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Corvette Glossary Of Terms – R

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Corvette Glossary Of Terms




Rack and Pinion

A type of linear actuator that comprises a pair of gears which convert rotational motion into linear motion. The circular pinion engages teeth on a linear “gear” bar–the rack. Rotational motion applied to the pinion will cause the rack to move to the side, up to the limit of its travel. For example, in a rack railway, the rotation of a pinion mounted on a locomotive or a railcar engages a rack between the rails and pulls a train along a steep slope.

The rack and pinion arrangement is commonly found in the steering mechanism of cars or other wheeled, steered vehicles. This arrangement provides a lesser mechanical advantage than other mechanisms such as recirculating ball, but much less backlash and greater feedback, or steering “feel”. The use of a variable rack (still using a normal pinion) was invented by Arthur E Bishop, so as to improve vehicle response and steering “feel” especially at high speeds, and that has been fitted to many new vehicles, after he created a specialised version of a net-shape warm press forging process to manufacture the racks to their final form, thus eliminating any subsequent need to machine the gear teeth. Rack and Pinion content courtesy of Wikipedia).

Reuss, Lloyd E.

Born September 22, 1936. Lloyd E. Reuss became the eighteenth president of the General Motors Corporation on August 1, 1990. He was relieved of this post just two years later in April 1992 when the board of directors decided that a change in direction was necessary for the corporation. He was succeeded by Jack Smith.

Reuss received a BSME degree from the University of Missouri in 1957, and subsequently served for two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Reuss began his career at General Motors in August 1957 as an engineer-in-training on GM’s Engineering Staff.  He moved to the Chevrolet Motor Division as an experimental engineer in December 1959.  After holding numerous engineering assignments at Chevrolet, Reuss became chief engineer at Buick in October 1975, and three years later returned to Chevrolet as director of engineering, the post he held until being named general manager of Buick Motor Division in late 1980.  With that move, he was elected a vice president of GM.  During his tenure as general manager, he conceived of and promoted the idea of building a sporty, two-seater as an image car for Buick. This car would become known as the Buick Reatta, which Reuss himself designed while he was still with the Buick organization.

In January 1984, Reuss was named Executive-In-Charge of the Chevrolet-Pontiac-GM of Canada Group (C-P-C) of General Motors Corporation. When GM formed the Saturn Corporation in January 1985, that activity was added to the C-P-C Group. As head of C-P-C, Reuss was responsible for bringing the soft-top convertible back to the Corvette line-up for the 1986 model year.

From February 1986 until May 1987, Reuss was executive vice president in charge of GM’s North American passenger car groups. He became Executive Vice President of General Motors in charge of North American automotive operations on May 22, 1987. He was serving in this capacity when he was promoted to President of the corporation after Bob Stempel was elected chairman of the board. Content Courtesy of the GM Heritage Center. Corvsport Page References: C5 Corvette.


A two-seat open car with emphasis on sporty handling and without a fixed roof or side weather protection. Strictly speaking a roadster with wind-up windows is a convertible but as true roadsters are no longer made the distinction is now irrelevant. While roadsters usually have soft-tops, retractable hard-tops are becoming more common. Content Courtesy of Wikipedia. Corvsport Page References: 1998 Corvette.

Rocker Arms

Generally referred to within the internal combustion engine of automotive, marine, motorcycle and reciprocating aviation engines, the rocker arm is a reciprocating lever that conveys radial movement from the cam lobe into linear movement at the poppet valve to open it. One end is raised and lowered by the rotating lobes of the camshaft (either directly or via a tappet (lifter) and pushrod) while the other end acts on the valve stem.  When the camshaft lobe raises the outside of the arm, the inside presses down on the valve stem, opening the valve.  When the outside of the arm is permitted to return due to the camshafts rotation, the inside rises, allowing the valve spring to close the giver. Rocker Arms content courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rocker Arm Covers

Generally referred to within the internal combustion engine of the automobile and marine engines, they are covers that are bolted on over the rocker arms. They are called valve covers in the United States and Canada, and rocker boxes in the UK.  The rocker cover was invented to keep the oil in and the dirt out of an engine. This part is now found on virtually every existing internal combustion engine today.  A gasket (rocker cover gasket, or valve cover gasket in the US and Canada) helps seal the joint between the rocker cover and the rest of the engine. Failure of this gasket can cause oil to leak from the engine. Rocker Arms Covers content courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rocker Panels

The rocker panel is the lowest body panel on the side of the car located between the two wheelwells. In most cars, only the edge of the rocker panel is visible when the doors are closed since it supports the bottom of the door. The rocker panel can feature the manufacturer’s logo and is usually polished for aesthetic appeal.

Roller Rockers

A rocker assembly that uses bearings instead of metal sliding on metal.  A cam/rocker assembly uses a normal cam, but the roller-tip-rocker has a wheel on the end of it like that of a measuring wheel, which rolls by the use of needle roller bearings. Roller Rockers content courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rotors (Disc Brakes)

A brake disc (or rotor in American English) is usually made of cast iron, but may in some cases be made of composites such as reinforced carbon–carbon or ceramic matrix composites. Information courtesy of Wikipedia).

