The Bright Side of the Corvette Museum Sinkhole

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Corvette Sinkhole

Despite the fact that eight cars from the Corvette Museum collection were damaged in that sinkhole in Kentucky, there is a silver lining in it all.

Now, before you go writing me off as one of those guys who always looks for the good in everything regardless of how bad the situation really is, let me explain.

For more than a year, many of us have been so wrapped up in the new 2014 Corvette Stingray that we’ve lost sight of the importance of some of the older models until now. Think about it—prior to the sinkhole incident, when’s the last time you recall a 1984 Corvette like the PPG Pace Car damaged at the museum make national news?

Being a longtime fan of the Corvette myself, I know I’ve found myself more interested in covering the C7 as a contributor to the Corvette Forum more than the older models. Lately, my thoughts of visiting the Corvette Museum in Kentucky have centered on the possibility of taking a C7 on the new racetrack that’s scheduled to open this year. The museum has become a secondary (but still important) attraction.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I certainly recognize why models like the 1962 C1 Corvette, the 40th anniversary model and the white one-millionth Corvette from 1992 lost in the natural disaster are important. But it’s been the C7 that’s piqued my interest most since I started contributing to the Corvette Forum.

Of course, the all-new Stingray is certainly well-deserving of all the attention as arguably one the best Corvettes ever built.  And over the years, even the most die-hard ‘Vette fans have talked about the need to make improvements to the car, which GM has clearly delivered on with the new model.

Couple that with Chevy’s desire to make the sports car more appealing to younger buyers, and it becomes even clearer why the C7 was inevitable.

Still, there’s not a single Corvette model produced that isn’t deserving of the same kind of honor that we’ve been giving C7 even during some of the nameplate’s more troubling times. They’ve all played an important role in the overall development of the Corvette over the years in making the new model one of the most talked about sports cars in the world.

Like any diamond, the Corvette had to go through some tough periods to make it the refined piece of machinery it is today. In short, it’s important to remember that without the 1992 one-millionth Corvette damaged in that sinkhole there would be no C7.

Here’s a look at those eight cars hurt in the disaster.

1962 Corvette

This 1962 Corvette’s owner David Donoho purchased this car brand-new. He donated the car to the NCM for the ultimate safe-keeping … sad. Thankfully GM will restore it.


This 1984 PPG Corvette was a collaboration between Chevy and PPG that served as a pace car for the Indy Car World Series.

1,000,000th Corvette 7-2-92 GM photo

In the afternoon of July 2, 1992, Chevrolet built its one-millionth Corvette. If the people in this picture only knew what was in this car’s future.


Corvette #1.5 million rolled off the assembly line on May 28, 2009. The same about the ’92 above could be said for this ’09.


On loan from GM, the 1993 Corvette ZR-1 Spyder features a chopped windshield and side glass to heighten the car’s slingshot-themed design.


This is the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette donated by hardcore NCM members Kevin and Linda Helmintoller. They donated this car to be a training vehicle at the new Motorsports Park.

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 2009-ZR1-“Blue-Devil”

This 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil was the first-ever C6 ZR1. It was born a 2008 Corvette Z06.

1993 40th Anniversary Corvette Convertible 1993 Chevrolet Corvette. W93HV_CH00440th Anniversary Corvette

Donated to the NCM by Hill and Karen Clark, this 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette (pictured on the lift) was Karen’s surprise to Hill on his 50th birthday.


Luckily this precious 1983 Corvette was spared. Whew.

Hooray: Chevrolet is Going to Restore the Eight Corvettes Swallowed by Angry Mama Earth

Sinkhole disaster gives us the opportunity to see how much Chevrolet/GM is committed to Corvette

Chevrolet has decided to extend a helping hand to the National Corvette Museum by overseeing the restoration of the eight Corvettes wounded in the sinkhole disaster. Specifically, General Motors Design out of Warren, Michigan will “lead the project” according to the press release below.

The National Corvette Museum is not only independently owned, but also supported solely by financial support derived from Corvette fans like you, so think of this as Chevrolet/GM personally helping you out as well. Go Chevy!

Find out more about the nuts and bolts of the restoration in the press release.

DETROIT – To help the National Corvette Museum recover from the massive sinkhole that opened under the facility this week, Chevrolet will oversee restoration of the Corvettes damaged. General Motors Design in Warren, Mich., will lead the project.“The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens.”

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, will oversee the restoration.

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.

The National Corvette Museum is independently owned, and supported solely by charitable donations from enthusiasts. It is currently accepting donations on its website to assist in refurbishing the facility. Donations are tax-deductible.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year.  Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

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