Dave McLellan was born in Munising, Michigan. He graduated at Wayne State University and began working for General Motors on July 1, 1959 and was assigned to the Milford Proving Grounds. He was the Chief Engineer for Corvette from 1975-1992.
Dave McLellan was the successor of Zora Arkus-Duntov as Corvette chief engineer. He became the chief engineer of Corvette in 1975. His responsibilities as the new chief engineer was not an easy one, big expectations lies on his shoulder because of what Zora Arkus-Duntov has done to Corvette. He faces a lot of problems in the late '70s and early '80s, through his great effort and determination, he succeed and was able to put Corvette back to its heights.
He made Zora's book his guide in helping Corvette road racers fashion winning programs. He directed a Corvette endurance racing juggemaut with lieutenants like Doug Robinson, John Heinricy, Jim Minneker and Scott Allmon as front liners. It was so powerful that it was finally dismissed from SCCA competition. With racing legends like Dick Guldstrand, Kim Baker, Doug Rippie, Tommy Morrison and John Powell, Corvettes won the SCCA endurance races 19 out of 19 in the year '85, '86 and '87.
Dave and Frank Ellis of Chevy worked together with Powell, they launch the million-dollar Corvette Challenge series in '88. The ZR-1 is considered to be McLellan's most prized baby. The ZR-1, Corvette's first overhead cam engine was introduced to the world automotive press at the 1989 Geneva Auto Show. Corvette was once again acknowledge as King of the Hill through the effort of Dave McLellan.
After almost 25 years, he proved himself to be worthy of being the chief engineer of Corvette, by the changes that he has done to it and the kind of leadership that he had shown. He is surely an innovator, a genius and a Corvette legend.