Rudd, Anthony Cyril (Tony)

18 March 1923 – 22 August 2003. Was an engineer involved in aero engine design and motor racing, with particular associations with BRM and Lotus.

Rudd became involved with motor racing in the 1930s when he became an informal assistant to Prince Chula and Prince Bira’s White Mouse Racing team. This inspired him to take up engineering as a career and family influence led him to take up an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce. Rudd’s engineering studies were interrupted by the Second World War during which he served in the Royal Air Force. He became an expert in diagnosing failures in Merlin engines, but his main interest remained cars. Rudd resumed his engineering apprenticeship after the War and built an Aston-Martin-based ‘special’.

The much-delayed BRM V16 engine was fitted with Rolls-Royce superchargers and Rudd was seconded to BRM in 1951 to assist with their development. He never returned to Rolls-Royce, becoming part of the BRM team for almost two decades. Rudd was involved in the development of the V16 and four-cylinder P25 cars and started to assume more prominence after the Rubery-Owen takeover of the team. Peter Berthon and Raymond Mays were eventually sidelined after the drivers threatened to strike and Rudd assumed full technical control of the team in 1960.

Rudd put in place proper engineering procedures within the team and his space frame and monocoque V8-engined designs took BRM to constructors’ and drivers’ World Championships, but his H-16 engine for the new three litre formula (based on two of the successful V8s on top of each other) proved to be heavy and overcomplicated and the team struggled to regain momentum in the late Sixties. Rudd claims that the H-16 would have been successful had the drawings been followed accurately – as it was the engine had heavier castings than planned and its power to weight ratio was unfavourable; it also had breathing difficulties and only started to improve when it fired as a sixteen cylinder engine rather than two eights. As a sideline to BRM’s main development, Rudd and Peter Wright also involved with the design of a ground effect car that never raced; driver John Surtees was adamant that it could not be made race worthy. Rudd and Wright were later to be reunited at Lotus on work that did lead to successful ground-effect racing cars.

During a poor 1969 season Rudd left for Lotus Cars, gradually working up to the position of Engineering Director on the road-car side of the company – he was not directly involved in racing, which Colin Chapman looked after. Rudd’s achievements included the development of Lotus’ own four-cylinder engine as well as improving production quality of their cars. Rudd also developed Lotus as an engineering consultancy working on high-technology projects for the rest of the automotive industry, creating another profit centre within the business.

Team Lotus were struggling in the mid 1970s and Rudd led the research effort that produced ground effect Lotus 78, which brought the team back to the forefront of Grand Prix success. Rudd though back to the road-car side of the company on to research active suspension, turbocharging, and lead consultancy work for other manufacturers. Rudd was involved with the engineering of the De Lorean DMC-12. After Chapman’s death in 1982 Rudd took on an increasingly significant role in the business but advanced engineering remained his forté.

After the conviction of Fred Bushell for financial irregularities related to De Lorean, the Chapman family (who retained ownership of Team Lotus) asked Rudd to step in to head the racing team. He returned to racing for a year in 1989 until the team was sold on, then retired to become a freelance consulting engineer.

In retirement, Rudd remained active in the Society of Automotive Engineers, wrote a widely-acclaimed autobiography It Was Fun: My Fifty Years of High Performance and collaborated with Doug Nye on a multi-volume history of BRM. Tony Rudd died in 2003 at the age of 80. He was married to Pamela and had three daughters. Tony Rudd biographical  courtesy of Wikipedia. Corvsport Page References: 1987 Corvette, 1989 Corvette, 1990 Corvette, 1991 Corvette.

Rybicki, Irvin W.

Born September 16, 1921. Rybicki was elected to succeed Bill Mitchell as vice president in charge of the Design Staff of General Motors on August 1, 1977. He was only the third person to hold that position and did so until his retirement in October, 1986.

Rybicki did not have the bold personality of Bill Mitchell or Harley Earl. Nor did he have the clout with GM’s management that either of those two men had. As such, Rybicki and his design team were subordinated to the directives of GM’s upper management throughout the 1980s. This as much as any other factor led to the styling that would characterize GM’s car and trucks of that decade. GM began to lean on consumer research for direction to its designs, not the imagination of its designers as it had in the past. Direction from above, the input of focus groups, and GM’s effort to create a corporate identity across its product lines led to GM’s so-called “look-alike” vehicles of the 80s. Even the styling of iconic cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac Eldorado got a lukewarm reception when they were updated in 1984 and 1986 respectively.

Always a quiet man, Irv Rybicki retired from GM without fanfare in 1986. His legacy is tied directly to GM’s struggle to adapt itself to the modern automobile industry. Without the support and confidence of his superiors, Rybicki’s ability to forge a new design direction for General Motors was stunted. As such, it would hardly be fair for him to shoulder the full blame for GM’s styling failures of this period. Irvin Rybicki biographical content courtesy of the GM Heritage Center.