GM's top engineer behind Chevrolet's iconic Corvette set to retire after 47 years

The man behind Chevrolet's iconic machine, the Corvette, is retiring.

General Motors said Wednesday that Tadge Juechter, the Corvette executive chief engineer, will retire later this summer after a 47-year career at GM. His replacement will be announced later.

Juechter, 67, leaves what is arguably one of the most prestigious jobs in the auto industry. He started working with Corvette in 1993 and he has made industry-leading contributions to the last four generations of Corvette, General Motors said, including Corvette winning North American Car of the Year in 2020.

In fact, NASCAR team owner and car dealer Rick Hendrick, who is one of the largest Corvette collectors in the country, said Juechter is not only "brilliant," but has a passion for the Corvette and focused on the details of the car that made it great. Hendrick credits Juechter for what Hendrick calls the "biggest leap" in design and engineering of Corvettes when Juechter transitioned the sports car to a mid-engine design in 2019.

Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter stands with two Corvettes. Juechter will retire in the summer of 2024 after 47 years with General Motors.
Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter stands with two Corvettes. Juechter will retire in the summer of 2024 after 47 years with General Motors.

"I’ve known all the executive chief engineers and they all have tremendous talent,” Hendrick told the Detroit Free Press. “I am not going to say one is better than the other, but the leap from the C7 to the C8 (mid-engine) was huge, and he’s the one responsible for that.”

Hendrick paid $3 million for the mid-engine Corvette with VIN 0001 to add to his collection of about 140 Corvettes dating to owning the first VIN of a 1956 model. The Corvette was first brought to market in 1953.

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In a statement, Juechter said, “It’s been the honor of a lifetime to work at this company, leading the men and women who have brought to life one of the most iconic and recognizable vehicles in recent American history. Their tenacity and ability to push what is possible with every variant and generation of Corvette was inspiring to see. I know the future of the nameplate is in the right hands.”

Juechter began his career at GM in 1977 in the company’s Assembly Division in Lordstown, Ohio. From there, he held a variety of roles with the automaker before joining the Corvette team in 1993 as assistant chief engineer. Juechter worked on the fifth-generation Corvette, made between 1997 and 2004, and the sixth generation, made between 2005 to 2013 while working under Dave Hill, chief engineer for Corvette at the time.

After launching those two Corvettes, Juechter was appointed to what he described “the promotion of a lifetime,” as executive chief engineer for Corvette in 2006. In this role, he led the development of the seventh- and eighth-generation cars, the latter becoming the revolutionary mid-engine Corvette.

Juechter's most recent work will be unveiled this summer when GM debuts the ZR1, which is expected to be the fastest Corvette yet. In an article a week ago, Car and Driver wrote that the ZR1 is expected to have a 5.5-liter V-8 engine tuned to 800 horsepower.

"The Z06 managed a 2.6-second rip to 60 mph in our testing, and the similarly powerful Corvette E-Ray hybrid managed a 2.5-second time," Jack Fitzgerald wrote in the Car and Driver article. "When we get our hands on a ZR1, we expect to see it beat both of those models at our test track."

Last year, MotorTrend named the Z06 the Performance Car of the Year.

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This story has been updated after GM provided Juechter's accurate age.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Tadge Juechter, GM's top engineer behind Corvette, set to retire