Two Historic Corvettes Pulled from 30-foot Deep Sinkhole +VIDEO
BOWLING GREEN, KY - March 4, 2014: The recovery of eight historic Corvettes that fell into a sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum last month began Monday with the successful extraction of the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 "Blue Devil." The car was able to be driven 20 feet to the doorway of the museum’s Skydome.
Based on initial inspection, the ZR-1 sustained minimal damage, despite falling nearly 30 feet when the hole opened beneath an exhibit area on Feb. 12. The ZR-1 emerged from the depths of the sinkhole, where workers test-lifted the car on Saturday, at about 11:35 a.m. EST Monday.
"The 'Blue Devil' is in remarkable shape," said John Spencer, manufacturing integration manager for Corvette. "Cosmetically, the carbon fiber running boards are shattered, there's some minor paint damage, and a small crack in the windshield. Mechanically, the worst damage is a split in the oil-supply line for the 6.2L LS9 V-8. If you fixed that, you could drive the ZR-1 back to Detroit."
Watch the video of the rescue
Later in the day, a 1993 40th anniversary model Corvette was recovered. It had significant cosmetic damage to the hood, fenders and window glass. However, there appeared to be limited mechanical damage.
"The 40th Anniversary looks much worse than it really is," said Spencer. "Practically every body panel and piece of glass will need to be replaced. However, underneath the frame looks straight, the suspension seems to be intact, and the steering gear still works. It is definitely salvageable."
The team plans to recover the 1962 this week, and the remaining cars in the next 60 days.
"The recovery of the ZR-1 went incredibly well," said Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy & Daniel construction. "Obviously, there's a lot of work still to do. But, watching the ZR-1drive out of the museum was a great start to the recovery effort."
The recovered cars will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within General Motors Design in Warren, Mich., where the best restoration approach will be determined. Mechanical Assembly has been part of GM Design since the 1930s, and today maintains and restores many of the vehicles in the GM Heritage Collection and GM’s historic concept cars.
For more information on the National Corvette Museum sinkhole, visit Corvette Museum.