Feb 13 Eight collector Corvettes that were
swallowed by a sinkhole beneath a Kentucky museum may be stuck
in the pit for weeks before General Motors Co can attempt
to restore them, officials said on Thursday.
The historic cars, including the millionth Corvette built in
1992, fell up to 30 feet (9 meters) on Wednesday in a scene
captured by security cameras at the National Corvette Museum in
Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Some of the cars, including a 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil" that
landed on its wheels, seem to be in remarkably good shape,
Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran said in a telephone interview.
Other cars are covered with rubble, making it tough to
assess the damage or estimate the cost of repairs, Doran said.
The cars are significant in automotive history and GM wants
to restore as many as possible, Mark Reuss, executive vice
president of GM Global Product Development, said in a statement.
Before that can happen, the cars must be pulled from the
sinkhole that opened in the "Skydome" area of the museum. The
museum reopened on Thursday, but the Skydome was blocked off.
It will take two to three weeks to stabilize the area and
make sure it is safe, and another four to six days to retrieve
the Corvettes, said Mike Murphy of Scott, Murphy & Daniel
Construction, which is managing the repairs to the building.
The museum's foundation and structure are in good condition,
and after the cars are retrieved, workers will replace the earth
and floor system, Murphy said.
Six museum-owned cars were damaged: the white millionth
Corvette, a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG pace car, a 1993
ruby red 40th anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06
Corvette and a 2009 white 1.5 millionth Corvette.
Two cars on loan from GM were also damaged, the Blue Devil
and a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder.
After they are pulled from the pit, the cars will be shipped
to a small GM specialty shop in Warren, Michigan, that maintains
and restores GM's historic concept cars, GM said.
The millionth Corvette, which was never sold, was likely the
most valuable car to fall into the hole and could fetch several
million dollars from the right buyer, Corvette historian Jerry
Burton has said.
The region of south central Kentucky where the museum is
located contains many caves and sinkholes. Mammoth Cave National
Park is about 20 miles from Bowling Green.
GM builds Corvettes at a plant near the museum, which opened
in 1994. Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said he is
confident it will all be done in time for the museum's 20th
anniversary celebration in August.