4.05.13 Wil Cooksey, Longest Running Corvette Plant Manager, talks with Corvette Historian Scott Teeters
Wil Cooksey inducted into the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame Thursday, August 29, 2013 – Find Out Why!!!
For our Friday Night Car Show it is with great pleasure to have former Corvette Assembly Plant Manager, Wil Cooksey as our guest. Cars and trucks are everywhere and we kind of treat them as if they form themselves and grow organically.
" Wil Cooksey has the record of being the longest running Corvette plant manager in Corvette history with 15 years on the job. During Cooksey’s tenure the Corvette community saw eight Special Edition and nine Indy 500 Pace Car Corvettes, plus the introduction of the Corvette Museum Delivery Experience option for buyers of new Corvettes." – Scott Teeters
Modern automobiles are now required to do things undreamed of back in the olden days of the 50s and 60s. Plus, they’re expected to be nearly perfect in terms of fit, finish, and function. “High performance” cars are expected to not only be “high performance,” they have to be perfect to an even higher standard.
No other mass-produced, high performance American car has a higher level of expectation than the Corvette. This is an automobile that started out as not much more than a Chevy sedan with a sexy fiberglass body and an anemic six-cylinder engine, and has evolved into THE flagship automobile of General Motors. The Corvette is now the longest continuously produced name brand car in Detroit’s automotive history.
What makes this even more amazing is that during the car’s 60 year history, the Corvette had many enemies that wanted to see the car canceled and a few times, the Corvette was almost indeed canceled. But Corvettes are about passion – SEX APPEAL. For young Wil Cooksey, working for General Motors was about some day building Corvettes.
Cooksey started his career in 1972 as an assistant professor in engineering at GMI, in Flint, Michigan. Three transfers and 21 years later, Wil was promoted to Plant Manager at the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette assembly plant, where he was responsible for the production of not only Corvettes, but Cadillac’s Corvette-based XLR 2-seater roadster.
Cooksey was there for the introduction of the ground breaking C5 Corvette, the Corvette Racing Team and the C6 Corvette. Wil was the longest running Corvette plant manager in Corvette history with 15 years on the job. During Cooksey’s tenure the Corvette community saw eight Special Edition and nine Indy 500 Pace Car Corvettes, plus the introduction of the Corvette Museum Delivery Experience option for buyers of new Corvettes.
We talk about Wil’s amazing career and why Corvettes are so special to people. Wil Cooksey has a unique insight into the mass production of modern high performance cars. Even for non-Corvette fans, this is real FUN!
Wil Cooksey inducted into the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame on Thursday, August 29, 2013. You can read more about Wil Cooksey’s career HERE.
For more insight into the manufacturing of Corvettes, check our my book review of Mike Mueler’s “Corvette Factories,” HERE.
HERE’S A GREAT YOUTUBE VIDEO OF WHAT GOES ON AT THE BOWLING GREEN CORVETTE PLANT:
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