Last Corvette pulled from sinkhole

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IOL mot pic apr10 Corvette Museum Sinkhole 1 AP Workers pull one of the eight classics from the sinkhole. Picture: National Corvette Museum

Bowling Green, Kentucky - The last of eight rare Corvettes to be extracted from a sinkhole that opened under a Kentucky car museum in February was pulled from the pit on Wednesday, showing damage from its 12-metre tumble.

After finally being located on its roof under rubble on Monday, the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette was lifted on Wednesday from the pit at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.

The car - a Corvette modified by collectors who donated it to the museum - was one of eight collector Corvettes that were swallowed by the sinkhole on 12 February.

As expected, it took weeks to retrieve the cars, which included the millionth Corvette, built in 1992.

General Motors executive vice-president for global product development Mark Reuss said all the cars were historically significant and GM would attempt to restore them.

Marketing and communications manager Katie Frassinelli said the final car had been buried under dirt and rocks.

IOL mot pic apr10 Corvette Museum Sinkhole 2 This is the sight that awaited staff at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky when they came to work on 12 February. Picture: National Corvette Museum Reuters

“They’ve been excavating in the dirt, dig a little here, dig a little there,” she said, “and they eventually uncovered the rear portion of the car on Monday.

“The next thing is to recover all the pieces.”

“They'll probably be pulling pieces out of the hole for several days.”

Visitors to the museum, which has reopened, have watched the excavation efforts and seen the seven previously recovered Corvettes - dubbed the “Great 8” by the museum - on display.

Some of the cars were spared major damage, including a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” that landed on its wheels, while others were covered with rubble.

Six are owned by the museum: the Mallett Hammer, the white millionth Corvette, a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG pace car, a 1993 ruby red 40th anniversary Corvette, and a 2009 white 1.5 millionth Corvette.

The two - the Blue Devil and a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder - were on loan from GM.

The region of south central Kentucky where the museum is located contains many caves and sinkholes. Mammoth Cave National Park is about 30km from Bowling Green.

GM builds Corvettes at a plant near the museum, which opened in 1994.


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