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GM Finishes Restoration of 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Damaged by Sinkhole

Automobile logo Automobile 2015-09-03 Conner Golden
GM Finishes Restoration of 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Damaged by Sinkhole

Tragedy struck the National Corvette Museum early last year when an enormous sinkhole opened up underneath the floor and swallowed eight significant Corvettes on display. All cars in question were damaged in some way, with some in worse shape than others. Some of the cars were extremely historically significant, including a white 1992 C4 Corvette Convertible that was the one millionth Corvette to roll of the assembly line. After the cars were recovered from the sinkhole, General Motors decided to restore two of the cars to their original condition.

Despite the relatively short-distance fall into the sinkhole, the 1992 Corvette sustained extensive damage. On the exterior of the car, the hood, front fascia and lower front panels were replaced with parts sourced from other white 1992 Corvettes, ensuring accuracy. The front subframe required repair, along with reconditioning the wheels. After the wheel repairs, the restoration team was able to fit the wheels with the original Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires. Thankfully, the 5.7-liter V-8 and transmission were found to be unscathed from the tumble.

1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sinkhole Resto Interior © Provided by Automobile 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sinkhole Resto Interior

When the 1992 Chevrolet Corvette was first assessed by the restoration team, they found the car was covered in signatures from the workers who originally built the car. Extreme attention and respect was given to the signatures, and care was made to ensure all remained exactly on the car as when it came from the assembly floor. Where some parts would usually be scrapped, like the exhaust, the signatures were retained and the part was restored. Where the part was unable to be salvaged, the autograph was scanned and reproduced on the new parts. One particular component signed by Bowling Green assembly employee Angela Lamb was beyond both repair and scanning, so GM procured a brand-new signature from Lamb herself.

One of the coolest moments from the restoration was the recreation of the “1,000,000th” windshield banner, which was destroyed when the windshield was smashed in the fall. As luck would have it, the original computer file for the banner was still saved somewhere in the archives, so GM was able to recreate it flawlessly following the original plans.

The 1992 Chevrolet Corvette is the second and final sinkhole Corvette restored by GM, with the first being the historic 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype. While the museum itself is overseeing the restoration of a third car, the five remaining cars will be installed in a new sinkhole-themed display, preserving the historic importance of the event.

Sinkhole images courtesy National Corvette Museum.

1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sinkhole Resto Side © Provided by Automobile 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sinkhole Resto Side
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