The 1962 Corvette is lifted from the National Corvette Museum sinkhole. Photos and videos courtesy of the National Corvette Museum.
After successfully retrieving the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” and the 1993 40th Anniversary edition earlier this week, recovery efforts at the National Corvette Museum turned toward pulling the 1962 Corvette from the sinkhole in the Museum’s Skydome on Tuesday. At 1:32 p.m., the Tuxedo Black roadster appeared above the sinkhole, freed from the tangle of four-post lift and concrete slab that had complicated its recovery.
While recovery of the other two cars on Monday appeared deceptively easy, pulling the 1962 Corvette from the hole required far more preparation. With a multi-ton slab of concrete resting on the car’s front end, engineers first needed to rig the black Corvette through the engine bay, requiring removal of the car’ s hood, and then rig the concrete section itself via a series of drilled anchors. The concrete slab was then secured, allowing the classic Corvette to be pulled from the sinkhole.
Aside from the torn front right fender, the black Corvette appears to have been recovered with minimal damage, though a complete assessment of its condition has yet to be made. According to information supplied by the museum, the 1962 Corvette, fitted with a dual-quad setup, was donated by David Donoho of Zionsville, Indiana, the car’s only owner, because he wanted “to ensure it would be well maintained by those who would protect it.” General Motors has committed to restoring all Corvettes retrieved from the sinkhole.
The five remaining Corvettes will prove a bit more difficult to recover, as each is buried beneath tons of dirt and rubble. Before extrication resumes, the focus will turn towards the stabilization of the Skydome spire, the walls of the sinkhole itself and the surrounding area. Projections from the museum estimate that this process will take three weeks, after which the excavation work needed to retrieve the five remaining Corvettes will commence. As the museum has stated all along, the most important factor is the safety of those involved in the recovery, which is why the process is being carried out in carefully measured steps.
The 40-foot wide and 25 to 30-foot deep sinkhole opened up in the early morning hours of February 12 as a result of the region’s karst geology, and crews have been on site since shortly afterward preparing the Skydome for the retrieval process. The rest of the museum has been open since the sinkhole formed, and museum staff have said that they plan to have the Skydome repaired by August.