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Last Corvette pulled from museum sinkhole will need some extra TLC

Justin Hyde
April 9, 2014

Since the Kentucky earth opened up beneath the display dome of the National Corvette Museum in February, workers have been carefully retrieving the eight classic Vettes that fell into the chasm. As they've gone from the top down, each car retrieved has seen a bit more damage. Today, the museum pulled out the car at the bottom of the pile. That is not going to buff right out.

This car was known as a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06, which had been donated to the museum just a few months before the collapse. Its owners, Kevin and Linda Helmintoller, spent more than a decade customizing the Vette before offering it to the museum. According to the museum, when word came that workers had found his car, Kevin Helmintoller drove from Florida to see it recovered.

"I expected bad, but it's 100 times worse," he told the museum's staff. "It looks like a piece of tin foil... and it had a roll cage in it! It makes all the other cars look like they're brand new."

General Motors executives have vowed to restore all eight of the damaged Corvettes, although there may not be enough of the Mallett left to make anything but a new 2001 model. The museum will have the eight cars that fell into the hole on display through August.

Photo: National Corvette Museum