. “Continuing our commitment to make sure each visitor has an experience that exceeds their expectations will ensure our 2015 will be a success."

The GM Corvette Assembly Plant also reported an increase in visitation for 2014, with a total of 55,785 guests touring the facility. The Plant began tracking visitation numbers in 2006, with 45,845 guests that year. Museum attendance was 150,462 in 2013, making 2014’s numbers a 100,000 or 67% increase.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Exclusive Corvette Engine Build Experience Returns

Program renewed for supercharged LT4 engine at new Bowling Green build center

Chevrolet announced today it is resuming the exclusive Engine Build Experience for Corvette Z06 customers – the only program of its kind for supercar customers.

Starting in March 2015, Corvette Z06 customers will be able to assemble the 650-hp supercharged LT4 engine for their cars at the new Performance Build Center inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

“Chevrolet recognizes the passion customers have for Corvette and the Engine Build Experience offers them a truly unique opportunity for hands-on involvement in the creation of the heart of their new car,” said Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager. “It’s a chance to bond with their new car.”  

The Engine Build Experience is selected with order code PBC and is offered on all Z06 trim levels. The $5,000 package includes a full day with a Performance Build Center engine assembly technician who instructs and oversees the build, a personalized engine plaque identifying the owner/builder and the date of the engine build, and professional photography of the experience.

After the order is submitted, personnel from the National Corvette Museum will handle concierge services for the customer, following up on the scheduled build date and handling logistics on the day of the build. The customer is responsible for travel costs to Bowling Green and lodging.

Upon completion, the engine moves to the vehicle assembly area of the plant, where it will be installed with the scheduled assembly of the customer’s Z06.

“It’s important for customers to understand their engine won’t be installed the day after they built it,” said Charles. “It will flow into the scheduling process for vehicle assembly, which depends on a number of logistical variables.”

Customers can catch their Corvette being assembled through a special tour organized by the National Corvette Museum. They can also opt for Museum Delivery (order code R8C), which personalizes the buying experience with delivery at the National Corvette Museum, located across the road from the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

The assembly line tour and Museum Delivery are available for Corvette Stingray and Z06 customers.

Friday, January 2, 2015

National Corvette Museum Celebrates National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day with Free Admission, Store and Cafe Discounts

January 9, 2015 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and in recognition of those who serve our communities the National Corvette Museum is offering free admission to active and retired law enforcement and their immediate accompanying families Friday, January 9 through Sunday, January 11. In addition, the Museum's Cafe and Corvette Store are offering a 10% discount on purchases through the weekend. To take advantage of this special promotion, simply show proof of service.

"Law enforcement officers play an important role in our community, and often it is a thankless job," said Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode. "These men and women serve as guardians of our way of life. We would love the opportunity to personally thank them for their service and show them that the staff and members of the National Corvette Museum support and appreciate them."

Law enforcement organizations may also request free admission passes for their staff, which will be valid for a longer period of time. "We realize that not everyone can visit this weekend, so we are also offering family admission passes, which can be mailed for use at a later date," added Strode.

To request family passes, law enforcement organizations may contact the Museum at 270-467-8846 or email, providing the name of the organization, business mailing address, contact person and number of officers to receive a pass.

The National Corvette Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky at 350 Corvette Drive, just off I-65 exit 28. The Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm CT. More information is available at