“Operation Corvettes Plus” Update: Black ’62 Recovered

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Photos courtesy Steve Fecht/GM News Photos
Info courtesy National Corvette Museum

One more Corvette emerged from the sinkhole beneath the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome—the black ’62 Corvette.

National Corvette Museum Sinkhole 1962 Lifted 2/5

This one was a little trickier to retrieve than “Ruby” (the ’93 40th Anniversary coupe) or the “Blue Devil” (’09 Z06 prototype), as a massive concrete slab that was once part of the Skydome’s floor (and what was left of a car lift) rested underneath the triple-black C1. They had to remove the ‘62’s hood, in order for them to access the frame, so they could attach cables to it before hoisting it from the sinkhole.

With the three top-most Corvettes now out of the hole (and will be on display at the National Corvette Museum before their restoration at the GM Tech Center), the “carchaeology” gets more involved, as the remaining five Vettes must be dug from the hole before they’re lifted out.

We’ll bring you news of their unearthing and extraction, as soon as we get it! Meanwhile, here’s the National Corvette Museum’s word on the ‘62’s recovery, and word about the next step in “Operation Corvette Plus.”

National Corvette Museum Sinkhole 1962 3/5

Workers use a crane to remove a vehicle hoist from on top of a black 1962 Chevrolet Corvette, in the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 1962 Corvette also has a large concrete slab that is impeding its extraction. Eight Corvettes fell into the sinkhole on February 12. This vehicle is the third Corvette to be extracted. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)

(NOTE: We were under the impression that the ’62 was a fuelie, which it isn’t. We apologize for any confusion.)


Third Corvette Emerges From Sinkhole

It's been almost three weeks since a 40-foot-wide, 60-foot-deep sinkhole opened up within the Skydome of the National Corvette Museum, taking eight prized Corvettes with it. Construction and engineering teams have been hard at work since day one, putting a plan in place for the recovery of the cars and restoration of the building.

The recovery of the three most accessible Corvettes: the 2009 "Blue Devil" ZR1, a 1993 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Corvette and a 1962 Black Corvette commenced on Tuesday with all three cars being successfully saved. Monday's "Operation Corvette Plus" resulted in the recovery of the 2009 and the 1993 and nearly all day Tuesday was dedicated to the 1962 - a car that was recovered around 1:45pm (Central Time), giving spectators watching from the Museum's plexiglass viewing area, and the construction and engineering crews, a huge sigh of relief.

National Corvette Museum Sinkhole 1962 Cable 4/5

Workers lowered by a crane, remove the hood of the black 1962 Chevrolet Corvette in order to provide an access point for hooking the vehicle up for removal, from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 1962 Corvette, along with seven other Corvettes, fell into the sinkhole February 12. This vehicle is the third Corvette to be extracted. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)

The team began work early Tuesday, extracting a portion of the car lift that had become mangled around the car, removing the hood from the '62 and tying a strap to the engine bay, then drilling anchors into the slab of concrete that appeared to be wedged into the grill. In hooking their lifting devices to the car they discovered that they didn't have to lift the slab to free the car. "Really, all that went better than I expected... that's my favorite car," said Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction.

"I see body damage. The chassis looks intact, the frame's not bent, the interior (other than being a little dirty) is pristine. So, I think it's some fiberglass work, some ornamentation work, and paint," said John Spencer, Manufacturing Integration Manager at the GM Corvette Assembly Plant. "This car is in amazing shape considering what it's been through. I don't see anything unrepairable."

Murphy indicated that the next step will be to remove the concrete slab off the bank of the hole, and to remove the rest of the car lift. After those are out of the way they will begin stabilizing and securing the red spire and the walls of the hole. "I'm tickled to death that we were able to get those three cars out with no problems, and they were in good condition," he added.

All three cars are now on display in the Museum's Exhibit Hall. They will be joined in late April by the remaining five Corvettes, marking a culmination of the sinkhole recovery efforts. The Museum is planning a formal exhibit of these cars "as is," along with various photos, videos, information and artifacts through August 3. The plexiglass viewing area of the Skydome will be available as long as construction is on-going, and the 'dome' is expected to re-open by late August.

1962 Chevrolet Corvette Black Sinkhole Museum 5/5

"While we don't know exactly how long the repair and remediation of the sinkhole will take, we feel confident that the Skydome will be as good as new in time for the Museum's 20th Anniversary Celebration," said Executive Director Wendell Strode. "August 27-30 of this year will be an exciting time in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as we will have over 10,000 Corvette enthusiasts caravaning from all over the country to celebrate the Museum, the Grand Opening of our Motorsports Park, and now the re-opening of our Skydome."

Links to photos, videos and press releases are available on the Museum's website at www.corvettemuseum.org. For the latest updates visit the Museum’s Facebook Fan page at www.facebook.com/corvettemuseum.

For more info on the NCM sinkhole, see our previous coverage:

"Ruby" Recovered
ZR1 First Corvette Out of NCM Sinkhole
Trapped Corvettes to Emerge from NCM Sinkhole 3/3
Chevrolet Vows to Restore Damaged Corvettes
Watch the Corvette Museum Sinkhole Swallow 8 Cars (video)
Sinkhole Claims 8 Corvettes at NCM

And to watch live streaming of the excavation click here:

NCM Webcam Skydome
Ustream

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