Like a life-size version of the game “Operation,” engineers and construction workers have plucked out three of the eight rare Chevrolet Corvettes that were swallowed by a sinkhole below the National Corvette Museum in February.
The three cars were recovered after a painstaking process on Monday and Tuesday from a hole estimated to be 25 to 30 feet deep and 40 feet wide. The sinkhole opened up below the Bowling Green, Ky., museum early Feb. 12.
The condition of the three Corvettes varies from just a little dirty to heavily damaged, according to museum spokeswoman Laura Johnson. The first car the team pulled out, a 2009 ZR1 hand-built by General Motors engineers for the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, emerged with only a thick coating of dust and dirt. Once out of the sinkhole, the car, known as the Blue Devil, started after several tries.
Unfortunately the next car pulled out didn’t fare as well. The 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette – nicknamed Ruby for its ruby-red paint and interior – was also hoisted out on Monday.
The car suffered extensive damage to the composite body panels, especially the hood. The rear glass is missing completely, the front glass is shattered, and there are scratches and scuffs throughout the car.
Tuesday saw the third car – a black, 1962 Corvette convertible – hoisted into daylight. The car appears to have suffered some light damage and scratches to the body.
The museum will put these three Corvettes on display in their current state while workers spend the next three weeks stabilizing the sinkhole. Once the area is deemed secure, work to pull out the remaining five Corvettes will resume.