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Sinkhole damages America's Corvette Museum (copyright image)

Eight Corvettes dropped from the display (copyright image)

It will be weeks before the cars are recovered. (copyright image)

The 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil" was the first 2009 ZR1 produced.
It was one of two cars on loan from GM that were damaged. (copyright image)

Fewer than 12 1993 ZR-1 Spyders were ever built.
One was on loan from GM and it, too, was damaged. (copyright image)

A 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette Convertible in Ruby Red
was one of the cars damaged by the sinkhole.

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18th February, 2014

The National Corvette Museum management received a call at 5:44AM on Wednesday 12th February 2014 from a security company alerting them of motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the Museum. Upon inspection it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum. No one was in or around the Museum at the time. The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area. The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep.

The Museum confirmed that eight Corvettes were damaged in the incident. The cars include:

  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:

  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals. The Skydome exhibit area of the Museum is a separate structure connected to the main Museum. A structural engineer assessed the damage and stability of the surrounding areas.  The Museum was closed to the public for one day to allow for a careful assessment of the situation.

Repairing the building

On Thursday, 13th February the Museum held a media conference to reveal the game plan for the sinkhole.  Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy & Daniel Construction, indicated that sinkholes are very common for this area, but that what is not common is for one to swallow eight Corvettes.  He stated that the damage is repairable and the building foundation and structure is in good condition.

The plans for moving forward include securing the sinkhole and surrounding areas so that even if the Museum were to experience future sinkholes nearby it would not affect the Museum.  It will take 2-3 weeks to stabilise and secure the area (the red spire, the walls of the sinkhole), after which the process of vehicle recovery will begin.  The team will be making sure the sinkhole is safe and that no further damage will occur before starting vehicle recover.

The vehicle recovery process is anticipated to take 4-6 days to retrieve the vehicles.  After that, they will replace the earth and floor system.

Mike added that they don't foresee any problems, and that they have accomplished a lot in the past 24 hours.

Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode added their confidence in the process being complete in time for the National Corvette Museum's 20th Anniversary Celebration 27th-30th August 2014 and the Grand Opening of the NCM Motor Sports Park.

Chevrolet to oversee restoration of the cars

To help the National Corvette Museum recover from the massive sink hole, Chevrolet will be overseeing restoration of the Corvettes damaged. The process will be managed by General Motors Design in Warren, Michigan.

“The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” said former Holden boss Mark Reuss, who is now executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built.”

The restoration will be overseen by Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design.

When the cars are recovered, they will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within GM Design, where the best restoration approach will be determined. Mechanical Assembly has been part of GM Design since the 1930s, and today maintains and restores many of the vehicles in the GM Heritage Collection and GM’s historic concept cars.

About the National Corvette Museum

Established in 1994, the National Corvette Museum is the ‘Gateway to All Things Corvette’ and a member-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation.

This 115,000 sq. ft. showcase to Chevrolet's sports car features over 80 Corvettes showcased in periodic settings including a mid-century barber shop, service station and historic race track!

See classics in mint condition, one-of-a-kind prototypes that never went into production & modern-day wonders of engineering and design. Interact and test your skills by fueling up and changing tyres at the "Pit Crew Challenge" exhibit, enjoy a film in the Chevy Theatre and see rare collectibles and memorabilia.

Shop in the Corvette Store which offers a wide selection of apparel, collectibles, home and gift items.

There's a cafe which is open for breakfast and lunch.

Usual trading hours: Daily from 8AM to 5PM (local time). No admission after 4:30PM. Closed on New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Location: 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, at Exit 28 on I-65 in Bowling Green, Kentucky (USA) opposite GM's Corvette production plant.



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