About Dave McLellan

For more than half of his thirty-three years of service to General Motors, Dave McLellan was the Chief Engineer of the Corvette and received the Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation.

This award was given in recognition for “work and achievements (that) exemplify in an outstanding manner innovation in the engineering development of automobiles, their components, systems and accessories”.

Dave was also named an SAE Fellow in 2007, an exceptional professional distinction bestowed on around 20 recipients each year at the SAE World Congress and Exposition.

Quoting from the Corvette Museum web site: “When Zora Arkus-Duntov retired as Corvette chief engineer in 1975, David R. McLellan was offered the job. He’d have been excused had he said “Thanks, but no thanks.” Zora’s elegant imprint was on every Corvette since 1955. Dave worked with the master. He knew Duntov would be a tough act to follow. He also knew GM’s enormous effort in the 70s to meet ever more stringent emissions, safety and fuel economy bogies could bring the Corvette to its knees“. He inherited a beast of a car – overweight, throttled by emissions hardware…”

Continuing to quote from the Corvette Museum’s narrative: “Almost 25 years later, the Corvette’s world-class stature speaks volumes about the vision and quiet leadership Dave brought to a perilous program in the mid-70s…

“…Dave’s low-key, laid-back style hid an intense bull-dog determination to find within the maze of regulation a path to greater glory for the Corvette. He outdid himself. The all-new 1984 car was state-of-the art in aerodynamics, emissions control, weight savings, electronics. Almost a decade after assuming the mantel, Dave had the Corvette headed back to the heights.” — the Corvette Museum.

Dave’s story is not about some cigar chomping Barney Oldfield putting the pedal to the metal without fear of consequences. Nor is it about some elite rich kid raised on impossibly expensive European sports cars and reared in an Ivy League social club.

This is the story of an engineer from a modest background who simultaneously had to master a maze of governmental legal regulations, work at the limits of the laws of physics and aerodynamics, lead the early adoption of electronics to replace mechanical systems, prove out his engineering work at racetracks, and persuade General Motors’ army of conservative attorneys that a world-beating Corvette was in the best interest of the Corporation.

The results speak for themselves. From 1985-1987, Dave’s then new C4 Corvette won 19 out of 19 SCCA endurance races until the SCCA refused to allow it to continue to compete because nothing else could compete with it. Porsche may have won the 24-Hour Race at Le Mans in 1985, 1986, and 1987, but it threw everything it had at Corvette during these three years and lost every Showroom Stock race.

In 1990, Dave McLellan unveiled his masterpiece, the Corvette ZR-1. Dubbed “King of the Hill” by the media, for its performance the ZR-1 proved itself the best sports car in the world by establishing seven endurance records under the supervision of an international sanctioning body.

Quoting from Wikipedia: “Although the ZR-1 was extremely quick (0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and onto 180+ mph), the huge performance of the LT5 engine was matched by its robustness. As evidence of this, a stock ZR-1 set a number of international and world records at a test track in Fort Stockton, Texas on March 1, 1990, verified by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), including seven new international records:

  • 100 miles (160 km) at 175.600 mph (282.601 km/h)
  • 500 miles (800 km) at 175.503 mph (282.445 km/h)
  • 1,000 miles (1,600 km) at 174.428 mph (280.715 km/h)
  • 5,000 km (3,100 mi) at 175.710 mph (282.778 km/h) (World Record)[citation needed]
  • 5,000 miles (8,000 km) at 173.791 mph (279.690 km/h) (World Record)
  • 12 Hours Endurance at 175.523 mph (282.477 km/h)
  • 24 Hours Endurance at 175.885 mph (283.059 km/h) for 4,221.256 miles (6,793.453 km) (World Record)

Today, this same thoughtful and informed approach to testing and analysis, the keen eye for the law, and quiet but compelling presentation of the facts make Dave McLellan one of the best forensic engineers and expert witnesses in America.

Dave offers any party in need of expert testimony a toolbox and proven skill set to discover and demonstrate the facts surrounding the failure of a mechanical system or the failure of the operator to show reasonable restraint.

And with his comprehensive report and test data, Dave brings his clear narrative and compelling logic and simple “likability” to help you win your case on the basis of fact and his abilities to help you, a judge and a jury to understand those facts.