On Feb. 12, a sinkhole collapsed within the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky, taking eight prized Corvettes with it. Five were recovered in varying conditions by mid-March. Then, the construction team began the tedious process of removing dirt from the sinkhole in hopes of recovering the three missing Corvettes, and to unearth the ZR-1 Spyder that previously only had a portion of the left rear quarter visible.
With the aid of a heavy-duty vacuum and excavating equipment, the team struck gold – or rather fiberglass – on March 28 with the discovery of the “1.5 Millionth Corvette.”
“When we started digging around the Black Spyder, we found a piece of white fiberglass underneath it and we continued to expose that until we saw that it was the 1.5 Millionth car,” said Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction. “We had no idea where it was, we just happened upon it. We hope when we move the white car we find the red car that way, because we’ve just not had any luck detecting where it is.” Murphy indicated that they have utilized metal detectors as well as probing rods, and that they remove layers of dirt as they probe but have not had a lot of luck so far.
On March 31, the team worked to continue removing dirt from around the Spyder, then in the early evening decided to carefully pull the car out of the remaining dirt. The team resumed recovery efforts April 1, removing a large boulder that was lodged in the cabin of the Spyder and collecting bits and pieces of the car to help with any restoration or preservation efforts. The Spyder was removed from the depths of the hole around 9 a.m. and is in worse shape than even the PPG Pace Car.
“We have always feared that as we dig further into the hole, that the cars would continue to be in worse shape,” said Katie Frassinelli, museum marketing and communications manager. “Unfortunately, those predictions were accurate. The 1.5 Millionth has both a large boulder and a concrete slab laying on it. We anticipate that when that car is pulled out… that it’s going to be in even worse shape than the Spyder.”
Upon the removal of the Spyder, the team began working to free the 1.5 Millionth, successfully removing it April 3.
“While the car appears to be in really rough condition, most of the major components are still there and provides a great base to work off of,” said Adam Boca of the NCM Insurance Agency and a member of the Museum Display Committee.
The final Corvette to be removed is the 2001 Z06 with Mallett Hammer conversion.
The “sinkhole Corvettes” will come together for a special display in the Museum’s Exhibit Hall through Aug. 3, after which time they will be moved into the restored Skydome where they will remain on display, as-is, through the Museum’s 20th Anniversary Event Aug. 27-30.
Links to photos, videos and information related to the sinkhole are available on the museum’s website: www.corvette museum.org.