By on September 3, 2015

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Chevrolet finished work restoring its 1,000,000th Corvette after it was damaged in a Kentucky sinkhole that swallowed it — and other Corvettes — at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the automaker announced.

The celebratory 1992 Corvette had signatures on every part from auto workers at its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant. The restoration project included getting those signatures on refurbished parts, and on the two parts that couldn’t be saved, scanning and replicating the signatures.

The entire process took more than four months, and more than 1,200 man-hours to complete, according to Chevrolet. That works out to about two full-time employees working 40 hours a week, but it’s still very cool.

The details get better.

According to the automaker, several of the car’s interior pieces, including its headrests, needed significant work to be restored and were re-dyed to match.

The 1,000,000th banner across its windshield was re-printed using the original file from the first banner.

Other details:

  • Its wheels were damaged but refurbished and replaced with original Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires.
  • Its scuffed and scratched instrument panel wasn’t replaced, but refurbished to preserve signatures underneath it.
  • It’s chassis and powertrain were relatively unscathed from the attack by the earth.

Chevrolet didn’t provide an estimate for the total cost of restoration, or the value of the new car.

It also didn’t provide details about whether the process was documented because that would be instantly more interesting than anything currently running on the History Channel.

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36 Comments on “Chevrolet Finishes Work on 1,000,000th Corvette And It’s Pretty Rad...”


  • avatar

    There’s a ditch near the bridge.
    I’ll get that ditch a Corvette.
    Ditches love Corvettes.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Already I see a problem. The running lamps are not the same intensity.

    RESTORATION AND CONCOURS FAIL.

    • 0 avatar
      SlabSheetrock

      Nah- that’s factory. The line worker went on break in between bulbs, and grabbed out of the other bin for the second one. Concours WIN.

    • 0 avatar

      The camera was slightly offset to the left and was more directly aimed at that running lamp.

      The distance between the lenses on my 3D rig for still photos is 85mm, a little less than 3.5″. When comparing left and right images in a pair, it’s interesting to see how much difference moving just that small amount makes in the image.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks, good that we have people like you around who can explain these things. Sounds like the cameraman should have measured before putting down his tripod.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’d also guess the alignment of the lamps might not be perfect — either from the factory or after the restoration.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Both pictures are HEAVILY Photoshopped (e.g. filters, lighting, shading, etc. etc.) that go way beyond what the camera could do.

          Could be a ton of things, but I’m putting my money on when doing enhancements and shadows editing this missed the eye of the person editing.

          Anyone who has tried to take serious pictures of a car knows that the reflective nature of the lamps make it particularly challenging. Amber turn signals don’t have integrated reflectors like rear turn signal/brake lights do, but they still capture the light, amplify and scatter.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh, and in case, you know – you’d like actual pictures of any quantity documenting both before and after.

    Here. http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/travel/sinkhole-1-millionth-corvette-restoration-reveal/

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Also, what is the red car in photo 12 on this link? It looks like a Trans-Am or something, that says Brougham on the b-pillar!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It’s a -75-’76 Camaro. Not sure what that badge is — it doesn’t look like any of the ones I know.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Someone from the GM Corvette repair centre will have to speak up.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          If it’s a Camaro, it probably says Berlinetta. That was, I believe, the 4-cylinder version of the Camaro.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Berlinetta didn’t come along until later in the second generation, and the Berlinetta badge was longer than that one. It wasn’t the four-cylinder version; it was a mid-level “luxury” trim. In the second gen it had a six and in the third gen most cars had V6 or V8 power.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ll take your word for part of that, but I do remember seeing at least two Camaro Berlinettas–about 1980 or 81 models–with a four-banger under the hood. I ended up buying a V8 Dodge Aspen for less money.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Camaro didn’t get a four until 1982, with the third generation. The third-gen Berlinettas were available with a four for the first two years, but only a few of them had it.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            Berlinetta was targeted as a “women’s” Camaro. It had a trim package and a softened suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s definitely not a Berlinetta logo, it looks completely different than the one it had.

