Twenty-two years ago today, a Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was the one millionth Corvette ever made, and immediately it was whisked off for the sacred confines of the National Corvette Museum. Unfortunately, the car is now in a state of disrepair after it fell to the bottom of a sinkhole that opened beneath the museum in February.
The one millionth Chevrolet Corvette is a convertible with an LT1 V-8 engine, and is white with a red interior and a black roof — a color scheme designed to pay homage to the very first Chevrolet Corvette introduced in 1953. According to History.com, famed Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov attended a ceremony at the Bowling Green factory to celebrate the production of the one millionth car. Shortly thereafter, the Corvette was moved to the adjacent National Corvette Museum.
The 1992 Chevrolet Corvette remained untouched as a display piece in the National Corvette Museum until February 12, when a giant sinkhole opened beneath part of the museum building. The sinkhole swallowed a total of eight cars, including a 2009 model that was the 1.5 millionth Corvette ever produced. After several weeks, a team of engineers eventually recovered all eight of the cars, but they were in varying states of disrepair. As the photos here show, the 1992 Chevrolet Corvette was quite heavily damaged, with its windshield crushed and many body panels damaged.
General Motors, for its part, volunteered to help restore some of the damaged Corvettes. The sinkhole itself will have a very different fate. Officials at the National Corvette Museum announced late last month that they will leave the sinkhole in place as a tourist attraction. There will be a viewing gallery above the hole and two cars may be placed on pedestals within the sinkhole.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the National Corvette Museum wants to keep the sinkhole visible to visitors: officials said that this year, the number of visitors to the museum has increased by 59 percent compared to 2013, and sales at the on-site Corvette Cafe have improved 46 percent.
Photos courtesy The National Corvette Museum.