When a sinkhole opened up below the National Corvette Museum, it swallowed up eight historic ‘Vettes, and the cars, all damaged, became a museum attraction in their own right. The bad news is that five of them were too smashed up to restore. The good news is that three have been selected to restore.
Chevrolet will handle restoration of the 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype, known as the Blue Devil, and the millionth Corvette produced, a white 1992 convertible. Beyond that, Chevrolet will pay for an outside shop yet to be selected to fix up a 1962 Corvette damaged in the collapse. The museum will oversee that project.
The five other Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole will stay in their as-recovered state “to preserve the historical significance of the cars.”
“Our goal was to help the National Corvette Museum recover from a terrible natural disaster by restoring all eight cars,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development. “However, as the cars were recovered, it became clear that restoration would be impractical because so little was left to repair. And, frankly, there is some historical value in leaving those cars to be viewed as they are.”
The cars damaged by the sinkhole include:
- 1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan from GM)
- 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan GM)
- 1962 Corvette
- 1984 PPG Pace Car
- 1992 1-millionth Corvette
- 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
- 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06
- 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette
The sinkhole, measuring on 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep, developed in the early morning of February 12 but it wasn’t until March 3 that the first car, the 2009 Blue Devil prototype, was recovered. Though significantly damaged, it was able to be driven from the Skydome. The last two cars removed from the pit were the 1.5-millionth Corvette and Mallet Corvette. Workers were unable to find the cars at first, they were so covered by debris, and so they were not removed until April 3 and April 9, respectively.
Ironically, museum visits increased by nearly 60 percent jump during the first four months after the sinkhole appeared, visitors coming to see the sinkhole and the Corvettes, which were put on a special display. A permanent display at the National Corvette Museum will chronicle the sinkhole disaster and display what’s left of the unrestored cars.
Meanwhile, car museums everywhere are investigating what’s going on under their floors…