Three Corvettes emerged from Kentucky sinkhole

Article by Eugene Conan, on March 12, 2014

Three of the eight Corvettes that fell last month on a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., have been lifted out by a crane from the chasm. The models were the 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil -- on loan from General Motors -- a 1962 Corvette and the 1993 Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition.

The Blue Devil seemed to have only suffered minor damage during its nearly 30-foot fall and was driven about 20 feet to the museum's doorway, according to museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli.

Video of the retrieval operations showed that the Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition has broken windows and severe damage to its front and rear. A black 1962 model was also extracted, although the operation was much "trickier" since a five-ton slab of concrete rested on the front of the vehicle, the museum said, adding that two cranes were employed to simultaneously lift the car and the concrete.

Other Corvettes to be retrieved are a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, the other car on loan from GM; a 1984 PPG pace car; the 1-millionth Vette, built in 1992; a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06; and the 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette. Frassinelli said that recovery operations are expected to be completed by August 3, 2014. The National Corvette Museum plans to display each model after it is recovered until all eight are taken together to a small shop within GM Design for restoration.

Press Release

Three of Eight Corvettes Removed from Museum Sinkhole

Three of eight historic Corvettes that fell into a sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum last month are back on solid ground following delicate removal techniques on Monday and Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole nose first. The engineering team removed a four-post vehicle lift that had fallen on top of the Corvette, and installed anchors to stabilize the concrete slab against which the Corvette was pinned.

Despite landing tail-down in the debris, the 1962 Corvette sustained minimal damage. The rear end has only a minor crack in the fascia; the bumpers, taillamps, and license plate appear unscathed. The worst damage is an eight-inch split in the right front fender, and golf-ball-size hole where the front fascia was resting against the concrete.

On Monday, engineers successfully extracted the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 "Blue Devil" and a 1993 40th anniversary model Corvette.

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 40th Anniversary Corvette had significant cosmetic damage to the hood, fenders and window glass. However, there appeared to be limited mechanical damage.

The recovered cars will be shipped to a small specialty shop within General Motors Design in Warren, Mich., where the best restoration approach will be determined.

For more information on the National Corvette Museum sinkhole, visit http://corvettemuseum.org.

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