HomeCar CultureOnly one Corvette remains in sinkhole

Only one Corvette remains in sinkhole


1.5 Millionth Corvette emerges from sinkhole | National Corvette Museum photos
1.5 Millionth Corvette emerges from sinkhole | National Corvette Museum photos

After removing the 1.5 Millionth Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum, the work team spent the rest of the day Thursday searching for the last car remaining in the abyss, the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06.

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“The rest of the day will be spent probing and excavating the area to find any signs of the Mallett Hammer,” Mike Murphy, chief executive of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, said after the 1.5 Milliionth car was retrieved early Thursday morning.

The car actually had been freed late Wednesday from the dirt and debris that swallowed it, but the team waited until Thursday morning to extract it from the hole.

As with the Mallett Hammer — at least so far — methods of probing the dirt in the sinkhole and the use of metal detectors were unsuccessful in finding the 1.5 Millionth car. However, it was discovered as part of the process of digging out the ZR-1 Spyder.

“We had no idea where it was; we just happened upon it,” Murphy said.

“Originally, we thought we had to remove the boulder (that appeared to wedged against the rest of the car) to free the vehicle,” said Zach Massey, the project manager for Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction. “But we were able to free the 1.5 without addressing the boulder as it turned out it was not directly resting on the car, which was a great advantage to us.”

1.5 Millionth car was buried in dirt and rubble
1.5 Millionth car was buried in dirt and rubble

“While the car appears to be in really rough condition, most of the major components are still there and provide a great base to work off of (for restoration),” said Adam Boca, who represents the National Corvette Museum Insurance Agency and also is a member of the Museum’s Display Committee.

The National Corvette Museum purchased the milestone 1.5 Millionth Corvette brand new to preserve its place in history.  It was built just across the road from the museum at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant on May 28, 2009. It is a white convertible with red interior, a small nod to the first 300 Corvettes built in 1953 in Flint, Mich.

The 1.5 Millionth is fully optioned with the 3LT Preferred Equipment Group, Z51 Performance Package, Dual Mode Performance Exhaust, Navigation, and 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with Paddle Shift.

The rescue of the 1.5 Millionth car leaves only the Mallett Hammer in the hole.

The museum also announced Thursday that the “sinkhole Corvettes” will be displayed in the museum’s Exhibit Hall through August 3. Then they will be moved into a restored Skydome through the museum’s 20th anniversary event August 27-30.

After that, they are scheduled to be transported to Michigan for restoration by General Motors.

You can watch the search for the last of the eight cars via the live camera feed of the work in the sinkhole.

The sinkhole recovery isn’t the only major project at the museum. Across the street, paving of the new NCM Motorsports Park is progressing on schedule.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
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.

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