Chevrolet shows the first restored ‘sinkhole’ Corvette, the Blue Devil ZR1

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 11, 2014

Earlier this year, we talked about the sinkhole developed beneath the National Corvette Museum. Eight classic Corvettes fell into a 40-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole and GM said that only three of the eight vehicles will be restored. The lucky models were a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 prototype (the Blue Devil), a 1962 Corvette and the one-millionth Corvette, a 1962 convertible.

The first model to be restored was the ZR1, nicknamed the Blue Devil, one of the two show cars used by Chevrolet to introduce the all-new Corvette ZR1 in January 2008.

The vehicle was actually loaned from Chevrolet to the National Corvette Museum and the damage included cracked carbon fiber ground effects, a broken passenger-side rocker panel, damaged passenger front fender, cracked windshield, window glass and passenger headlamp assembly.

Moreover, the damages also included bet rear control arms on the driver’s side as well as cracked oil lines to the supercharged LS9 engine’s dry-sump oiling system.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the Corvette Z06 have similar suspensions and aluminium intensive chassis materials. The only difference is that the ZR1’s tuned suspension was designed to enhance the Corvette’s wide tyres at the front and rear.

ZR1’s Magnetic Selective Ride Control unit is also specifically tuned for it to provide superior cornering grip and excellent ride quality. With this system, Chevrolet ZR1’s rear axle also stays firm during launch for smoother acceleration. The ZR1-tuned Magnetic Selective Ride Control also secures the movement of the axle especially on tight corners and bumpy roads.

On the other hand, the ZR1’s engine output is equally important to the braking system. Due to this, the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is equipped with heat and wear resistant carbon-ceramic brake rotors.

The ZR1’s vented and cross-drilled rotors are 394mm (for the front) and 380mm (for the rear). These sizes only prove that the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 has the largest carbon-ceramic rotors than any other vehicles produced. Basically, the rotor is made with carbon, ceramic and silicon products. These types of materials are usually free of corrosion and are enough to last for many years.

The highly advanced rotors are equipped with 4-piston rear calipers and 6-piston calipers for the front. Each brake caliper is painted in blue, a colour that is developed exclusively by Chevrolet for the ZR1 model.

Apparently, the front pads are significantly larger than the Z06’s 70-sq.cm single pad design. And finally, the brakes are visibly seen through the 20-spoke alloy wheels measuring 20-inch and 19-inch for the front and rear. These wheels are painted in Sterling Silver or chrome and are fitted with ZR1’s P335/25ZR20 and P285/30ZR19 Michelin Pilot 2 tyres.

Press Release

First ‘Sinkhole’ Corvette Restored

Chevrolet today unveiled the restored 2009 Corvette ZR1 that was damaged earlier this year when a sinkhole developed beneath the National Corvette Museum. It’s on display this week at the SEMA Show, before heading back to the museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

The ZR1, nicknamed the “Blue Devil,” is the first of the eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole to be restored. One of two show cars used to introduce the all-new Corvette ZR1 in January 2008, the car was on loan from Chevrolet to the National Corvette Museum when the sinkhole developed.

Museum personnel were alerted about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the facility on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 12. They arrived to find a sinkhole measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep – and it had swallowed eight Corvettes.

Three weeks later, the ZR1 was pulled out of the sinkhole. Despite falling nearly 30 feet, it started and drove out of the Skydome under its own power.

The ZR1 remained on display at the museum until September, when it was returned to Chevrolet for restoration. The damage included:

  • Cracked carbon-fiber ground effects and a broken passenger-side rocker panel
  • Damaged passenger front fender, as well as cracks in both doors
  • Cracked windshield, hood window glass and passenger headlamp assembly
  • Bent rear control arms on the driver’s side
  • Cracked oil lines to the supercharged LS9 engine’s dry-sump oiling system.
  • Six weeks after work began, the restored ZR1 was started for the first time at the General Motors Heritage Center.

Two other cars will be restored next year – the 1-millionth Corvette and a 1962 Corvette – while the other five will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve their historical significance. They will become part of a future display at the museum.

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