Officials at Bowling Green, Kentucky’s National Corvette Museum retrieved five of the eight Chevrolet Corvettes eaten up by the sudden sinkhole that opened up about three weeks ago. The National Corvette Museum is trying to make the best of the clearly awful situation by documenting and reporting on the status of the vehicles’ recovery, and consequently we’ve seen some astonishing photos of the damage. General Motors already agreed to pay for all restoration costs involved in returning the cars to museum condition.
2009 “Blue Devil” ZR1
On March 3, the first vehicle to return from the bowels of the earth was a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which shockingly endured much less damage than might be expected considering its 30-foot plummet. Thousands of viewers watched the live stream of the ZR1’s retrieval via webcast, and witnessed the staff’s roaring cheer when the “Blue Devil” ZR1 started up and even drove forward some twenty feet, although it left a puddle of fluid in its wake.
“That’s a GM product for you. They take a licking and keep on ticking!” said construction manager Mike Murphy, in a statement.
40th Anniversary 1993 Corvette
Later on Monday, a 40th anniversary 1993 Chevrolet Corvette emerged from the pit. It fared much worse than the ’09 ZR1. While the extent of the mechanical damage is hopefully minimal, almost the entire body from the hood to the rear bumper is scratched, crushed, or otherwise wrecked. Chevrolet Corvette manufacturing integration manager John Spencer concedes that the entire body will require significant attention, but maintains that “it is definitely salvageable.”
1962 Chevrolet Corvette
This ‘Vette was a bit trickier to lure out from the muddy depths, but engineers were able wrest it free from a battered vehicle lift and an errant slab of concrete pressed against the grille. Despite the fact that the ’62 Chevrolet Corvette fell tail-first, there is just a small crack in the rear fascia. Aside from the understandable nicks, scratches, and cracked windows, this classic should get a new lease on life once it visits GM Design in Michigan.
1992 “Millionth” Corvette
Styled after the original 1953 Corvette convertibles, with white paint and a red interior, the Millionth Corvette looks to be in bad but not irreparable shape. Staff from the museum claim that historic 1992 Corvette’s undercarriage and frame are intact and that the rest is repairable. The front bumper is pretty well mangled, but the worst damage is to the windshield and A-pillars, which are completely smashed.
1984 Corvette PPG Pace Car
It’s hard to look at, but this one has got to be toast. The former Indy pace car was almost fully buried when the dust finally settled, and it went through hell to get there. No matter which way you slice it, the torn-up front end and dented hood, shredded side panels and collapsed roof, and completely destroyed rear end likely signal the end of this particular Chevrolet Corvette. It looks like Godzilla chewed it up and spat it out.
Three To Go
The 1992 Corvette ZR-1 Spyder is the only remaining car that is even visible from above. It looks flat as a pancake laying upside down in the sinkhole, so our hopes aren’t high. Still undiscovered are the 2001 Mallet Hammer Corvette Z06 and the 1.5-millionth Corvette built, which is a 2009 Corvette Convertible. The National Corvette Museum is shooting to have the remaining cars returned to the surface by early May.