The Man Whose Donated Mallet Hammer Fell Into the Corvette Museum’s Sinkhole Gets a 2015 Corvette Z06


When Kevin Helmintoller donated his 2001 Mallet Hammer Corvette Z06 to the National Corvette Museum in late 2013, never in a million years would he have believed that the car would be lost a few months later in a catastrophic accident. But on the morning of February 12th this year, the ground gave way under the Corvette Museum’s SkyDome and swallowed eight Corvettes, the first being Helmintoller’s donated Z06.

Helmintoller, a resident of Florida who resides about an hour north of Tampa, rushed to the scene a few days later and could only gaze down upon the hole that took his Corvette. At that time, only three of the eight Corvettes were visible. The rest laid underneath a pile of rubble and broken concrete.

Of the eight Corvettes lost in the sinkhole, none was more messed up than the 2001 Mallet Hammer. At first everyone held out hope that all eight Corvettes could be restored, but they just don’t make the kind of tools that could fix the damage caused by the tons of rock that fell onto the car.

Man Whose Donated Mallet Hammer Fell Into Corvette Museum's Sinkhole Gets a 2015 Corvette Z06
2001 Mallet Hammer. Photo Credit: National Corvette Museum

Kevin’s love affair with America’s sports car began early in life. Over the course of his lifetime, he has owned 10 Corvettes. This summer he was without a Corvette in garage for the first time since 1996.

“I was never without a Corvette until I donated that one, then sold another one,” he told the Pasco Tribune in a recent interview. “At that point, I was without one for the first time since 1996.”

Last week, the 50 year old corporate accountant was back in Bowling Green at the National Corvette Museum, but this time it was for a much happier occasion than his previous visits this year.

Kevin and his wife Linda were on hand to take delivery of a brand new 2015 Corvette Z06, a Torch Red Coupe with the Z07 Performance Package.

“The C7 series has arguably the most dramatic changes Corvette has ever made, from generation to generation,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s really about the first time you would say the lines or body panels are approaching a super-car appearance.” Kevin added, “The car has always generally performed that way, but compared to some of the really sleek European cars, it’s not that impressive, but this one really is.”

“It has the most aggressive aerodynamics and has the meanest look,” he said, “Production of it was completed just before Thanksgiving.”

As part of the R8C Museum delivery process, Kevin and Linda took an owner’s tour of the Corvette Assembly Plant located across the street from the NCM. They also took a two hour of the Museum where they saw construction workers preparing the sinkhole to be filled in with steel, concrete and fill-dirt.

So what’s in the future for the Helmintollers? Kevin said he is looking forward to testing the new supercharged Corvette Z06 during an HPDE at Sebring International Raceway in the near future.

Pasco Tribue
Photo Credits: National Corvette Museum

[VIDEO] 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Retrieved from the Corvette Museum’s Sinkhole
Couple Visits Corvette Museum to See the Sinkhole that Swallowed their Donated 2001 Corvette Z06
These are the Eight Corvettes that Fell into the Corvette Museum’s Sinkhole