Badly damaged Corvette pace car pulled from sinkhole

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Concrete 'judo-chopped' the PPG Pace Car Corvette | National Corvette Museum
Concrete 'judo-chopped' the PPG Pace Car Corvette | National Corvette Museum
Concrete ‘judo-chopped’ the PPG Pace Car Corvette | National Corvette Museum

Turns out that crew that did the unexpected extraction Wednesday of a fourth car from the sinkhole beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Musuem wasn’t quite finished with its workday. After pulling out the “Millionth” Corvette, it went back into the hole to salvage the PPG Pace Car, a 1984 Corvette.

“Well, the unexpected happened yesterday, not once but twice,” museum executive director Wendell Strode reported on the museum’s Facebook page.

“After the 10-ton concrete slab was lifted off the 1962 and after it was extracted Tuesday afternoon, the construction team had a better view of the 1 Millionth,” Strode wrote.

“You may remember from earlier videos that it appeared to be wedged and was just hanging there. Upon closer inspection by folks in the man cage, they said it was just barely hanging there and if someone blew on it, it would crash down.

“John Spencer at the Corvette Assembly Plant has been working with us from the very beginning. He was called and immediately came over to advise on how to properly hook up for extraction. John has helped with all of the cars, and we are thankful for the strong relationship and partnership we have with the Corvette Assembly Plant.”

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PPG Pace Car damaged by concrete slag | National Corvette Museum
PPG Pace Car damaged by concrete slag | National Corvette Museum

Once the One-Millionth Corvette was out of the hole, the crew had a better view of and access to the PPG Pace Car, which was hooked and pulled just slightly before any lifting was done.

However, Strode said, the way the dirt moved indicated to the crew that something was on top of the car. That something was a huge slab of concrete. “The crew drilled holes in the concrete and lifted it out. Now the crew had a much better view. They hooked the car up for extraction, and after a few times of lifting and positioning, the PPG car was lifted out.

“The PPG car was the most damaged one that has been extracted,”Strode added. “One of the workers said the concrete slab had ‘judo chopped’ the PPG car.”

Strode said that unless there are unexpected complications, the plan is to stabilize the sinkhole walls, the red spire within the sky dome and to do other needed measures so the three remaining cars can be extracted.

Strode added that, “I subscribe to a daily devotional from Love Worth Finding and Adrian Rogers. Today’s was from (the book of) Joel 2:25. It is about being restored. I will paraphrase to us and our situation: ‘And I will restore to you the Corvettes that the sinkhole hath eaten.’

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“Everything will be restored at some point in the future,” Strode wrote. “Let’s all use this as an opportunity to remember this situation as a reminder, and a request to be restored to the Lord individually, as a Corvette family and community and as a nation.”

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

1 COMMENT

  1. you know, it would be really nice if some of the aftermarket Corvette parts suppliers, who we as customers have made VERY wealthy, would step up and donate the parts needed to assist in the restoration of these Priceless vehicles.