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Mauri Rose: The unsung hero of the Corvette’s racing legacy

Zora Duntov has often been called the father of the Corvette, which is a point that some automobile historians would debate. Only after he saw the Corvette show car at the 1953 General Motors Motorama was Duntov convinced to seek employment at GM, where he was soon named chief engineer for the project. However, if Duntov is going to be assigned presumptive paternity for America's sports car, Mauri Rose deserves to be considered the Corvette’s godfather.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/01/13/mauri-rose-unsung-hero-of-corvette-racing-legacy

Mauri Rose certainly deserves tons of credit, both for his engineering, as well as for his driving and racing skill in addition to the development of hand controls for those with physical disabilities.

Your mention of Maurice Rosenberg in addition to Mauri Rose brings out my curiosity!
I believe they are one and the same individual. Back in those days it was not popular to have a name which sounded “Too Jewish”. Many actors, comedians, business people, etc shortened or changed their name to escape the bias and stigma of overt antisemitism. Think in terms of the catalogs from J C Whitney as a parallel company at the same address as J C Worchowsky In Chicago

Rose had a long and distinguished career, and well deserves recognition in the annals of Corvette history.

Mauri Rose was just a Indy hero to me, growing up listening to the Indy races on the radio in my dad’s auto body shop, and some times at home. Those early Corvettes were to us, just like the C8 is to the youth of today, every boys dream…! I had now idea that he was one of the designers of the Corvette, or he would have been a bigger hero to us…lol!

As someone who grew up in Indy, I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I had never heard of the Clark Gable movie, “To Please a Lady.” I’ll have to find it somewhere and watch it. Also, I had no idea that Mauri Rose had a role in the development of the Corvette.

Back in the late '50s, my Dad got two free tickets to the race, but he had no interest in it and didn’t want to go. Made Mom mad, as she knew how much I wanted to go. So she packed a lunch of egg salad sandwiches and a thermos of milk and took me there herself. I loved it.

In 2004, as a retirement gift, my wife bought me a ride in the 2-seater Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the experience of a lifetime. My driver was Sarah Fisher. In spite of pleading with the crew to let her hit 200 mph in the straightaway, they explained that the terms of their insurance policy limited their speed to no more than 75% of the fastest lap ever turned at Indy - so 180 mph. The car rode smooth as butter at that speed - no vibration whatsoever. In spite of my best efforts to imagine what the g-forces in the turns would be like, what I imagined wasn’t even close. It’s something you have to experience. The car seems to defy the laws of physics. As we approached the first turn (actually turn no. 3, since the pit lane enters the track on the backstretch), we seemed to be entering the turn at a suicidal speed. You see a wall coming at you at about 150 mph. But then you’re suddenly crushed to the right side of the cockpit and all you see is that right front tire and the wall flying past you. Just an incredible experience. I highly recommend it.

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Too many unsung heroes behind the now famous and revered cars that we love have been relegated to the shadows of history. If possible, it would be cool to have more articles like this that shed light on the “little people” that actually did the heavy lifting that brought automotive ideas to fruition. Great job!

@tthomas960 - Good point. Any recommendations or names come to mind?

How about Alfred Munro, who patented the automatic transmission? Or, who was first to economically produce tinted glass? Charles Kettering would make a good story. What a gifted individual!
Thanks for responding!

@tthomas960 - Good suggestions, we’ll look into a couple more similar stories.

There is footage of Mauri Rose driving at the Indy 500 in the 1950 film “To Please A Lady”, starring Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyk and Adolphe Menjou. Well worth seeing if you get an opportunity.

Contrary to the notion expressed in an earlier posting, Maurie Rose was not the same person as Maurice Rosentein. The latter was a highly regarded GM engine and transmission engineer.

“Also involved was Maurice Seiberling “Rosey” Rosenberger, an engineer with long experience who shared Cole’s urge to innovate. “When Ed was picking people to get things done,” said Rose, “he picked Rosenberger. He was responsible for the spirit of the job too. He was a doer, not a talker. Whatever we needed, he would help us get it.”

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Nice job Hagerty, very informative article.

What about the Vukovich family?

That was a great read. Thanks. I had just finished reading Leno’s C8 article before starting this one. I smiled because to my old eyes the picture of 1953 race car at the beginning looked way more beautiful than the C8. Yes, I have seen the C8 and sat in it. I think we all know that early Vette wasn’t really much of a sports/race car by comparison to the British and Italian cars of the same period but it sure looked good in that photo. Having owned a 1963 Sting Ray I enjoyed learning something new about the early development of the brand.