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National Corvette Museum begins restoration of final sinkhole-damaged Corvette

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Moving the ’62 Corvette off the Skydome floor on February 9. Photos courtesy National Corvette Museum.

In the three years since the February 12, 2014, sinkhole collapse of the Skydome floor at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, two of the eight cars damaged have been restored. Another five had been deemed beyond repair, which left the 1962 Corvette donated to the museum in 2011 by David Donoho as the sole rescued car awaiting restoration. In honor of the third anniversary of the sinkhole opening, the museum has announced that the on-site restoration of the ’62 Corvette has begun, and the year-long process will give visitors a chance to witness the car’s rebirth firsthand.

Rescuing the ’62 from the sinkhole in February of 2014.

Of the Corvettes involved in disaster, only the 2008 ZR1 Blue Devil prototype and the 1992 millionth-built (a white convertible with a red leather interior) have been restored, both by General Motors at its Heritage Center. Restoring the 1992 convertible became infinitely more complicated when disassembly revealed the signatures of line workers originally involved in the car’s construction. Wherever possible, GM tracked down the employees to sign replacement panels, while other signatures were recreated digitally.

1962 Corvette

As pulled from the pit.

The Corvettes deemed unrepairable were a 1984 PPG Indy Car World Series Pace Car; a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder; a 1993 40th Anniversary coupe; a 2001 Mallet Hammer Z06; and a 2009 convertible, the 1.5-millionth Corvette assembled. All have since been preserved in their “as recovered” state, and remain on display in the rebuilt Skydome.

Last March, the museum expanded its maintenance department, enlarging the space to allow for in-house preservation and restoration projects. At the time, it was announced that the museum would restore the sinkhole-damaged 1962 Corvette in-house, and on February 9, the car was moved from the Skydome display area to the maintenance garage to begin the process.

While much of the restorative work will be tackled by the museum’s staff, including vehicle maintenance and preservation coordinator Daniel Decker, some tasks (such as straightening the car’s frame, tweaked in the collapse) will be farmed out to specialist shops. Visitors to the museum will be able to watch any work taking place on-site, and the museum hopes this now-famous Corvette’s restoration will prove to be a popular exhibit.

1962 Corvette

As donated to the museum by benefactor David Donoho in 2011.

Repairs are expected to run $25,000 for the parts, materials and outside labor needed to return the Corvette to its as-donated condition. While General Motors won’t be restoring this particular Corvette for the museum, it has agreed to pay the costs associated with the car’s rebirth.

For more on the National Corvette Museum, or the restoration of the 1962 Corvette, visit