We are sad to report that the Corvette world lost one of its greatest champions and friends with the passing of Jim Perkins.
Jim was an instantly likable person, who could relate to anyone, no matter where they were on the social ladder. With a down-to-earth way of looking at things, he had an innate ability to cut through difficult problems to find solutions (even occasionally unorthodox ones), inspiring great respect and loyalty to those around him.
He started his career at GM, sorting through defective parts, sharing workspace with the janitor, but his drive, vision and leadership skills elevated him to one day become the General Manager of Chevrolet. From there he was able to save the Corvette from cancellation by marshaling resources and talent in ways that he freely confessed (with a grin) “could have gotten me fired or worse.”
Under his leadership, however, Corvette would go from the chopping block to being the 1998 Motor Trend Car of the Year, paving the way for all Corvette’s since.
A hot rodder at heart, Jim was also behind the idea of a decontented Corvette, without radio, heat, or other luxuries slowing it down. He referred to as the “Billy Bob” which would eventually become the track ready Corvette we know as the Z06.
He accomplished much more than we can list here, but today we remember Jim as a friend and supporter of the National Corvette Museum, and a most-deserving member of the Corvette Hall of Fame.