NCM Sinkhole Corvettes: 1.5-Millionth Corvette


There are only seventeen production years apart from the One-Millionth and 1.5-Millionth Corvettes and even though they landed relatively close to each other down deep in the sinkhole, their outcomes could not be further apart.

The NCM Foundation realized the significance of the car and secured it for exhibition in the National Corvette Museum.

 Like the One-Millionth Corvette, this 2009 Z51-equipped convertible was painted Arctic White with a Red interior to commemorate the original color offering of all Corvettes during its first year of production. Also like the milestone Corvette before it, this car serves to show how much further technology has progressed since the production odometer clicked back around. Advancements in engine design and fuel injection now offers 430hp, one-hundred horses over what was available just a half-million cars ago.

The search was on for the 1.5-Millionth Corvette as it was completely covered with dirt and debris. The excavation team located some white bits from the car and the rest of the car was freed from the cold ground.

Other advancements included in-dash DVD navigation, airbags throughout the cockpit, two more additional gears (6-speeds) controlled through paddle-shifters and an honest-to-goodness power convertible top.

The 1.5-Millionth Corvette was celebrated as it rolled down the assembly line during production on May 28th, 2009. It was picked up by the NCM as the National Corvette Museum Foundation purchased the car, realizing its significance within the timeline of Corvette history. It resided within the halls of the NCM and picked up a pair of racing stripes down over its hood-line during its stay at the NCM.

The car was hauled out of the Skydome on a flatbed truck. Later on, it was moved with the help of rollers and a tug.

It was residing in the Skydome where it fell victim to the sinkhole on February 12th, 2014. Once the dust had cleared, the 1.5-Millionth Corvette was nowhere to be seen. The car being totally covered by dirt and debris. Probing rods and metal detectors were used to help locate the car. Mike Murphy from SMD Construction was on-hand the day the car re-surfaced, “We had no idea where it was. When we started digging around the Black Spyder, we found a piece of white fiberglass under it, and we continued to expose that until we saw that it was the 1.5-Millionth car.”

The car was eventually removed from the sinkhole on April 3, 2014, seven weeks after it toppled into the sinkhole. Understandably, the drop was not kind to the commemorative car and upon further review, it was determined that the car was too badly damaged for repair without replacing most of the car.

Five of the cars that fell victim to the NCM sinkhole were damaged beyond repair. The remnants of their stay in the Kentucky landscape will forever be part of their legacy.

The 1.5-Millionth Corvette now resides with the other Sinkhole Corvettes in the special display that helps explains what happened, and as a testament to the incredible forces that are at work in our world. Its once-shiny chrome is now riddled with chunks of Kentucky mud and those racing stripes no longer line up between the fascia and hood. Even so, the 1.5-Millionth Corvette serves to tell a story about a sinkhole deep in the Kentucky landscape on dog-eared pages that haven’t been wiped clean by restoration or rebuilding. The words it uses are through the scars and scratches that it bears. They are true, they are terrible, and they are here to stay.

The 1.5-Millionth Corvette began as a celebration of the long, storied life of the brand. Now, it bears witness of the incredible forces of Mother Nature.

About the author

Andrew Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying remote-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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