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Cars emerge from sinkhole

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Posted: 11 am ET

cars-blog-corvette-sinkhole-extraction-national-corvette-museumThe assessment process for what is likely one of the biggest auto insurance claims has begun: Four of the eight Corvette sports cars that were swallowed by a giant sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum have been extracted.

The first car to be removed from the massive hole was the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 "Blue Devil," which sustained only minor damage in the 30-foot fall and was in good enough condition to drive 20 feet to the building's doorway. The second car to be retrieved was a 1993 40th Anniversary model that had significant cosmetic damage, but only limited mechanical issues. After removing a car lift and further stabilizing the sinkhole, the recovery team removed the third car, a 1962 Corvette, discovering that it too had only minimal damage.

The construction and car recovery team had expected it was not going to be able to remove any more Corvettes without further reinforcing the sinkhole, but it was unexpectedly able to remove a fourth car, the one millionth Corvette built. While the car sustained significant damage, museum officials said that it was far less extensive than they had expected and that the damage was repairable.

The sinkhole, which is estimated to be 40 feet across and 25 to 30 feet deep, occurred at 5:44 a.m. on Feb. 12. The Mechanical Assembly facility within General Motors Design has committed to restoring all of the damaged cars. The department maintains and restores many of the cars in the GM Heritage Collection as well as GM's historic concept cars.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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