The 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil being lifted out of the sinkhole
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The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil Drives Away from the Sinkhole! (Video)

Finally the people at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green Kentucky had some good news today as the first of the historic Corvettes to be swallowed by the sinkhole has been exacted – marking the start of a careful auto-archeological dig that is expected to take several weeks.

As expected, the company responsible for removing the 8 Corvettes swallowed by a sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum officially began the extraction process today as the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil prototype touched down on firm ground for the first time since the floor gave way a few weeks back. Most impressively, after plunging some 40 feet into a pile of dirt, building debris and historic Corvettes, this 624 horsepower monster started up and drove the final few feet away from the sinkhole after being set down by the crane.

As has been the case throughout this entire disaster, the National Corvette Museum has offered video of the latest step of the recovery process and you can watch the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil in the video below. As you can see, the team used a harness setup that was suspended above the Corvette with a heavy duty strap extending down from each corner of the harness to each one of the ZR1’s wheels. The extraction team also added safety straps under the car in case the wheels could not bear the weight of the Corvette while it was lifted out of the hole, but the wheels did indeed hold up long enough to get the Blue Devil prototype up and out of the sinkhole.

Once the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil was set on the reinforced floor of the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome, a member of the team climbed into the driver’s seat with a crowd of construction workers, museum employees and local media gathered round. The Corvette ZR1 was cranked a few times before starting, but it did start – and it was still in good enough running order to drive the final few feet to the exit of the Skydome.

Now that the Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil is out of the sinkhole, it will be the first car from the disaster placed in a new sinkhole display that the museum organizers will build over the next couple weeks. As each Corvette is removed from the hole in the floor, it will be moved to the exhibit alongside the Blue Devil and once they are all out of the hole, they will be on display until August 3rd 2014. When that unique display closes, the fallen Corvettes – known now as “The Great Eight” – will be shipped to Michigan for a full repair at the hands of GMs restoration team.

After the team lifted the 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil to safety, they all went to lunch, but they will begin the extraction process of the 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Edition Corvette that ended up next to the Blue Devil. The Ruby Red ’93 Vette is upside down so removing that car could be more time consuming than was the extraction process for the Blue Devil. Once the 40th Anniversary Corvette is out of the hole – the team will begin the painful process of removing the 1962 Corvette which is currently pinned down by a 5 ton slab of concrete. The team expects to have the ’62 out of the hole by Wednesdays and after that, they will survey what is left and begin the planning process to remove the next of the 8 fallen Corvettes.

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Comments

What good fortune that at least one Corvette has been recovered in a drivable condition! Having owned a 66 Better I felt heartbroken when the sinkhole occurred. Someday I will have the chance to see the complete museum.