One year after it was among eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole that opened beneath the Skydome, the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” was fully restored and back at the National Corvette Museum.
“General Motors came forward the day after the sinkhole collapse and offered their support in restoring the cars,” said Wendell Strode, the museum’s executive director.
Experts at the GM Design Center in Michigan restored the “Blue Devil” Corvette and recently began restoration work on the 1992 “One Millionth” Corvette that also was damaged when the Skydome floor collapsed into the abyss. That car is expected to be returned to the museum this summer.
Meanwhile, the museum is working with a private Corvette restoration shop on the repairs needed to the 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette.
Not all of the damaged cars are being restored, in part to commemorate the sinkhole and to show its power, in part because five of them were deemed too badly damaged to be restored. However, all eight cars are schedule to be back on display in the museum this year.
Repairs within and beneath the Skydome continue. The sinkhole has been filled — with 3,976.98 tons of stone — and the floor is back to original level. Museum visitors can watch the ongoing progress through a Plexiglas window.
The museum also is working with Creative Arts Unlimited of Pinellas Park, Florida, to develop an exhibition that will tell future visitors the sinkhole story.
“The construction team installed a manhole which leads into one side of our cave,” said Katie Frassinelli, the museum’s communications manager. “The exhibit will incorporate a kiosk which connects to a camera and lights inside the cave, allowing visitors a live view of what lies beneath their feet. The exhibit should be educational and entertaining with plenty of hands-on and interactive features.”
The return of the Blue Devil included a lemonade toast.
“Everyone has joked that the museum ‘made lemonade’ out of this situation, so we thought it fitting to end our ceremony with a lemonade toast to continued good fortune for the museum,” Frassinelli said in a news release.