Corvette Museum Remembers Fourth Anniversary of Sinkhole
Today was a monumental day for the National Corvette Museum. In front of more than seventy guests and enthusiasts, the NCM revealed the restored 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette – the last of the eight original sinkhole Corvettes to be restored and returned to the collection.
The 1962 Corvette had been removed from its display in the Skydome one year ago, on the third anniversary of the sinkhole.
Restoration of the car began in the Museum’s AutoZone Maintenance and Preservation area. Anyone visiting the museum over the past year could visit the 1962 Corvette throughout the restoration process. They could watch the ongoing efforts of Daniel Decker, NCM’s Maintenance and Preservation Coordinator, Dan Garrett, a staff member of the NCM and Derek Moore, the Museum’s Curator, as they meticulously brought the car back to life.
“We are about the story, we want to tell the story, we want to preserve the story. So, we restored the car to as close as possible to how it was the moment before the sinkhole, the way it was when Mr. Donoho donated the car,” said Derek.
“The frame was straightened a little at the rear, the body pieces or fiberglass components that were damaged or cracked were simply repaired. Only one very small panel on the right side had to have a replacement panel. Everything that we could leave that Mr. Donoho had actually touched, had left on this car, we wanted to essentially leave his fingerprints on the car.”
Although the car remained in the maintenance and preservation area for the entire year, the actual time needed to perform the restoration took about four months of solid work.
“You open the hood and the engine is exactly how he left it. The interior is exactly the interior he had in it, the interior that he so lovingly cared for. We didn’t want to take any of that away,” said Derek. In fact, a few weeks ago a very old empty sugar packet from Frisch’s Big Boy was found under the seat. “We set it aside, finished up the car, and then slipped it right back under the seat where it was.”
Although David Donoho passed away in 2013 at the age of 76, his friend and attorney of 20 years, Beth Sease, was present at the unveiling to share his story. While David was a simple and unassuming man, according to Beth, Corvettes were one of his two favorite hobbies and he owned three pristine models – the 1962, a maroon 1987 and a 2001. The ’62 had been purchased new by David when he was in high school. “He worked at Lily Industrial Paint and had saved up his money for the car,” said Beth. “He earned the nickname ‘The Weatherman’ because his friends would tease him… if he saw a cloud in the sky he would dart out. He didn’t want raindrops on his car.”
Amidst the crowd of over 70 enthusiasts and visitors, the cover on the Corvette was pulled by Derek, Daniel and Dan, with Beth placing the finishing touch on the Corvette – the re-installation of the C1 emblem.
Beth said that David initially felt no one could care for his the way he had, but that the Museum proved him wrong. “The legacy David left was preserved by you and his legacy lives on. He would have been proud to have been here today to see the way you have come together, diligently restoring his prize.”
The 1962 joins the other seven Corvettes that fell victim to the 2014 sinkhole, being placed on display in the Skydome where they were prior to the collapse. General Motors previously restored the 1992 ‘One Millionth Corvette and the 2009 ZR1 ‘Blue Devil.’ Five of the Corvettes will continue to be left in the same state they were in from the sinkhole damage. In 2016 the Museum opened ‘Corvette Cave In: The Skydome Sinkhole Experience,’ an interactive exhibit chronicling the sinkhole story.
The Museum is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky at I-65 exit 28. Open daily from 8am-5pm CT, admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 5-12 and $8 for seniors. Children under age 5 are free.