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Corvette Museum decides against saving sinkhole after all

National Corvette Museum
National Corvette MuseumPublic domain via Wikicommons

The Board of Directors at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY have decided not to save the sinkhole that devoured 8 of its classic cars in last February after all, despite the fact that it turned out to be a major tourist draw.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests over the years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, even returning one of the crumpled cars inside. However, after reviewing more detailed pricing, the cost of adding safety features outweighs the benefit to the museum,” stated executive director Wendell Strode, who went on to explain that keeping the hole open would require having to install 35’ high retaining walls and beams placed in the hole to prevent further cracking.

The price tag for this would have totaled about $1 million, double earlier estimates added museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli. As a result, it was decided that the money would be better spent to restore some of the damaged cars, including its Corvette ZR1 prototype, nicknamed the Blue Devil, and a white 1992 convertible which was the 1-millionth vette built. Chevrolet will also fund the restoration of a 1962 Corvette, while parent company GM said it will “also provide nearly $250,000 in financial support to help the museum recover from the sinkhole.

In the meantime it was decided that the museum will keep 5 other of the wrecked Covettes as they are in order to “preserve the historical significance of the cars and event.”They will become part of a future display at the museum.

“Our goal was to help the National Corvette Museum recover from a terrible natural disaster by restoring all eight cars,” stated Mark Reuss, executive vice president for global product development at GM. He also noted that efforts to restore the remaining cars would not be practical because of the extent of the damage. These include a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan); • A 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan); a 1984 PPG Pace Car; a 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette; a 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06; and a 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette.

“Frankly, there is some historical value in leaving those cars to be viewed as they are,” he said.