Three of eight Corvettes which were swallowed up by the sinkhole that opened up in the National Corvette Museum last month have been successfully hoisted from the hole and are back on solid ground.
The 2009 Corvette ZR-1 ‘Blue Devil’ was the first to be rescued from the hole on Monday. Despite plummeting nearly 30-feet, the ZR-1 appeared to have sustained minimal damage and to the delight of Corvette Museum operators, even started up and drove off after its rescue. The 40th Anniversary Corvette was a little less lucky. The car suffered significant cosmetic damage to the hood, fenders and window glass, but luckily, didn’t appear to have major mechanical damage.
“The 40th Anniversary looks much worse than it really is,” said John Spencer, manufacturing integration manager for Corvette. “Practically every body panel and piece of glass will need to be replaced. However, underneath the frame looks straight, the suspension seems to be intact, and the steering gear still works. It is definitely salvageable.”
The black 1962 Corvette was the third to be rescued. Even though it landed tail-down in the hole, it came away from the incident with minimal damage. The worst of the damage is an eight-inch crack in the rear fender and a golf ball sized hole in the front fascia where the car was resting up against a concrete slab.
While the news of the rescued cars is music to the ears of any Corvette enthusiast, the worst of the extraction is yet to come. There are still five cars stuck down in the hole, some of which have not even been seen since the collapse due to them being covered in dirt and other debris.
“The recovery of the first three cars went flawlessly, and the cars are in remarkably good shape,” said Spencer. “Unfortunately, the remaining five cars are either partially or totally covered in debris. We expect their recovery will be much more challenging, and the cars to be in much worse condition.”
No matter how badly damaged the cars are, though, GM has still vowed to fix them. Once all the Corvettes have been lifted to safety, they will make their way to the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan where the best approach for restoring the vehicles will be determined.