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History of the 1992 One-Millionth and 1962 40th Anniversary Corvettes - Sinkhole Corvettes: Part 2

Exploring the history of the ’92 Convertible and ’93 Coupe sinkhole Corvettes

Walt Thurn Oct 7, 2014
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The National Corvette Museum experienced a dramatic sinkhole event on February 12, 2014, that swallowed eight significant Corvettes. Each has been recovered and the damage ranges from slight to severe. In Part 1 (“Sinkhole Corvettes,” Nov. ’14), we provided you with information about the ZR1 and ’62 convertible. Now here is the status of the next two Corvettes that were retrieved. They are the ’92 one-millionth convertible and the ’93 40th Anniversary Ruby Red coupe. Both represent major milestones in Corvette history and they are now on display in the museum’s exhibit hall.

1992 1,000,000th Corvette

On May 15, 1992, Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins (now retired) announced an exciting Corvette milestone. He said that the 1,000,000th Corvette would be built on Thursday, July 2, 1992, at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant. A large crowd of Chevrolet executives, plant employees, and media were present to watch it roll off the assembly line at 2 p.m. It was adorned with a 1 millionth banner across its windshield. The white with red interior convertible matched the first handbuilt Corvettes that were produced in Flint, Michigan, in 1953. Perkins said that Chevrolet was donating this Corvette to the National Corvette Museum that was under construction at the time. The museum opened two years later and this Corvette has held a place of honor since the opening. The Corvette (VIN 1DYY33PXN5119134) is powered by a 300hp LT1 engine coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. After it dropped into the sinkhole, the convertible could barely be seen, but it did appear to be sitting upright at the very bottom of the sinkhole. On Wednesday, March 5, Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction saw it teetering on a rock. Concerned that it might fall into a cave below they decided to recover it. A rope was gingerly attached to its left rear wheel and it was slowly raised and placed upside down on the sinkhole floor. Another rope was secured to the right front wheel and the Corvette was removed from the sinkhole. While the convertible received extensive damage to its windshield frame and body panels, it appears to be repairable. The good news is that the undercarriage and frame are undamaged.

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During the second lift from the bottom of the sinkhole, Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction attached straps to two wheels. The Corvette suspension took the strain and the car was successfully recovered.

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The most visible damage to the 1 millionth is the flattened windshield frame. Fortunately this car is repairable.

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The white/red convertible was always displayed in a place of honor inside the museum. Here it sits inside the Skydome, surrounded by other significant Corvettes. Photo by Miranda East

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In 1992, the 1 millionth Corvette sits next to the museum’s 1953 Corvette near the Bowling Green Assembly plant sign. This 1992 Corvette was donated to the museum before it opened in 1994.

1993 40th Anniversary Coupe

Karen Clark saved her money for a number of years in order to surprise her husband, Hill, with this brand-new 40th Anniversary coupe (VIN #14768) on his 50th birthday. Since then, other Corvettes have passed through their life, but the couple could never sell their prized “Ruby.” On August 3, 2011, the Clarks donated Ruby to the National Corvette Museum. At the donation ceremony Hill said “To have our ‘Ruby’ on display for others to enjoy and learn of our unique story is totally fitting. We could never sell her and with this donation we will be able to visit her whenever we so choose.” Fast forward to 2014, Ruby was a victim of the NCM sinkhole event. It was on display in the Skydome sitting on a Stinger lift above a black ’62 convertible when the floor opened up. Ruby rolled off the lift backwards and flipped upside down, shattering its rear window and damaging most of its body panels. It came to rest next to the “Blue Devil” ZR1 Corvette. Because of its location, it was the second sinkhole car to be retrieved by Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction. It was raised by attaching straps to all four wheels and lifting it out of the hole on March 3. According to Bob Hellmann, Facilities and Displays Manager at the museum, “Ruby’s undercarriage and frame appear to be undamaged and everything else looks to be in good condition and repairable.” The Clarks were very happy to hear that their pride and joy is in the NCM display area so visitors can view this unique Corvette.

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Karen and Hill Clark stand between Ruby and their Corvette Grand Sport. The couple donated their 40th Anniversary when they took delivery of their new Corvette.

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Before the sinkhole, Ruby was displayed on this Stinger lift above the black ’62 Corvette. When the floor gave away, Ruby rolled backward off the lift and fell on its roof. Considering the distance that it fell, the roof structure shows very little damage.

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The right front side of the hood shows the worst damage and will need to be replaced. The interior is completely undamaged except for a large amount of dirt that accumulated after the fall. Most of the body panels only received minor damage.

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Ruby’s painted roof panel fell out of its rear trunk storage location and landed on the concrete slab when the Corvette came to a rest upside down. It was logical to remove this car right after the ZR1 was lifted out.

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