Alex Mair, a former executive at General Motors Co., passed away Sunday, May 27, in Orange City, Fla. at the ripe age of 91. After being awarded a sponsorship from Chevrolet, Mair had enrolled at the General Motors Institute in October 1939. After graduating in 1943, Mair became a detailer for Chevrolet, where he continued to serve in different various executive and engineering positions.
He was then appointed as the general manager for GMC in 1972 and for Pontiac in 1975. In November 1978, Mair became the group executive of GM's technical staffs, and he held onto that position until his retirement in 1986.
In an interview with Automotive News in 2011, Mair recalled a race between himself and former Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes, beating the latter twice. Mair recalled that Estes asked his engineers to drag race two experimental Chevy Chevelles with him. Mair, who was then Chevrolet's truck chief, accepted the challenge. According to Mair, he beat Estes twice; on the first race, and on the rematch using switched cars.
He said the race was his stepping stone to becoming Chevrolet’s chief engineer of passenger cars in 1965. It is during his watch that the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was designed. Mair became the director of engineering at Chevrolet in 1966. During that time, his son Steve received his driver's license, allowing him to test drive company cars with his father. According to Steve, his father often comes home telling his family that he couldn't believe he was getting paid for "all the fun he was having" at work.