The eight cars swallowed up when a sinkhole erupted in the middle of the National Corvette Museum earlier this week will be sent to General Motors Design's Mechanical Assembly, which handles restorations for the GM Heritage Collection, in Warren, MI for full restorations. Vice President of Design, Ed Welburn, will oversee the process.

"The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history," said General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Mark Reuss. "There can only be one one-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens."

As for the museum itself, authorities say the damage caused by the sinkhole is repairable, and the building's structure and foundation remain in good shape. Recovery of the fallen vehicles can't begin, though, until engineers stabilize the area around the sinkhole, which could take a few weeks. Following that, it's expected to take four to six days to recover all eight cars.

A timeline for the total repair of the facility hasn't really been detailed, although in a press release, Executive Director Wendell Strode said is confident the museum will be ready to host its 20th anniversary celebration in August. "You won't even know that this happened," Strode said.

Scroll down for the full press release on the restoration from GM as well as a news brief from the NCM, and click here if you'd like to donate to the museum's repair efforts.
Show full PR text
Chevrolet to Oversee Restoration of Historic Corvettes
Museum cars damaged in sinkhole collapse will be shipped to Warren Mich.

DETROIT – To help the National Corvette Museum recover from the massive sinkhole that opened under the facility this week, Chevrolet will oversee restoration of the Corvettes damaged. General Motors Design in Warren, Mich., will lead the project.

"The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. "There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens."

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, will oversee the restoration.

When the cars are recovered, they will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within GM Design, where the best restoration approach will be determined. Mechanical Assembly has been part of GM Design since the 1930s, and today maintains and restores many of the vehicles in the GM Heritage Collection and GM's historic concept cars.

The National Corvette Museum is independently owned, and supported solely by charitable donations from enthusiasts. It is currently accepting donations on its website to assist in refurbishing the facility. Donations are tax-deductible.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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Timeline Set for Sinkhole Repair and Car Recovery

During a press conference today on Corvette Boulevard, Mike Murphy with Scott, Murphy & Daniel construction provided an update and timeline on the work to be done.

Highlights of the press conference include:

- This is very common for this area, what's not common is for a sinkhole to swallow eight Corvettes.
- It is repairable. The building foundation and structure is in good condition.
- They will be securing the sinkhole and surrounding areas to ensure that even if we have sinkholes on the property in the future it will not affect the Museum.
- It will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize and secure the area (red spire, walls of the sinkhole) then the process of vehicle recovery will begin.
- They will be making sure the sinkhole is safe and that no further damage will occur before starting vehicle recovery.
- It will take 4-6 days to retrieve the vehicles
- After that, they will replace earth and the floor system
- They have a good plan and it takes action tomorrow with no problems foreseen

"We are confident that it will be done in time for the Museum's 20th Anniversary Celebration in August. You won't even know that this has happened," said Wendell Strode, Museum Executive Director


