Corvettes fall into sinkhole at National Corvette Museum
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THE ART BELOW CREATED BY DANNY WHITEFIELD IS THE RISE AND REBUILD – THE NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM TRIBUTE PRINT,
Based on Danny’s valued and sentimental interest in the museum he will donate a portion of proceeds of the print to help with the relieve efforts.
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After much speculation as to the fate of the eight Corvettes damaged in the sinkhole that formed under the National Corvette Museum earlier this week, General Motors announced yesterday that it will oversee restoration efforts for all eight cars.
That would mean that all eight would need to be recovered from the sinkhole under the museum’s Skydome, which measures 40 feet across and 25 to 30 feet deep. While the museum has hired a structural engineering firm, which has already determined that the perimeter of the Skydome is stable, neither the museum nor the firm has yet to confirm how the cars can be pulled out of the sinkhole, though staff of the museum and the engineering firm say they’re confident the cars can be extracted.
The sinkhole formed early Wednesday morning when nobody was at the museum. Of the 30 or so cars in the Skydome at the time, the sinkhole swallowed a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil,” a 1962 Corvette, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 “1 Millionth” Corvette, a 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette, and a 2009 “1.5 Millionth” Corvette. Of the eight, two (the ZR-1 Spyder and the ZR-1 “Blue Devil”) were on loan from GM, one (the PPG Pace Car) was on permanent loan from PPG, and the rest were either donated to or bought by the museum. The rest of the cars in the Skydome at the time of the collapse have since been moved out of it.
“Nobody else has a better understanding of the significance of these cars and what it takes to properly restore them than the engineers and designers at Chevrolet where they were developed,” said Jeff Lamarche, the new manager of the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant, in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
According to both Jeff and a GM press release, Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, will oversee the restoration efforts, which will take place at GM’s Mechanical Assembly facility in Warren, Michigan, which maintains and restores the vehicles in GM’s Heritage Center. While the total value of the cars for insurance purposes has yet to be released, a GM spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week that each of the two GM-owned cars were worth about $1 million apiece.
In the same press conference, Mike Murphy of Scott, Murphy, and Daniel Construction, which the museum has hired to oversee the sinkhole repair efforts, said the sinkhole is repairable and that the building remains in good condition. He said that it would take up to two to three weeks for the firm to even begin to retrieve the cars and then another four to six days total to bring them up. “We have to make sure it is safe and that we can remove the vehicles without any further damage,” he said.
Wendell Strode, executive director of the museum, said that he anticipates having the Skydome fully repaired by mid-August, in time for the museum’s 20th anniversary celebrations.