Tadge Juechter, Godfather of the C7 and C8 Corvette, Is Retiring

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 prototype
Corvette Engineering Icon Tadge Juechter to RetireMarc Urbano - Car and Driver
  • Tadge Juechter, the Corvette's executive chief engineer since 2006, has announced his retirement.

  • Juechter's career with General Motors spanned 47 years, most of which were spent in the Corvette division.

  • He lead the development of the C7 and C8 generations, with the latter effectively making him the godfather of the mid-engined Corvette that debuted for 2020.

Since 1993, Tadge Juechter has been involved with one of the most iconic sports cars in the world: the Chevy Corvette. By 1999, he was named assistant chief engineer, and in 2006 he became the head honco—executive chief engineer of Corvette—a position he's held until he officially retires this summer. That's right. The godfather of the C7 and C8 Corvette today said he's waving the checkered flag, and it will come just as his masterpiece, the new twin-turbo ZR1, debuts to the world.

Tadge Juechter: A Corvette Engineering Icon

Here at Car and Driver, we've been writing about Corvettes since we were called Sports Car Illustrated back in the '50s, which is to say a long damn time. Naturally, we've pretty much covered every generation, so we've gotten to know Tadge very well, especially over the past couple of decades. Our own Don Sherman, who himself retired several years ago, even rode along with Tadge in six generations of Vettes back in 2014. During the drive, the Corvette boss revealed he was a longtime C/D reader since childhood, reading each issue cover-to-to-cover and even memorizing it. Aww, shucks, Tadge, we're a big fan of yours too.

Back in 2018, when the anticipation around the upcoming mid-engined Corvette was beyond palpable, we again had the chance to ride shotgun with the car's top engineer. We also spoke with Tadge numerous other times during the C8's development, as he was arguably the mid-engined Vette's biggest champion.

As the story goes, Tadge initially sold GM vice chairman Bob Lutz and chairman Rick Wagoner on the idea, but it was put on the back burner because of the Great Recession and GM's 2009 bankruptcy. That's when all Corvette development was paused, with the C7 eventually being built with the traditional front-engine layout. Still, Tadge continued to fight for a mid-engined car, with engineering beginning in 2006 and finally becoming reality for 2020.

tadge juechter on stage at c8 corvette debut
Tadge on stage during the debut of the C8 Corvette.Chevrolet

A 47-Year Career Ends on a High Note

Of course, the list of Tadge's accomplishments during his 47 years working for General Motors are too long to list. His career started at GM’s Assembly Division in Lordstown, Ohio, in 1977. He then held many roles across the company, before joining the Corvette team in '93. And the rest is history.

Regarding his retirement announcement, he said this in a press release: “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.”

GM says Tadge's replacement will be announced at a later date. For now, he's sticking around until sometime later this summer, likely when Chevy pulls the cover off his magnum opus—the new ZR1. The debut of the ultimate Corvette to date has been teased, with Chevy giving us an earful of its scintillating exhaust note, which will come from a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 with possibly more than 800 horsepower.

While we're sad to a legend like Tadge retire, we're very grateful for his decades-long contributions—not only to Corvette fans, but to all types of car enthusiasts. With the ZR1 reveal likely doubling as an unofficial send-off, there's no doubt he's going out on a high note.

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