At a press conference today, officials at the National Corvette Museum said they plan to fully restore all eight Chevrolet Corvette models that were damaged when a sinkhole opened beneath the museum's Skydome yesterday. The cars will be repaired at General Motors Design in Warren, Michigan, in partnership with GM.
The sinkhole, which is said to be 40 feet wide and almost 30 feet deep, opened at 5:44 a.m. yesterday. Eight cars fell into the hole and are partially covered by dirt and other debris. After the sinkhole was discovered, the National Corvette Museum was able to move all unaffected cars from the Skydome area without incident.
GM said that Ed Welburn, the automaker's vice president of global design, will oversee the restoration efforts of the eight damaged cars. After they are recovered from the hole, the cars will be sent to GM's Mechanical Assembly facility for evaluation and repair; the facility maintains the historic cars in the GM Heritage Center.
Speaking at the National Corvette Museum, contractor Mike Murphy told reporters that it will take his company, Scott, Murphy, and Daniel Construction, two to three weeks to stabilize the area around the sinkhole. After that, he said it will take another four to six days to extract the cars from the sinkhole.
"The building is in good condition, the building foundation structure is in good condition," Murphy said. "We will stabilize and secure the area that's out there now."
The sinkhole affected six cars owned by the National Corvette Museum and two that were on loan to the museum from General Motors. The two from GM were a 1992 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Also affected were a black 1962 Corvette, a 1984 PPG pace car, a 1992 Corvette that was the one millionth ever produced, a 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallet Hammer Corvette Z06, and a white 2009 model that was the 1.5 millionth Corvette ever produced.
The National Corvette Museum, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is home to more than 70 Chevrolet Corvettes and is located adjacent to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant that builds all new Chevrolet Corvette models. The museum will stay open, but a partition has been erected to keep visitors out of the affected Skydome area. However, photos posted on the partition will show the sinkhole.
Images courtesy National Corvette Museum.