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  • 26 Comments
      Jaybird248
      • 10 Months Ago
      Props to GM for making this offer. But that's as it should be. After all, it's part of GM's history that the museum preserves.
      usa1
      • 10 Months Ago
      Glad to hear they have a clear plan to fix the cars and museum. I've been there twice and it's a great visit, especially when combined with a factory tour. Worth a trip, regardless of your brand preferences.
      BipDBo
      • 10 Months Ago
      I would like to know if they are doing geological tests in surrounding areas. Somebody over at GM is likely worrying that there might be a cavity under the Corvette assembly facility. It would be very inconvenient to have such a problem while they're trying to roll out the new model.
      jc
      • 10 Months Ago
      I find it hard to believe there is no apparent use of rebar in the floor slab, except at the stairs... Am I missing something?
      Yoggie
      • 10 Months Ago
      I think they should leave the 1 Million car in its damaged state as a cool reminder of the sinkhole
      rmt_1
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've been following the story since I first heard about it, but I haven't heard a clear explanation over what caused the sinkhole. I know water is the most common underlying cause for them by creating fissures in the ground stratum when water washes away loose soil between layers of rock, thus causing the voids that will eventually collapse. If the cause for the Corvette Museum sinkhole is indeed water, then where did it come from? Broken water main or pipe? Underground river? Rain or melting snow seeping into the ground beneath the museum? Whatever the source of the water may determine whether or not the Corvette Museum will have to be eventually relocated.
        Lynne Mysliwiec
        • 10 Months Ago
        @rmt_1
        It's from rainfall draining into the ground and making its way to aquifers -- and there has been a wicked lot of it in KY over the last 13 years -- even a 500-year rain event.
      groingo
      • 10 Months Ago
      They might use rebar in the floor this time, had they in the first place no cars would have been damaged, check the drone video's, there was no rebar in the floors as would be required in 99% of the buildings in the US, this place was done on the cheap for sure.
        BipDBo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @groingo
        Look again. There is rebar and steel wire webbing. No way to tell, but the concrete may also have fibers. It's not extensive, but this looks very typical of concrete slab on grade construction, compliant with the code, which is likely IBC (International). More rebar would not have prevented this collapse. Perhaps the floor would have stood up for longer if it was a post tension slab, but we just don't build floors like that on grade. That would be an absurd waste of money. I say, "stood up for longer," because the problem would have just gone unnoticed as the cavity grew until it undermined the buildings foundations and eventually caused a much more sever collapse.
          Aaron N
          • 10 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Don't worry about groingo. He seems to always make himself look like an a** every time he comments.
        delsolo1
        • 10 Months Ago
        @groingo
        Red states don't believe in building codes.
      jbserra
      • 10 Months Ago
      General Motors Design's Mechanical Assembly is excited they just got 8 new contracts! That's got to help revenue.
        jbserra
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jbserra
        My point was, this incident is actually going to improve GMs revenue since they will perform the restorations themselves using the paycheck from the insurance company. It wasn't a knock and I'm not happy these cars were harmed, but was simply pointing out the irony.
        BipDBo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jbserra
        I just don't know how in the world they are going to repair some of those car that are extensively buried in tons of concrete and soil. They might not have very many original parts remaining in the restored vehicle. I guess of they can salvage the serial number plates, that's all they'll really need to roll something back onto the museum floor.
          EXP Jawa
          • 10 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Simply, GM is in a position to remake any number of the parts that are one-off. Maybe they won't be the parts that were custom made the first time around, or perhaps the specific panel used at the time of original production, but that's how it is when restoring a vehicle. In some cases, you can argue that leaving the car as-found, if its intact enough, is preferable. This isn't going to be one of those times. If its a period correct part or an exact duplicate of a one-off part is used, how does it really matter? If the basic car is saved, then its a win.
      carbon_rider
      • 10 Months Ago
      What will CarFax say after the repairs? \"Damaged in sinkhole?\"
        BipDBo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @carbon_rider
        I don't think that anyone's going to pull a carfax on any of these cars. Even if they did, nothing would show up. Carfax reports damages reported to state agencies. When an auto insurance company fulfills a damage claim, they are supposed to report it to the state, but this doesn't always happen. I once bought a car that had a clean carfax, was owned by a single private owner, but later found it had extensive body and structural repairs, and they weren't done particularly well, either. Self-insured companies like fleet owners and rental companies just repair the cars with their own employees, and no report is filed. Also, sometimes a blemish on a carfax can mean something extremely small and inconsequential, like a windshield or bumper replacement. It's nearly impossible to tell the severity by the vague descriptions A clean carfax often does not mean a clear vehicle history, and a blemished carfax often doesn't mean it's junk. In short, Carfax sucks.
          dovegraybird
          • 10 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Very true....once I had a guy back into my car when it was parked....very little damage, but after a new bumper cover and tail light assembly the carfax report killed the trade in value.
      Jamie Houk
      • 10 Months Ago
      Looking at the museum on Google maps I noticed that there is a large drainage pond on the museum site near the area that collapsed. I have to wonder where that pond drains because I do not see an outlet.
      David
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is not too far from the Mammoth cave area. Did some ground soundings get done before the construction began?
      Martin Leclerc
      • 10 Months Ago
      What I'd like to know is the CAUSE of that hole??? How did that happen??
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Martin Leclerc
        The same thing that causes all of them. Water dissolves a rock (limestone in KY) and creates caves, that then allow the upper soil to fall in. The whole South pretty must sits on top of a cave system, and occasionally that creates a sinkhole.
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