This 1962 model will be restored at some point. GM has passed over its restoration because it is too old for them to handle. A privateer restorer will be tasked the job at a later date. The other two cars being restored are the Millionth Corvette and the Blue Devil ZR1, both by GM. The Blue Devil’s restoration is already complete and is now on display as part of the museum’s permanent sinkhole exhibit (though sadly this car was still stashed away when we visited). The Millionth Corvette is still undergoing its restoration.
At one point this was a 1993 ZR-1 Spider. Chevrolet built this as a concept car of a ZR-1 convertible. Sadly that car never made it into production. This however is one of the few concept cars that was built from the production line and sported a custom hood and fenders, unique to this car. The workers who helped build and design this car even signed it. This was the last car pulled from the sinkhole and as you can see…well there’s nothing left. This car was absolutely destroyed by the sinkhole.
Beneath the dirt and twisted metal you can still see some of those signatures on this car. It’s really hard to believe this hulk of filthy scrap was once a prized and valuable Corvette. Nature can be quite the cruel mistress. We searched the museum for the other wrecked Corvettes (the 1984 PPG Pace Car and the Mallet Hammer Corvette), but neither were on display when we visited.
It seems rather unfitting to end this piece on such a sad note. So instead, let’s rewind a bit to the entrance hall of the museum. The first thing you see when you walk in is a row of brand new Corvettes. All of these cars have been sold and are waiting for their owners to arrive and drive off with their brand new sports car. Each one is cordoned off with velvet ropes with a sign detailing each car and naming the owner. This is just one of the many ways the Corvette Museum strives to make each Corvette owner feel special and to make each car unique. The Museum understands that to the owners, these aren’t just machines: they are family members and in many cases the culmination of a lifelong dream.
A dozen brand new ‘Vettes, all waiting on their new owners to pick them up. That’s right, the people who bought these cars will be travelling to the museum (who gets the cars directly from the factory right up the road) to take delivery of their near six figure sports car. More than half of the cars you see here are Z06 cars as well…talk about some serious machinery. At the end of the hall you’ll notice the Corvette Café. The food is typical diner food and actually quite good (albeit a bit overpriced). Despite battling food poisoning when I went, I still enjoyed my lunch in the Café.
When you order a brand new Corvette you can spec option R8C. This option specifies that your Corvette will be delivered to the museum, where it will be inspected and detailed for you. It will then be put on display in the entrance hall to await your arrival. You then travel to the museum where you will be given a tour and can take delivery of your brand new car (presumably to embark on an epic cross-country road trip home in your dream car). Any new Corvette can have this option added to it. This is the only American car where you can pick your car up from the factory (well technically the museum across the street from the factory). Factory tours and a walk through the Corvette archive can also be scheduled. There are many fandoms in the automotive world, but it seems this is one of the most fanatical.
If you are a fan of the Chevrolet Corvette, the museum is the absolute mecca of all things ‘Vette and a must see. For the casual ‘Vette fan, or even just the regular automotive enthusiast, the Corvette Museum is still a wonderful time. I would highly encourage a visit if you’re in the Bowling Green area. And if you are smitten with the urge to buy a Corvette of your own, there is a showroom just up the road that stocks just about every generation of Corvette ever made. The Corvette has been an automotive icon for 62 years: here’s to many more decades of success to THE American sports car.