WKU Public Radio News Staff
Thu February 13, 2014
Corvette Museum Begins Restoration Efforts; Will Enlist GM Help To Restore Cars
General Motors says it will oversee the restoration process for the eight sports cars that fell into a giant sinkhole Wednesday morning at the Corvette Museum. Bowling Green Corvette plant manager Jeff LaMarche says they won’t know the exact condition of the cars until they’re recovered.
“We know that these cars represent significant milestones – not just in our history in Chevrolet and General Motors but also in the automotive history. And nobody really has a better understanding of their significance and what it takes to properly restore these than the engineers and designers at Chevrolet where they were developed," said LaMarche.
The lead engineer for the reconstruction project says it will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize the ground around the sinkhole. After that, he says it will take 4-6 days to remove the cars. Museum officials say repairs will start Friday and they hope to have everything complete by August when the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary.
A team of experts assembled Thursday at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. They’re developing a plan for stabilizing the Skydome where eight classic cars fell into a sinkhole Wednesday.
Museum Director Wendell Strode isn’t sure when the cars will be removed.
"If you look at some of the pictures, you can see the red spire is not one hundred percent firm on soil," says Strode. "As it was worded to me, it's about thirty percent undermined, which means nothing underneath it, so the first plan of attack will be how do we stabilize that."
Strode says it’s too early to put a price tag on the fallen cars, but he’s heard estimates around $1 million.
The museum has retained local contractor Scott, Murphy, and Daniel for the recovery and rebuilding effort.
Strode is optimistic the work will be finished by the end of August in time for the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration and the opening of the Motorsports Park.
"Our hope is that this is all resolved by then and everything is back to normal, better and stronger than ever."