General Motors Co. will try to restore all eight Chevrolet Corvettes that tumbled into a giant sinkhole that opened Wednesday under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
The companysaid Thursday that GM and Chevrolet will manage restoration at the GM Motors Design facilities in the Warren Tech Center. GM executive Ed Welburn, vice president of global design, will lead the effort.
“The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” Mark Reuss, head of GM’s global product development, said in a statement. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible, so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the museum reopens.”
The sinkhole was estimated at 40 feet across and up to 30 feet deep in the museum’s Skydome. Eight Corvettes, including a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from GM, were damaged.
When the cars are recovered from the sinkhole, they will be sent to GM’s mechanical assembly shop at the design center. That shop, part of GM’s design department since the 1930s, maintains and restores vehicles that are part of GM’s Heritage Center collection, as well as the company’s concept cars.
Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran hopes all eight cars will be shipped to Warren if crews are able to recover them from the sinkhole. Doran said some of the cars appear to be in good shape but others are “completely buried.” He expects it will be several weeks before the cars are removed from the hole and evaluated.
Doran said GM is unsure what restoration will be covered by insurance, but GM expects there will be no cost to the museum.
The museum is independently owned and is supported by donations. GM said donations to help refurbish the facility are being accepted through the museum’s website, corvettemuseum.org.