BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Chevrolet and the National Corvette Museum will restore three of the Corvettes damaged earlier this year when they tumbled into a sinkhole that developed beneath the floor of the Museum.
Chevrolet will restore the 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype, known as the Blue Devil, and the 1-millionth Corvette produced – a white 1992 convertible. In addition, Chevrolet will fund the restoration of the 1962 Corvette, which the National Corvette Museum will oversee. A restoration shop has not yet been determined.
In total, General Motors will provide nearly $250,000 in support to help the Museum recover from the sinkhole. The National Corvette Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend.
The five other Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve the historical significance of the cars. They will become part of a future display at the museum.
“Our goal was to help the National Corvette Museum recover from a terrible natural disaster by restoring all eight cars,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development. “However, as the cars were recovered, it became clear that restoration would be impractical because so little was left to repair. And, frankly, there is some historical value in leaving those cars to be viewed as they are.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Corvette enthusiasts from around the globe.
“There has been an outpouring of messages from enthusiasts the world over, asking us not to restore all of the cars,” said Wendell Strode, executive director for the National Corvette Museum. “For Corvette enthusiasts, the damage to the cars is part of their history, and part narrative of the National Corvette Museum. Restoring them all would negate the significance of what happened.”
Timelines for the start and projected completion dates for the three Corvettes’ restorations have not been established. They will be announced later.
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m., National Corvette Museum (NCM) personnel received a notification from their security company about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the museum. When those personnel arrived on site, a sinkhole was discovered, measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep.
Security camera footage showing the Skydome floor’s collapse has been viewed nearly 8.3 million times on YouTube.
The sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes – two on loan from GM and six owned by the museum:
1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan)
2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan)
1984 PPG Pace Car
1992 1-millionth Corvette
1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06
2009 1.5-millionth Corvette.
On March 3, the 2009 Blue Devil was the first car recovered and despite significant damage was started and driven out of the Skydome. The 1.5-millionth Corvette and Mallet Corvette were the last cars pulled from the sinkhole, on April 3 and April 9, respectively – after workers were initially unable to find them amid the collapsed earth.
All eight cars were placed in a special display, fueling a nearly 60-percent jump in museum visitor traffic in the first four months after the sinkhole appeared.
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