NCM Sinkhole Corvettes: 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary

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Little did Hill and Karen Clark know when they handed over the keys to their Ruby Red 1993 40th Anniversary Edition Corvette that it would become so steeped in the legacy of the National Corvette Museum. Their love for their C4 was summed up in a quote when they were officially handing the car over to the NCM. “To have our ‘Ruby’ on display for others to enjoy and learn of our unique story is totally fitting. We could never sell her and with this donation we will be able to visit her whenever.”

The Clarks had a great story when they donated their 40th Anniversary Corvette to the museum and it proudly held the C4 banner amid some very prestigious fellow Corvettes.

The Clarks’ love for Corvettes is shared with many, but their story is unique. Hill’s admiration of Corvettes first started long ago, as he would wash his neighbor’s brand-new 1963 split-window Corvette. In return, He was able to drive the sportscar for one hour. Making the most of the opportunity, Hill would use the time to woo Karen as the two burned up the meter cruising around together.

As newlyweds in 1970, Hill and Karen purchased their first Corvette, a 1970 Mulsanne Blue LT-1 coupe. When their son Craig was born, Hill fabricated a harness so that the three Clarks could enjoy the Corvette together. The math finally caught up with the Clark family when daughter Shannon was born and the decision was made to sell the Corvette.

Ruby tumbled with the other Corvettes down into the sinkhole, having travelled the farthest, thanks to being atop the auto lift.

Children eventually grow up and Chevrolet continued to build Corvettes. Thankfully, Karen Clark was mindful of these truths and during the time between diapers and college tuition, faithfully put away any spare change from her grocery budget. When the time was right and a two-seater again accommodated the remaining Clarks, Karen surprised Hill on his 50th birthday with a brand-new 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette which they named “Ruby”. Like the ’70, this one also featured an LT1 engine, but this one was a second-gen version of the V8 moniker. Since purchasing “Ruby”, the Clarks have also owned a 1997 and 2005 Z51 coupe and a 2012 Grand Sport Corvette. Clearly making up for lost time amid all of those PTA meetings.

As the car was pulled from the debris, the extent of the damage became obvious. It was eventually determined that the cost of repair could not be justified and Ruby will forever wear the scars (and dirt) that will help tell the story of the sinkhole to countless generations.

The story of the Clark’s Ruby Red Corvette is cool enough, and being a shining example of the Anniversary Edition in the NCM proves how deftly they cared for their foray back into Corvette-dom. Then, their Ruby Red ride pulled away from all the other 6,748 40th Anniversary Corvettes and went super-exclusive as one of the eight Corvettes that would spend time deep in the sinkhole that formed in the spire of the National Corvette Museum on February 12, 2014.

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It took only seconds to put Ruby shiny side down, but reversing that state without incurring more damage took much longer and a lot more care.

Gaining fame can be a wearisome pursuit and the Clark’s Corvette still wears the scars from the wild ride that provided it world-wide acclaim. While Ruby was one of the three Corvettes visible atop the pile of rubble within the sinkhole, the car also had the furthest to fall since it was being displayed on the top of a lift. Ruby was excavated from the sinkhole on March 3, 2014 along with the ZR-1.

Ruby resides very close to where she originally was before the sinkhole with one exception, now she occupies the lower bunk!

Unlike the ZR-1 though, the damage far exceeded the car’s value. Visitors can now view the car in the condition in which she was recovered. And upon hearing that Ruby was damaged beyond repair, Lynda Patterson of Louisville, KY decided to donate her and late husband Mike’s Ruby Red Corvette to the museum, bringing the shine back alongside the story at the NCM.

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About the author

Andy 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 radio-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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