NCM Sinkhole Update: Last Vette Found

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The 2001 Corvette Z06 Mallet “Hammer”—the last of the eight Corvettes trapped when a sinkhole opened up under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome—has been located.

As of 2 p.m. (EDT) this afternoon, crews are clearing away the last of the dirt and debris in order to hoist the Hammer out of the hole, where it’s been since the sinkhole caused the Skydome floor to collapse nearly two months ago.

2001 Corvette Z06 Hammer Rescue Sinkhole 2/10

Unfortunately, it won’t be in the same condition as it was when it graced the cover of GM High Tech Performance. (It will be, once the crew at the GM Design prototype shop restores it!)

2001 Corvette Z06 Hammer Uncovered Sinkhole Dirt 3/10

This past Monday, crews discovered the Mallet Hammer, after the other seven Corvettes had been pulled from the sinkhole. Yes, that’s the ’01 Z06 Mallet “Hammer,” as uncovered by the recovery crew inside the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome.


UPDATE

2001 Corvette Hammer Sinkhole Removal 4/10

On its way out of the sinkhole: The ’01 Z06 Mallet “Hammer.”

The 2001 Corvette Z06 Mallet “Hammer”—the last of the eight Corvettes trapped when a sinkhole opened up under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome—is now out of the sinkhole.

2001 Corvette Z06 Hammer Sinkhole Crushed 8/10

Or, more accurately, what’s left of it is. (Namely the frame, powertrain, suspension, and not a whole lot else.).

The as-hammered Hammer was hoisted from the sinkhole around 3 p.m. (EDT) this afternoon.

2001 Corvette Hammer Recovered 9/10

Now that it’s out of the sinkhole, you can see what’s left of the Hammer. (HINT: Not Much.)

2001 Corvette Z06 Hammer Recovered Pulled 10/10

Here’s the ’01 Corvette Z06 Mallet “Hammer,” just after it was pulled from the sinkhole under the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum.


Full NCM Press Release:

Final Corvette Recovered From Sinkhole

2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Ends Quest to Save Museum Corvettes

The last of the "Great 8" Corvettes has been pulled from the depths of the 40 foot wide by 60 foot deep sinkhole that collapsed within the Skydome building of the National Corvette Museum (NCM) exactly eight weeks ago, marking the end of the first phase of rebuilding.

"We're happy to have the completion of our major goal to recover all eight of the Corvettes," says Wendell Strode, Executive Director of the Museum. "Next week we have a meeting with all the major players, including the construction team, geo-technical firm, cave and karst specialists, engineers, our insurance company and others to review all the findings and have discussions on the next steps and a mutual understanding about rebuilding." The 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 was one of two Corvettes whose whereabouts were initially unknown after the sinkhole happened. The car was finally discovered this past Monday, upside down with the nose pointing towards the red Spire in the center of the room. It is, by far, the most heavily damaged of all eight Corvettes.

"It looks like the worst one... a lot of parts and pieces," said Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction. "It took a lot of punishment from a lot of big rocks."

The Mallett Hammer was donated to the Museum this past December by Kevin and Linda Helmintoller of Land O' Lakes, Florida, who are Lifetime Members of the Museum and previous R8C Museum Delivery participants. Upon hearing the car had been located, Kevin traveled to Kentucky to witness the recovery operation. "I expected bad, but it's 100 times worse," he said. "It looks like a piece of tin foil... and it had a roll cage in it! It makes all the other cars look like they're brand new."

Strode had forewarned Helmintoller that the car would be in bad shape, and he might not want to watch the recovery process. "Honestly though, I'm still glad I'm here because I would have never believed it was this bad. I'm not positive I would have recognized it - there are just a few little pieces that give it away."

Helmintoller added that he sent pictures of the damaged car to his engine builder, who (jokingly) was quick to point out that the engine was not covered under warranty.

Kevin and Linda spent 13 years modifying that Corvette, a car they purchased new in 2001. The Mallett Hammer conversion was completed in June of 2002, and since then it had many AntiVenom LSX Performance modifications added to it, with the car boasting 700hp with 575 lb./ft. of torque at the flywheel. The car's speed achievements helped it score a cover story in GM High Tech Performance magazine.

"We donated this car to the Museum to help with the continued growth, but also because it could be a good vehicle for training other drivers at the new NCM Motorsports Park," Kevin Helmintoller said in December upon donating the car. A “Great 8” display will officially open next week in the Museum’s Exhibit Hall, and the sinkhole Corvettes will be available for viewing as-is through the Museum’s 20th Anniversary Event, August 27-30, 2014.

Keep up with what’s happening with the Corvette rescue at the NCM by visiting their Facebook Fan page (www.facebook.com/corvettemuseum).

Other Corvettes Recovered:

1991 ZR-1 Spyder
1984 PPG Custom
1993 “Ruby” 40th Anniversary
1993 Millionth Corvette
2009 “Blue Devil” ZR1
2009 1.5 Millionth Corvette

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