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Posted: February 12, 2014

Remote-controlled Bobcats fill sinkhole that swallowed Corvettes

Chevrolet to restore vintage vehicles

Cox Media Group Web Staff

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. —

The sinkhole at Kentucky's National Corvette Museum is filling up quickly. Construction workers are using remote-controlled Bobcats to smooth gravel as it's poured into the hole.

The museum released security video last February that captured the moment when a sinkhole ate away at the floor beneath highly valuable vintage cars.

The sinkhole damaged several cars there but did not shut down the whole facility.

Louisville TV station WHAS reported that the sinkhole was around 40 feet wide and 20-30 feet deep and damaged eight cars.

The hole opened in part of the domed section of the museum, and that area remained closed.

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Chevrolet said it would oversee restoration of the classic cars that were swallowed. General Motors Design in Warren, Michigan, took on the job of managing the painstaking work to repair the eight prize vehicles.

Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development, said the damaged vehicles rank as "some of the most significant in automotive history."

"There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built," he said, referring to one of the damaged cars. "We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them."

The GM Design team has helped restore other historic cars, but the Corvette project appeared to be its biggest, he said.

"These Corvettes are part of our history, and they want them restored properly," Strode said. "We're thrilled they're doing this."

The cars looked like toys as they plunged into the hole, piled in a heap amid dirt and concrete fragments. The museum owns six of the cars while two — a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil — were on loan from General Motors.

The other cars damaged were a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette and a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette.

Pictures of the sinkhole showed a collapsed section of floor with multiple cars visible inside the hole. A few feet away, other Corvettes sat undamaged. They were later removed from the damaged area.

Sinkholes are common in the Bowling Green area, which sits in the midst of the state's largest karst region, where many of Kentucky's largest and deepest caves run underground.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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