WARREN, Mich. – Craftspeople and technicians at the General Motors Design Center are painstakingly restoring the historic 1 millionth Chevrolet Corvette damaged nearly 16 months ago when a sinkhole opened beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
The restoration crew is part of GM’s Mechanical Assembly group at the Design Center, which typically spends its time building prototype and concept vehicles. The white 1992 Corvette is a challenge because rather than build an all-new vehicle from the ground up, the workers are trying to preserve the original appearance of a production vehicle.
It is the second of three sinkhole-damaged Corvettes that Chevrolet has pledged to restore. The first, a 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype known as the Blue Devil, was only lightly damaged and was returned to its original condition last fall. The National Corvette Museum will oversee the restoration of the third car, a 1962 Corvette.
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 sinkhole-themed display at the museum.
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m., National Corvette Museum personnel were notified by their security company about the burglar alarm going off in the Skydome area of the museum. Upon arrival at the museum, a sinkhole measuring about 45-by-60 feet wide and 30-foot deep was discovered.
Security camera footage showing the Skydome floor’s collapse has been viewed more than 8.5 million times on YouTube.
Eight historic Corvettes – two on loan from GM and six owned by the museum – were swallowed that day:
- 1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan)
- 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan)
- 1962 Corvette
- 1984 PPG Pace Car
- 1992 1 millionth Corvette
- 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
- 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06
- 2009 1.5 millionth Corvette
On March 3, 2014, 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.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.