Monday, September 1, 2014

Fate Determined for Museum Sinkhole Corvettes

Photo Credit: Chevrolet



The performance prowess of the Chevrolet Corvette often insulates through ability to escape an uncomfortable situation quickly. However, for eight Corvettes on February 12th of this year, nature swallowed them before they had a chance to apply their V-8 muscle.
 
More than six months ago, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green,Kentucky, a large sinkhole developed within the facility's Skydome section. With the hole opening overnight, it timing most fortunately spared human harm. The casualties of the sinkhole was limited to some high quality motorized display pieces. In total, eight Chevrolet Corvettes were the victims of a sudden deep fall. This weekend, the National Corvette Museum provided some details on their recovery efforts. Pledging to fill in the opening within the Skydome, Chevrolet has provided updates on three of the vehicle's damaged in the natural occurrence.
 
The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 prototype (termed the Blue Devil in relations to than-Vice Chairman Bob Lutz's alma mater) and the the one-millionth Corvette, a white 1992 convertible, will be restored by General Motors. Both cars were loaned to the National Corvette Museum as part of General Motors' corporate collection. The "Blue Devil" Corvette was one of first cars recovered from the sinkhole. Damaged by the fall, that particular vehicle faired better than other casualties of the sinkhole. Upon its retrieval, the recovery crew started the Corvette ZR1 prototype's engine. The 1992 Chevrolet Corvette was also promptly retrieved from the sinkhole. Both cars will be restored under the direction of Chevrolet.
 
 
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
 
 
The museum will restore a third Corvette thanks to funding from Chevrolet. The oldest victim of the sinkhole, a 1962 Corvette, will be returned to original condition by a quality restorer. General Motors has pledged a total of $250,000 US to the National Corvette Museum in response to the disaster in February. “Our goal was to help the National Corvette Museum recover from a terrible natural disaster by restoring all eight cars,” said GM's executive vice president of Global Product Development Mark Reuss. There has been no timetable on the completion date for the three cars under restoration at this time.
 
As for the remaining five Chevrolet Corvettes, the decision has been made to leave the recovered vehicles unrestored. Among the vehicles is the 1.5-millionth Corvette and the Mallet Hammer modified Corvette Z06 that were last ones recovered from the collapsed Earth. Those vehicles were in the worst condition of all the vehicles affected. Opting to keep the vehicle's unrestored, the National Corvette Museum is responding to some requests to preserve the Corvettes in an alternative manner. Already examples of America's greatest and most enduring sports car, the five remaining Corvettes will maintain the historical significance of the sinkhole disaster itself. Responding to this decision, National Corvette Museum executive director Wendell Strode said, “For Corvette enthusiasts, the damage to the cars is part of their history, and part narrative of the National Corvette Museum. Restoring them all would negate the significance of what happened.”. Other pieces being left unrestored includes a 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 1984 PPG Pace Car and a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder.
 
 
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
 
 
 
Following the disaster, not all news was bad for the National Corvette Museum. Due to media coverage and fascination in the eight Chevrolet Corvettes involved in the sinkhole fall, attendance at the museum jumped 60 percent in the four months following the incident. 

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