First 2 Corvettes retrieved from sinkhole at museum

A 1993 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette is unstrapped from the crane that removed it from a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on Monday.

Photo credit: STEVE FECHT/CHEVROLET

2 of the 8 Corvettes swallowed Feb. 12 by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., were lifted out of the hole today and placed back in the showroom.

As a crowd of spectators cheered and thousands of viewers watched online, the 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil — one of 2 cars on loan from General Motors — and the 1993 Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition were lifted by a crane and placed at ground level.

The Blue Devil, which appears to have endured minor damage during its nearly 30-foot plunge, was driven about 20 feet to the museum’;s doorway, said Katie Frassinelli, a museum spokeswoman.

Video of the retrieval showed that the Ruby Red 40th anniversary edition sustained broken windows and severe damage to its front and rear.

A black 1962 model is scheduled to be retrieved Tuesday, but will be much “trickier” as a 5-ton slab of concrete rests on the front of the vehicle, the museum said.

2 cranes will be used to simultaneously lift the car and the concrete, the museum said.

Other Corvettes to be retrieved are a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, the other car on loan from GM; a 1984 PPG pace car; the 1-millionth Vette, built in 1992; a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06; and the 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette.

Recovery of the vehicles is expected to take through Aug. 3, Frassinelli said.

The museum plans to display each vehicle after it is recovered until all 8 are taken together to a small shop within GM Design in suburban Detroit for restoration.

Webcams are positioned around the sinkhole and pictures are available on the museum’;s Web site.

You can reach Andrew Thurlow at athurlow@crain.com.

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