• Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
When a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum opened up in Bowling Green, KY and gobbled up eight important examples of the American sports car in February, videos almost made it look like the hole picked the perfect spot to do the most damage to as many vehicles as possible. None of the cars made it away unharmed, but some were luckier than others. The Skydome sinkhole quickly became a national sensation, and Chevrolet smartly stepped in to offer restoration assistance with the damaged cars. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil shown above is the first such vehicle to complete its restoration process at the hands of the automaker.

The Blue Devil was one of the two examples to debut that supercharged monster Corvette in 2008, and it was on display on loan from Chevy itself when the sinkhole pulled the coupe in. However, the ZR1 was also the luckiest of the bunch because it was actually still drivable after being lifted out of the hole of debris.

Being drivable didn't mean that the 'Vette wasn't harmed, though. The Blue Devil suffered significant damage, including a cracked carbon fiber ground effects, cracked doors and a mangled passenger-side front fender. Mechanically, the car also had bent rear control arms and cracked oil lines. The work only took the restorers at the General Motors Heritage Center about six weeks to bring the ZR1 back to shining condition. Its first stop now is to go on display at this week's SEMA Show.

The Heritage Center's next restoration projects are the 1-millionth Corvette from 1992 and the 1962 Corvette from the sinkhole, but the other five cars will remain as they are. National Corvette Museum spokesperson Katie Frassinelli tells Autoblog that all of the cars are being removed from the Skydome for its repairs, and she notes that the museum is planning a grand reopening of the wing next July when it plans to put them back on display. Scroll down to see a video of how the Blue Devil looks now and read the announcement of its restoration.
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First Sinkhole Corvette Restored

Corvette ZR1 'Blue Devil' debuts at SEMA Show on way back to museum

LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet today unveiled the restored 2009 Corvette ZR1 that was damaged earlier this year when a sinkhole developed beneath the National Corvette Museum. It's on display this week at the SEMA Show, before heading back to the museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

The ZR1, nicknamed the "Blue Devil," is the first of the eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole to be restored. One of two show cars used to introduce the all-new Corvette ZR1 in January 2008, the car was on loan from Chevrolet to the National Corvette Museum when the sinkhole developed.

Museum personnel were alerted about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the facility on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 12. They arrived to find a sinkhole measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep – and it had swallowed eight Corvettes.

Three weeks later, the ZR1 was pulled out of the sinkhole. Despite falling nearly 30 feet, it started and drove out of the Skydome under its own power.

"After that unprecedented event, the ZR1 was the first car to be lifted out of the sinkhole," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports. "It was great to recover it, bring it back to Chevrolet and begin the restoration of this significant Corvette."

The ZR1 remained on display at the museum until September, when it was returned to Chevrolet for restoration. The damage included:
* Cracked carbon-fiber ground effects and a broken passenger-side rocker panel
* Damaged passenger front fender, as well as cracks in both doors
* Cracked windshield, hood window glass and passenger headlamp assembly
* Bent rear control arms on the driver's side
* Cracked oil lines to the supercharged LS9 engine's dry-sump oiling system.

Six weeks after work began, the restored ZR1 was started for the first time at the General Motors Heritage Center.

Two other cars will be restored next year – the 1-millionth Corvette and a 1962 Corvette – while the other five will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve their historical significance. They will become part of a future display at the museum.

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