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Happy Birthday Dave Hill!

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  • Happy Birthday Dave Hill!

    A tribute to Dave Hill! Happy Birthday. I hope to see and talk with you next at the C8’s reveal.

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    Dave Hill as almost all know, was the Chief C5 Engineer and the early C6’s, including my beloved C6 Z06. Loved its 3,132 weight, for Dave was a Corvette weight reducing fanatic.

    I had a wonderful first meeting with Dave, one which gives good insight into his character and his never ending drive for improving our Corvettes.

    Originally posted by NCM
    DAVID HILL – GM/CHEVROLET – 2006 CORVETTE HALL OF FAME GM ~ Chevrolet Category
    2006 Induction


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    David Hill has often been seen at the annual Corvette Hall of Fame banquet, program in hand, requesting autographs of the inductees.

    Hill’s contributions to the Corvette are so well recognized that his Hall of Fame nomination was almost simultaneous with his retirement announcement. Corvette’s third chief engineer, Hill took over development of the C5 from Dave McLellan and saw it through to completion during some of GM’s darkest days when the very survival of the car was in doubt.

    “The C5 upgraded all the things Corvettes were good at and fixed all the things they were lousy at,” says Hill, and the automotive world agreed. That success was followed by the resurrection of a legendary RPO, the Z06 Corvette, and then Hill’s crowning achievements, the C6 and C6 Z06, a direct result of Hill’s collaborative approach with Corvette Racing.

    Hill’s work ethic and insistence on perfection made his team and his car a world beater; his keen understanding of the need for profitability raised the Corvette to a level of success and status within GM that it has never known before. Maybe posterity will agree with Joe Spielman’s assessment that, “Corvette is here today because of Dave Hill.”
    Above article thanks to the National Corvette Museum. He is a video about why Dave deservedly in in the NCM Hall of Fame!



    A personal story about Dave Hill’s view on how to improve Corvettes. It was new 1998, and we had just gotten our first Corvette (family and kids always came first for me), and after waiting over 35 years from my first sighting/first ride in a 1963 split window, my wonderful gearhead wife said to me the night we wrote the last college tuition/room & board check for our youngest child, “You have waited long enough, go buy your long overdue Corvette.”

    Soon after we were driving it to Corvette Mecca, e.g., Bowling Green’s National Corvette Museum. We entered it Show-n-Shine among literally thousands of other Corvettes, and were later shocked to learn our car was one of the twenty picked for the “Circle of Honor” tomorrow-morning display-of the winners at the Circle. Shocked!!!

    The next morning, we were finishing detailing a few minutes before the official stuff started, and a person we instantly recognized as Dave Hill, came over to our car and the following conversation ensued.

    Dave: “Congratualtions. Beautiful car. I love your wheels. I see from your window plaque that this is your first Corvette. May I please ask you some questions?

    I am always looking for first time customers. Please tell me what you do not like about the car, what we need to do better.”

    John (totally shocked, for is he really asking me what I think???): “ Well, I love X, and I love Y; we drove here from Oregon, got over 30 MPG, and this is a great road car.

    Dave (after listening politely), gently stopped me and said, “I am not interested in what you like, instead much more as what we need to do better.” What are the three things I need to work on first? [He had a concentrating look on his face and I realized he was dead serious that he wanted to know what needed to be improved.]

    John: “The factory ‘wagon wheels’ look terrible, looking as if they belong on a pickup truck.”

    Dave: I immediately saw you have great look Fikse wheels. I love those, know that they are LeMans rated to 200 MPH. They are really nice looking. I too do not like the stock wheels; I lost the battle of the wheels to the ‘bean counters,’ but they have assured me if C5 sales continue at the current, for the 2020 model year I can have the wheels I and my customers want.” [And he absolutely succeeded two years later.]

    John: Second, the carpeting in the hatch area is cheap looking, and if we do not brush it correctly, you can see its light colored backing at the base of the fibers.”

    Dave: “I did not know that; please show me.” And as I did, he said, “that is not acceptable, and will be fixed next year — sooner if I can. John, thank you! What else needs fixing?”

    John: “The dash and the door cards are a ‘sea of non-attractive, black, flat-grain plastic’.”

    Dave: “I agree again, but no money yet to improve it, but at least give it my best, to improve it if I can as soon as possible.

    Thank you John for telling me the truth, for I don’t often get it; people sugar coat or skim over what they are really thinking. You as a not bashful first time Corvette owner , is exactly the honest feedback I need to hear. Thank you again.

    *****

    That was my introduction to Dave Hill, and we still have fun talking when we see each other at some major Corvette events, including ones after Dave retirement. Again, I hope to see Dave next at the C8’s reveal!







    Last edited by John; 01-15-2019, 02:04 PM.
    GS7 Elkhart Lake Blue, HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5ZZ high wing; 5VM vis CF ground effects pkg; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards.

    Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20+ year members of National Corvette Museum.

  • #2
    I was privileged to meet Dave Hill twice. He was extremely friendly and gladly answered all my and others questions. Happy Birthday Dave!

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    • #3
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      A thought if I might ...

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      • #4
        The c5 was a masterpiece ....Dave Hill s the man...happy birthday! And thanks as many of us loved our various c5s...

        that was a major turning point for corvettes to be able to be used as daily drivers...

        active hamdling, abs, competition mode, hydroformed steel frame rails that gave us not only an extremely rigid chassis for great handling, good ride but no huge frame rails to climb ober getting in and out of the corvette...

        that was a deal breaker for me and the c4...

        dave Hill direction made the c5 a vehicle capable of easily being used...

        not too mention the c5 z06 was literally my favorite sports car of forty years..

        sure we all modded our cars with cam, gears etc...and it was because the basic foundation was so stout...

        the only thing that kept ****ing me off as well as others was that clutch slave that kept the clutch from engaging...that was a constant open the clutch up and replace item...that was very labor intensive...

        that was the only downside to a great car...hey....nobodies perfect...

        happy birthday to one great lead engineer
        Torch Red exterior/ black interior z51 FE4 2LT or 1LT depending on when i get the call..Ill flip a coin at that moment..same for E60

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        • #5
          I like your shortened moniker.

          Comment

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