Eight weeks after a sudden sinkhole swallowed eight collectible Chevrolet Corvettes, National Corvette Museum officials confirmed that all of the vehicles have now been recovered. As of early last month, we reported that five of the eight Corvette models were retrieved with varying degrees of damage. The last vehicle to be pulled out, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Corvette Z06, is in by far the worst condition.
Kevin and Linda Helmintoller donated the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 to the museum last December, after 13 years of modifying the Corvette into a 700-hp powerhouse with 575 lb-ft of torque. When news emerged that it had been finally discovered under all of the sinkhole rubble, Kevin Helmintoller traveled to Kentucky to see it removed.
“I expected bad, but it’s 100 times worse,” said Helmintoller in a statement. “It looks like a piece of tin foil…and it had a roll cage in it! It makes all the other cars look like they’re brand new.”
The Mallett Hammer Z06 reportedly took a beating from many large pieces of rock and rubble as it plummeted into the sinkhole before coming to rest upside down. "Honestly though, I'm still glad I'm here because I would have never believed it was this bad. I'm not positive I would have recognized it - there are just a few little pieces that give it away," said Helmintoller.
Of the eight cars to fall into the sinkhole—a 2009 “Blue Devil” ZR1, the 40th Anniversary 1993 Corvette, a 1962 Corvette, the 1992 “Millionth” Corvette, the 1984 Corvette PPG Pace Car, a 1992 ZR-1 Spyder, a 2009 Corvette that was the 1.5-millionth vehicle built, and the 2001 Mallet Hammer Z06—the ones recovered later on, deeper into the hole, are in much worse condition. Of the eight cars, the PPG Pace car the ZR-1 Spyder, the 2009 Corvette, and the Mallett Hammer are most seriously damaged.
Now called the “Great 8”, the vehicles will go on display as-is at the National Corvette Museum from August 27-30. General Motors previously announced it would help restore all eight cars that were damaged in the sinkhole.
We recently visited Bowling Green, Kentucky, on our way to pick up our Four Seasons 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, and shot some cool video of the sinkhole and damaged cars at the Corvette Museum that you can watch below.