The 1.5 Millionth Corvette is Out of the Sinkhole - Battered but Better than Others
The 1.5 millionth Chevrolet Corvette is a 2009 Convertible in white with silver stripes and having landed upside down in the sinkhole, the level of damage to the top of the car is almost expected. The windshield is crushed, the interior is destroyed and – like the PPG pace car – much of the upper rear end of the car has been ripped away. However, the 1.5 millionth Corvette still wears its original hood, front fascia and passenger side door along with the door frame for the driver’s side, minus the fiberglass outer panel. It also appears as though the headlights were claimed by the sinkhole, but all in all you can still tell that this was a C6 Corvette while the 93 ZR-1 Spyder was hardly recognizable as a Corvette.
It appears as though the 1.5 millionth Chevrolet Corvette built was lifted by the engine cradle like several other of the cars swallowed by the sinkhole. The team first used a set of tow straps to lift the car from its top-down position in the dirt, setting it down on its wheels on the pile of debris. Once upright, a set of straps was run under the front and rear of the car before being connected to a metal rack that lifted the car out of the hole in a nice, stable form so that they could easily set it down on a flatbed truck. The first video below shows the entire extraction process of the 1.5 millionth Corvette ever built.
Now that the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible is out of the hole, the final car hidden in the sinkhole debris is the 2001 Mallet Hammer. Shortly after removing the 1.5 millionth Corvette, the team unearthed what they believed was the corner of the Mallet Hammer, but further digging found that it was actually just the back end of the PPG pace car. There have also been some significant components of other buried Corvettes including the hood of the ZR-1 Spyder which was designed by the folks on the build team.
While this has been a slow and painful process, the extraction of the 8 sunken Corvettes has taken less time than originally expected. When the team first looked into the hole, it was said that it could take months to get them all out but after less than two months, all but one of the cars are out of the hole and moved into the special sinkhole display area. Once the Mallet Hammer is out of the hole, the team will begin focusing on the reinforcement of the ground needed to fix the floor of the National Corvette Museum Skydome.