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Sinkhole Vettes to be displayed before restoration

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National Corvette Museum photo Eight Corvettes are still inside the sinkhole, though the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., has reopened and has built a viewing booth for the public to observe the cars being removed.

By Jay Ramey, Crain News Service

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2014) — It's going to take a while to get the eight historic Chevrolet Corvettes that were consumed by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum two weeks ago out of that sinkhole.

Just getting a specialized crane through the doors of the museum will take time.

Afterward, though, the public will be able to get a look at them in their damaged state before General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet division has them restored. The museum has told the Detroit Free Press that the damaged cars will be on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green from April through June of this year—once they're exhumed. For now the museum has reopened and has even built a viewing booth for the public to safely observe the subterranean 'Vettes.

Chevrolet stepped up after the geological event swallowed eight classic and new Corvettes on display, and will perform the restoration work themselves at GM's Heritage Collection in Warren, Mich. But it'll be another couple weeks before the cars are actually removed from the sinkhole, which measures 40 feet wide and 30 feet deep. A number of cars remain buried and almost impossible to spot under subsurface sediment and debris from the collapsed museum floor.

Museum spokesperson Katie Frassinelli told the media that two of the Corvettes that were consumed by the sinkhole belonged to GM, and the remaining six were owned by the museum.

Geologists surveyed the sinkhole, calling it a textbook example of a rather common phenomenon. At the same time, crews surveyed the perimeter of the museum itself to monitor for signs of any additional movement. While the sinkhole itself has reportedly stabilized, the issue of museum repair remains.

Additional tests will have to be carried out after the cars and the debris are removed from the sinkhole, and the soil beneath the surface of the sinkhole will have to be tested before it is filled in.

The National Corvette Museum has made no estimate regarding the timeline for repairs of the museum floor, instead prioritizing the safe extraction of the rare cars.


This report appeared on, the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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