If you search the internet for “1955 Zora Le Mans,” you will find photos of Corvette Chief Engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, racing a… Porsche? Yep. Due to an agreement with Porsche, he was racing and winning in their car, even though he was an employee of Chevrolet at the time and working on Corvette. 1955 marked his second and last victory at that great race, as his attention fully turned to America’s Sports Car, bringing us to the subject of this installment of Artifact of the Month… Zora’s racing helmet.

In many of the photos you might have found in your earlier internet search, you will see Zora strapping on what we believe is this helmet. Zora would wear it during races, and later at testing sessions where he pushed the limits of his own forefront technology.

He retired in 1975 but would don this helmet again on June 5, 1992. This time he’d get behind the wheel of a bulldozer instead of a racecar, to ceremoniously break ground for the National Corvette Museum. Wearing his helmet, his racing jacket, and a wide smile, he drove the bulldozer shovel (with a Corvette cutout attached to the side), into the earth.

He loved the thought of there being a museum to celebrate the Corvette so much that he’d return for the grand opening on September 2, 1994. When Zora passed in 1996, he wanted his ashes to be at the Museum as well, with the cars and the people he loved.

Before his passing, though, he decided that this beat-up yellow helmet that he had made so much history wearing belonged in the collection of the National Corvette Museum. He donated the helmet, his goggles, and his racing jacket to the Museum so that one day we could share them with you.

As we approach the 70th Anniversary of the Corvette this June, we’d like to present this artifact for your enjoyment. It symbolizes the love that Zora had for enthusiasts, for racing, for the Museum, and for the Chevrolet Corvette.