When Humpty Dumpty took his big tumble a few years back, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. Well, the King obviously didn’t choose the right people for the job—he should have contacted the talented craft workers of the Design Fabrication Operation at General Motors’ Global Design Center in Warren, Mich.
You see, in addition to their normal duties fabricating and assembling many of GM’s top design study vehicles and futuristic show cars, they have undertaken a task akin to putting Humpty back together—restoring to its previous glory, the 1 Millionth Corvette convertible that was heavily damaged when it was swallowed by the National Corvette Museum’s sinkhole back in February.
Operation head David Bolognino estimates that 20 to 25 employees on his team from the body shop, paint shop, metal shop, molding shop and trim shop will be involved in the work, plus others from within GM and outside the company. He thinks it could take about six months, or “however long it takes to make sure it’s done right.” The difficulty arises in trying to preserve the authenticity of the car by repairing, rather than replacing, as many parts as possible. “The parts we have a choice on, we will always err on repairing them,” he said.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
The car is still covered in the dirt, gravel and cement dust as it was when it was pulled out of the 30-foot deep sinkhole. The rear suspension is heavily damaged, the right front corner of the car is smashed, the paint is chipped and scratched, and the windshield and its frame are flattened. Bolognino thinks the windshield frame will be the hardest to repair. “That’s part of the structure that goes all the way down into the door pillars.”
The white convertible with the red interior is the second sinkhole-damaged Corvette restored by GM, the first being the prototype 2009 ZR1, nicknamed the “Blue Devil”. That car was not as severely damaged as the 1 Millionth and is currently in storage while the NCM fills in the sinkhole, a $3.2 million project that is expected to be completed in July 2015.
Only one other car will be restored by the NCM, a black 1962 Corvette. The remaining five cars that have been deemed too damaged to be restored and will remain on display in their as-recovered state are:
- 1984 PPG pace car
- 1993 40th anniversary Corvette
- 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
- 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06
- 2009 1.5 Millionth Corvette
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that all goes well and that the 1 Millionth Corvette can make a triumphant return to the National Corvette Museum in all its glory.
[VIDEO] Sinkhole Repairs Progressing at the National Corvette Museum
[VIDEO] The 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil Returns Home to the National Corvette Museum
[PICS] GM Reveals Restored 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil from NCM Sinkhole at SEMA
[VIDEO] Corvette Museum Rescues the 1992 One Millionth Corvette from Sinkhole