            https://ccco.s3.amazonaws.com/kb_photos/14/129_4_low_res.jpeg

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That may be it, Dal, and it makes sense. Personally, I’m glad they dropped the model because I drove one and found it surprisingly weak (though at the same time stronger than the V6 of the day due to lower gearing). There’s a reason they call the cars of the late 70s, early 80s as ‘malaise era’; they simply weren’t all that great for performance or reliability. My next newer car was an 86 Buick ‘T-type’ followed by an 85 Oldsmobile Toronado with ‘sport’ suspension. I loved both of those cars to ‘death’… one by accident, one by stripped timing gear that ended up wiping out the engine. Followed those with a 96 Camaro that I also loved to ‘death’, seizing the engine due to blown head gasket at 160K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The ’79-’81 Berlinettas had standard V8 power, although the standard V8 was the 305/2 barrel before shrinking down to the 267 ci V8 in 1980. The ’82 Camaro Berlinetta had a standard 2.8 liter V6 with the option of a low performance 305. Only the Camaro Sport Coupe was ever offered as a 4 cylinder according to period sales literature and period road tests.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          That red car is the 1971 Pontiac Firebird Pegasus. It was built for Bill Mitchell and is powered by a Ferrari 365GTB/4 V12.

          http://www.motortrend.com/classic/features/c12_0603_1971_pontiac_firebird_pegasus/viewall.html

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You win. The wraparound window/chrome bumper combination fooled me. In production cars only the ’75-’76 Camaros had that combo.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Excellent! Thank you. I knew someone would know eventually. I like the interior on that thing.

            Man, that is cool.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Were they able to match the same uneven body placement? A hallmark of Kentucky quality is that the bodies on the C4s didn’t exactly or consistently share the center-line with the chassis. I know this because I have had the periodic misfortune of working on one to help a friend out. I have nothing nice to say about the C4, every project involves a reciprocating saw. Trying to replace the plastic brake booster was a delight that should have been reserved for an agoraphobic person.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    A pretty amazing story about an automotive restoration that any car guy or gal should find interesting, and instead there is nothing but posts of GM hate.

    I’d have found this story fascinating if this was the 5,000,000 Corolla built and got swallowed into a sinkhole and restored.

    The restoration is pretty darn amazeballs, and the degree of attention they employed is pretty remarkable. I had read an earlier story that indicated they weren’t aware of how many signatures were on the car until the restoration started – there are signatures literally everywhere. No one would have ever known had this accident not happened – I find that pretty darn cool regardless of my opinion of the C4 and early 90’s GM product lines.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    This isn’t the 1,000,000th Corvette.

    It’s the 999,999th one built.

    Since there was a #1 Corvette, the actual 1,000,000th one built is 1,000,001.

    What a shame they have wasted all that effort, money, and attention on the wrong one.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’m glad they decided to put the effort into restoring the car. No matter how you feel about GM, this is history. We have a ’07 C6 Vette and a ’70 Mustang Grande in our family, and if something happened to them, I’d definitely restore them.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    The GM hate here is as backwards as it is expected.

    This is a milestone, and an epic credit to the fine folks in Bowling Green.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    I fucking love the Eagle GS-C Tread pattern. Still just too cool.

    Congratulations on the successful restoration. That is such a beautiful car. I still prefer it to the C5’s RX-7 melted ice cream design.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    No GM fanboi either, but it was gut-wrenching to see these ‘Vettes in this kind of shape!

    No surprise the “Blue Devil” ended up new with little work — it looked about the best of them.

    I wonder if they took a crack at any of the pace cars (or a split-window ’63 that I thought had gone into the hole)?

    BTW, I think that red Firebird in the background is a one-off with a Ferrari engine under the hood for..Bill Mitchell, I believe. (Don’t know where I found that, but I remember those wire wheels.)

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    This is cool to see. The C4 gets so much hate and it’s not deserved.
    They’re fun to drive and fun to beat on.
    I think we’re all too automotively spoiled these days.


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