First 3 Corvettes retrieved from sinkhole at museum

A 1993 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette is unstrapped from the crane that removed it from a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on Monday.

Photo credit: STEVE FECHT/CHEVROLET
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Three of the eight Corvettes swallowed on Feb. 12 by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., have been recovered.

As a crowd of spectators cheered and thousands of viewers watched online, the 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil -- one of two cars on loan from General Motors -- and the 1993 Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition were lifted by a crane and placed at ground level on Monday.

The Blue Devil, which appears to have endured minor damage during its nearly 30-foot plunge, was driven about 20 feet to the museum's doorway, said Katie Frassinelli, a museum spokeswoman.

Video of the retrieval showed that the Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition sustained broken windows and severe damage to its front and rear.

A black 1962 model was retrieved today in a "trickier" recovery as a five-ton slab of concrete rested on the front of the vehicle, the museum said.

Two cranes were used to simultaneously lift the car and the concrete, the museum said.

Other Corvettes to be retrieved are a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, the other car on loan from GM; a 1984 PPG pace car; the 1-millionth Vette, built in 1992; a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06; and the 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette.

Recovery of the vehicles is expected to take through mid-April, Frassinelli said.

The museum plans to display each vehicle through Aug. 3, when they will be shipped to GM Design in suburban Detroit for restoration.

Web cams are positioned around the sinkhole and pictures are available on the museum's Web site.



You can reach Andrew Thurlow at athurlow@crain.com.


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