UPDATE: Three Corvettes pulled from sinkhole at Kentucky museum
Chevrolet will oversee restoration of the cars at a Michigan plant.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – 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.
“The recovery of the first three cars went flawlessly, and the cars are in remarkably good shape,” said John Spencer, manufacturing integration manager for Corvette. Spencer. “Unfortunately, the remaining five cars are either partially or totally covered in debris. We expect their recovery will be much more challenging, and the cars to be in much worse condition.”
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 the Corvette 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.
Workers in a cage were lowered into the hole to hook straps around the cars to remove them, a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil and a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette on Monday.
The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 “Blue Devil” was in good enough condition to drive 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.
“The ‘Blue Devil’ is in remarkable shape,” said Spencer. “Cosmetically, the carbon fibre 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. If you fixed that, you could drive the ZR-1 back to Detroit.”
The 40th Anniversary Corvette 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 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.
©The Canadian Press