The owners of the Corvette resting at the bottom of the pile in the shocking sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum say they’re not sorry they donated their 2001 Mallett Hammer Conversion Z06 just six weeks ago.
Kevin and Linda Helmintoller made the trip to Bowling Green on Saturday to see firsthand the sinkhole that ate their car, which appears to be the lowest in the stack of eight Corvettes that suddenly tumbled into the earth on Wednesday.
Kevin is afraid there may not be much left now of the red Z06 that they had heavily modified since buying it in 2001 and driven on several racetracks on the East Coast.
“I still have my doubts about mine because it’s just so deep in the hole,” he told the Bowling Green Daily-News.
Still, he says he has no regrets about making the gift.
“It definitely hurts, and I’ve cried,” he admitted. “There’s no question I’m definitely upset, but there’s no way to conceive of anything like this.”
Fortunately, the Helmintollers didn’t have to suffer the agony of watching their car go down in the hole as power to the security cameras that recorded the incident went off before that happened.
“I think I feel better about not seeing it go in,” Kevin said.
The couple had decided to donate the car to the museum because it was so powerful it was getting difficult to drive on the street and felt that the museum would be a great place to share it with others.
The museum “would care about it as much as we do,” Linda said.
Ironically, when she got the call about the collapse, Linda was wearing the same clothes she had on when they had donated the car at the museum.
“It was just surreal. Everything about it is surreal,” she said. “How do you plan for anything like this?”
Helping to ease the pain of knowing their car was swallowed by the earth, however, is the fact that the Helmintollers are on the waiting list to get a new 2014 Stingray.
That one will be the 10th Corvette Kevin has owned since he fell in love with the car at age 16 when he drove his aunt’s 1980 model.
“I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said. “From that moment on, I said ‘I’m going to own one of these.’ ”
Now he can say he donated to the museum perhaps the most famous 2001 Corvette ever made.
BG Daily News
Photo Credit: Alex Slitz/Daily News
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