Biography Dennis Davis

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Membership Number: 8916

Denny Davis passed away March 12th, 2020 at age 89. Denny is the one Chevy sent to make a post-banquet talk on 30 Years Of Small Block Development at the 1985 NCRS Convention in Boston. It was outstanding and he received an enthusiastic standing ovation that lasted quite a while.

If was through Denny that everyone at Boston, learned that the two most famous factory small block cams were not developed for the small block. The “Duntov” cam was actually designed for, but never used in, the Ardun overhead valve conversion kit for Ford flathead V-8s. Duntov had the Ardun blueprint redrawn on Chevy format and it was used in all dual quad and FI engines from late 1956 through 1963. The famous 30-30 cam, used in 64-65 365 and 375 HP engines, was something Denny developed for the California drag race guys for the 409 engine. It worked well so they put the same cam design on a small block stick and it went into production in 64 and 65 replacing the 097 Duntov cam.

Denny was one of three guys on Zora’s High Performance Team. They did the development of all of Chevy’s hi-po engines in the 60s. A photo like the one below appeared on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in the 60s in which they had a story about the various overhead cam engines this team had designed and tested. The HR photo only had Duntov in it. But the photographers took a suite of photos. As a surprise gift to me, Denny arranged for this photo to get personalized autographs of 3 of the 4 people in the photo and sent it to me. Denny did the camshaft and valve gear design for these engines. (As an indication of the times, note the cigarette in Zora’s fingers.)

Denny was quite a guy, and Corvettes had a special place in his heart.

Join Year: 1985

Deceased Date: 03-12-2020