Remaining five buried classics expected to be removed over next 60 days
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.
On Monday, engineers successfully extracted the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 “Blue Devil” and a 1993 40thanniversary 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 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.
OUT OF SINKHOLE, ZR-1 ‘BLUE DEVIL’ DRIVES IN MUSEUM
First of eight historic Corvettes from 30-foot drop has only minor damage
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The recovery of the first 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 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 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.”
The team plans to recover the 1962 Corvette and the1993 40th Anniversary Corvette 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.”
When the cars are recovered, they will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within GM 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 www.nationalcorvettemuseum.org