‘Vettes-to-go’ local racer, engineer shares his passion

By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.— In the world of fast cars, Danny Kellermeyer says a Corvette person usually has a Corvette in their blood system.
“I was not at first,” said Kellermeyer, 77, a Brandon Township resident. “I dragged raced Monzas, Camaros and everything but a Corvette. Who could afford one?”
Then in 1985, Kellermeyer refocused his lifetime car passion to include Corvettes, a shift that over the next three decades lifted him to guru status.
“I had a chance to race Corvettes at Riverside, California,” he said. “My biggest attraction to Corvettes is the ability to jump behind the wheel and race. And it’s still that way today, you can take a production Corvette out on the track and it’s fast. It drew me in because it’s a performance car, something you could not do with a Camaro back then.”
Before his transformation to Corvettes, Kellermeyer recalls quenching his early need for speed growing up near the rural farming community of Hanover, just southwest of Jackson, Mich.
“Farming was a rough life,” said Kellermeyer, a 1964 graduate of Hanover-Horton High School. “We farmed about 500 acres with small equipment, but all the money I earned was for car stuff, long before I could even drive on the road.”
At age seven, Kellermeyer along with a neighbor cobbled together a go-kart and raced at nearby Hillsdale Kart Track. His early success produced several trophies that were stashed in the family barn in an effort not to alert his father of his multiple on-track winning.
“All was good until a neighboring farmer informed dad of my success at the go-kart track,” he said. “Dad was not pleased, but I still kept up my need to race.”
In 1968 after high school Kellermeyer enrolled at General Motors Institute and spent the next three decades as a GM Field Engineer coupled with plenty of racing.
“I went out to the dealerships and looked at product problems,” he said. “Then return to the source whether at the plant or the engineer and make the fix at the root of the problem.”
Kellermeyer retired from General Motors in 1999 at the age of 52, providing more time for his passion for Corvettes. Over the years he has built from frame up 58 race cars uniquely crafted with enterprising details that have become the pinnacle of engineering.
After logging more than 40 career championships, driving in more than 650 races with a team covering more than 118,000 competition miles, earned Kellermeyer the inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2020.
“Over the years every car I built included multiple improvements,” he said. “It’s easy to keep a car design that’s winning every race with the same engine package combination. However, once you get in stagnation mode everyone is all of a sudden catching you, it’s a difficult habit to break. The truth is if you’re not progressing competitors will pass you. That’s the key, keep improving.”
Kellermeyer’s talents were recently on display at Detroit’s Autorama when he showed his 2012-C5 yellow Corvette, his 58th creation. The Corvette with a host of precise modifications remains confidential.
“This Corvette so far, has been a dream car,” he said. “When you build a new race car and take it out on the track for a test drive you see how many pieces are going to fall off. The Corvette looks production and some of the parts are production, but the modifications are many, from a 14 ounce dashboard, to shifting the 22 gallon gas tank to the trunk to interior safety features.”
“Everyone is always trying to one-up the next guy when it comes to producing race cars,” he said. “What we lack today is hands-on knowledge. It’s easy to sit behind the computer and design something, but you need to get and keep your hands dirty.”

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