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Globe Drive In photos: Chevy finishes restoring one millionth Corvette after sinkhole damage

When a sinkhole opened up underneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky last year, it swallowed the one millionth Corvette the rolled off the assembly line – a white 1992 model. The fall made the iconic sports car look more like a pancake. Now, after more than four months and 1,200 man hours the restoration is complete. “We felt it was important to restore this extremely significant car in Corvette’s long, storied history,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president, in a statement. “When we disassembled it, we found that each employee involved in building it had signed part of the car, which was fantastic and moving to see. It brought the history to life, and reinforced the importance of the project.” Only two of the signed components could be saved, so the craftspeople scanned the autographs and printed them on the replacement parts. The hood, front fascia, front wheels, doors and a number of components under the hood were all replaced. Globe Drive columnist Peter Cheney visited the museum late last year, writing how monthly attendance jumped 70 per cent owing to the publicity generated by the sinkhole. Security cameras captured the sinkhole swallowing the eight Corvettes on Feb. 12, 2014. The museum’s video on YouTube and has been viewed more than 8.5 million times. The sinkhole, measuring 14-by-18 metres and nine metres deep, pulled down the floor of the museum’s Skydome area. Five of the eight damaged cars are to remain in “as-recovered state” and be displayed at a sinkhole-themed exhibit. They are: 1993 ZR-1 Spyder 1984 PPG pace car 1993 40th anniversary Corvette 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette. The 1.5 millionth Corvette and Mallet Z06 were the last cars pulled from the sinkhole, on April 3 and April 9 last year. GM says they were buried, and it took a while to find them.

After more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship, restoration of the milestone 1 millionth Corvette – a white 1992 convertible – is complete and the car is unveiled Thursday, Sept. 3.

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Chevrolet unveiled the restored 1-millionth Corvette.

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Chevrolet unveiled the restored 1-millionth Corvette.

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During the restoration of the 1-millionth Corvette, the 1992 Corvette damaged in the sinkhole disaster at the National Corvette Museum, Chevrolet found hundreds of workers’ signatures on the vehicle from workers during its production at the Bowling Green Assembly plant. Chevrolet was able to save all of the signatures except for one - from retired General Motors employee Angela Lamb, who recreates her signature on a panel of the car before it is reattached - to complete the restoration process Thursday, Sept. 3.

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General Motors Global Design Fabrication Operations Director David Bolognino attaches the final panel to complete the restoration the 1-millionth Corvette Thursday, September 3, 2015 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The historic vehicle was damaged in the sinkhole disaster at the National Corvette Museum in February of 2014. Bolognino oversaw the restoration - more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship.

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Chevrolet unveiled the restored 1-millionth Corvette.

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Chevrolet unveiled the restored 1-millionth Corvette.

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On July 2, 1992, the 1 millionth Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky. It featured a white exterior, a black convertible top and a red interior, just like the first production Corvette in 1953.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky., on Feb. 12, 2014. Completion of the project is scheduled for September.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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National Corvette Museum photo shows a sink hole that swallowed eight Corvettes in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

National Corvette Museum/REUTERS

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky., on Feb. 12, 2014. Completion of the project is scheduled for September.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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Restoration is underway on the 1-millionth Corvette, a 1992 convertible, that was damaged in the sinkhole that opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum.

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