Sunken sports cars need an ambulance; GM will help

Some of the casualties at the National Corvette Museum. Prospects for restoration are unclear.

Officials at the National Corvette Museum had just two bits of good news after a very tough week: The sinkhole that swallowed eight of their classics isn't getting any bigger; and General Motors is sending an ambulance for the battered Vettes.

On social media sites and TV news shows last week, viewers watched security camera replays of eight classic Corvettes sliding into the 40-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep chasm that opened in the museum's Skydome area, which is connected by a hallway to the main structure in Bowling Green, Ky.

When the battered classics emerge from the pit, a GM team will attempt restoration.

"Our goal is to restore all eight cars, but it's too soon to say if that's feasible," Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran wrote in an e-mail.

Two of the cars -- a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil -- were on loan from GM. But repairs to the cars and the museum won't be quick.

The first task is to shore up the structure, then extract the vehicles, Doran wrote.

"Some of the cars look to be in very good shape. However, other cars are completely buried in rubble, so it will likely be several weeks until we can get the cars out and assessed."

The work will be done in a small shop within GM Design in suburban Detroit that specializes in restoration.

The other six Corvettes languishing in the rubble are a black 1962 model; a 1984 PPG pace car; the 1-millonth Vette, built in 1992; a 1993 40th anniversary edition; a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06; and the 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette. All six are owned by the museum.

The museum, which houses about 70 Vettes, will remain open.

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