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A car as significant as a redesigned Chevrolet Corvette is cause for a party for General Motors.
That was evident tonight. At the official unveiling of the seventh-generation Corvette, the hall was packed not only with reporters, but also with members of the past, present and perhaps future GM family.
The crew behind what's known informally as the C7 was on hand: engineers, designers and folks from the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant that builds the iconic sports car.
Many GM managers came with their spouses. Let's just say the usual new-car press conference doesn't have anywhere near the number of bare-backed little black cocktail dresses that were on display tonight.
Some came with their kids, from teenagers to toddlers.
Mark Reuss, GM's president for North America, implicitly made the youngsters welcome when he introduced the car.
"This car is the reason I work at General Motors," Reuss declared, recalling how, as a kid himself, Mark would beg his father, Lloyd Reuss, then a high-ranking and rising engineer at GM, to take him by the rooms where future Corvettes were being engineered.
Photo credit: JAMES B. TREECE
Fittingly, Lloyd Reuss was there, too. So were two other now-retired giants of GM's product development corps: Bob Lutz and Tom Stephens.
There were a few other retirees, but only a few.
At other companies, you might see a posse of former design chiefs and brand executives. And you used to at GM, too. Bob Stempel, for one, was a regular at the Detroit auto show.
Not at GM now. Not after Chapter 11.
You can reach James B. Treece at email@example.com.