Valuable $1 million Corvette restored after sinkhole

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BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©RACERZ

Exactly four years ago, a massive sinkhole appeared directly under the Kentucky Corvette museumswallowing eight of the rarest and most special Corvettes on Earth. Kentucky is one of the many states that is notable for having karst topography. Karst topography is the landscape that is formed from the dissolving of rocks such as limestone.

In the museum’s case, the sinkhole was caused by the dissolving of the limestone in the ground which caused pockets to open underneath the surface. Eventually, the weight of the building caused the top layer of soil to collapse.

Eight rare and one-of-a-kind Corvettes, portions of the display stands and rails, large concrete floor slabs and dirt fell into the sinkhole, causing serious damage to some of the Corvettes. The Corvettes involved have an estimated value millions of dollars.

After more than four months and 1.200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship, restoration of the milestone 1-millionth Corvette– a white 1992 convertible – was complete.

It was unveiled at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, where it returns as part of the permanent exhibit. The car was damaged on Feb. 12, 2014, when it and seven other rare Corvettes tumbled into a sinkhole that opened beneath the museum’s Skydome area.

Restorers faced a dilemma for every damaged part on the car: using replacement parts to repair the damage threatened to reduce the car’s overall historic significance. Choices about which original parts were too damaged to save were crucial.