General Motors Tuesday showed off their restoration progress on the 1 millionth Corvette which fell into the National Corvette Museum sinkhole in February 2014. This is the first time the car has been seen by the public since it left the museum in April of this year. They plan to have all of the work completed in time to return it to the NCM for their 21st birthday celebration Labor Day weekend.
On July 2nd, 1992 a white on red convertible Corvette rolled off the end of the Bowling Green assembly line. It was a milestone in the history of Corvette – the 1 millionth car built. Its colors mimicked the original 1953 Corvettes and the event was celebrated by the likes of Duntov, McLellan, and others. When the National Corvette Museum opened up a couple years later, it was inevitable that this car would be inside. Then on February 12th, 2014, another chapter was written in the cars’ history when it became one of the eight cars swallowed up by the now famous sinkhole. Roughly 3 weeks later on March 5th the car was exhumed from its rocky grave and displayed alongside the other 7 recovered cars. In April of this year the 1 millionth Corvette was delivered to Warren, MI where GM would oversee the restoration of this significant vehicle.
The restoration update took place in the Mechanical Assembly portion of the GM Design building. Mechanical Assembly is special area used for unique projects like concept car builds and restoration and maintenance of cars from the GM Heritage Collection. The room is neat and tidy like an operating room. The walls are covered with photos of the great GM styling and production cars of the past. It was a natural fit for the sink hole Corvettes to get repaired here. The 1 millionth Corvette sat centered in the room between the 1959 Corvette Stingray racer and the Buick Y Job concept. Many of the damaged pieces removed from the car were displayed alongside chunks of rocks and stones taken from inside the car. Many of those parts still wore the red Kentucky soil in which they were buried.
GM’s Vice President of Design Ed Welburn, Mechanical Assembly boss David Bolognino, and the repair team led an informal discussion through the progress to date and the next steps in the journey.
The process of resurrecting the 1 millionth Corvette about half way done. The frame has been straightened and the windshield frame has been returned it is original position. It now holds new glass. The vehicle is largely dissembled ready for each of the teams to complete their work. The emphasis is to save as many of the original pieces as possible. Only fix what needs it and preserve the history that was made back in early July 1992. This isn’t just a matter of straightening and repainting parts. It’s about saving all of the hundreds of signatures on the car that are the names of all of the line workers who helped assemble it. The names are everywhere: under the rear deck, the wheel wells, and even the floor boards. As an example only 1 portion of 1 of the passenger seat bolsters will be replaced. The remainder of the seat will be steamed and carefully cleaned in order to return the leather to its original condition. A portion of the dash will be rebuilt around a signature and then wrapped in new leather which will match the original. A ton of work has been completed on the car and a ton still remains.
The plan is to return the car to the National Corvette Museum for the 21st Birthday event this coming Labor Day weekend. What a better birthday gift than to get back one of the most significant Corvettes of time.
Here’s closer look at the current state of the 1 millionth Corvette produced.
The National Corvette Museum was also there to check on the progress of the 1 Millionth Corvette’s restoration and they shared this video:
General Motors to Restore the 1992 ‘One Millionth’ Corvette Rescued from Sinkhole
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