Corvette Museum recovers vintage cars from sinkhole

March 5, 2014 12:00 AM

After eight classic cars at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky fell into an enormous 60-feet deep sinkhole last month, workers have been clamoring to recover the iconic vehicles. There's no doubt that the cars will require significant auto repair, but it seems that for the most part, they may be salvageable. This comes as a relief to the museum and auto enthusiasts alike, as these prized vehicles are a rare find. 

Assessing the damage
According to The Associated Press, two of the trapped Corvettes have already been lifted by crane from the sinkhole: a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil and a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette. Fortunately, the Blue Devil only showed some cracks on the lower doors, a broken window and a rupture in the oil line, and workers were even able to get the engine running. In fact, museum executive director Wendell Strode said that the vehicle sounded exactly the same as it did before it was gobbled up by the sinkhole. Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran is even confident that the car is in good enough shape to be back on the road in just a few days. However, the damage to the Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette was considerably worse. The body panels as well as the window glass will need to be replaced completely. However, Doran noted that the vehicle is not irreparable, as the steering gear is functional, the underbody is still intact and the frame is surprisingly straight. The next car on the list is a 1962 black Corvette, and hoisting this one out will demand two cranes as a large slab of concrete is resting on top of a portion of the automobile. 

Pressing forward
This is just the beginning of the recovery process, though, which will be streamed live on the Web. Chevrolet has plans to restore the other five cars that were consumed by the sinkhole, which include a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, the 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette and a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette. First, however, workers will need to ensure the sinkhole is stabilized before attempting to get them out, which could take several weeks. Still, The Associated Press noted that the total value of the eight cars is more than $1 million, so it goes without saying that these efforts will be well worth it.

Fox reported that there is still no timeframe for when the process will be completed, but once the vehicles are recovered, the museum plans to display them through Aug. 3. General Motors has committed to repairing all of the damaged cars at a Michigan plant.

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