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National Corvette Museum Pulls Five Vettes from Sinkhole, Starts Work to Remove Final Three Cars [w/ Live Stream]

This story was originally published on 3/3/14 at 9:36 a.m. It has been subsequently revised to update progress.

Update 3/3, 1:09 p.m.: The first car—the Blue Devil ZR1 prototype seen here—is out! And IT STARTED !

Update 3/3, 4:23 p.m: A second Corvette, the 1993 40th Anniversary C4 coupe, is also out of the hole.

Update 3/4, 3:01 p.m: The museum s 1962 C1 is now above ground.

Update 3/8, 8:59 a.m.: The museum rescued two additional Corvettes—the 1984 PPG pace car and the 1 millionth car—this week. Photos below.

To quote a clichéd golf term, the National Corvette Museum wanted to get in the hole—and extract the Chevrolet Corvettes swallowed up by a sinkhole last month. After working to stabilize the wing of the museum that suffered the massive floor collapse, the museum and construction teams have now snatched five of the eight lost cars from the depths via Operation Corvette Plus. (If you re curious, here s how much the cars are actually worth .)

First up? The 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil prototype, which was hauled out and subsequently fired up and driven out of the museum under its own power. You can watch that incredible event here. as well as footage of the car being pulled from the sinkhole.

via NCM Insurance Agency Facebook page

The second car out of the hole didn t fare as well. That model, the 1993 40th Anniversary Edition coupe, ended up very badly damaged.

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One day after beginning the operation, the museum pulled its 1962 C1 Vette from the dirty, dirty hole by removing the hood and looping a strap through the engine bay. Initial reports are that it suffered mostly body damage.

The museum had planned to stop there, but was able to dislodge to more cars from the hole, including the 1 millionth convertible and the special-bodied PPG pace car that was the first to fall. They were, as you might expect, fairly badly damaged, with the latter having been karate-chopped by a slab of concrete according to the museum.

There s no telling how tricky the extraction of the rest of the cars will be, although the ZR1 Spyder prototype has been covered by a tarp and sand to protect it from further damage while crews work around and above it. Now that five cars are free, teams will spend three weeks or so stabilizing the red spire in the middle of the hall and the walls of the sinkhole. After that, efforts will focus on removing the building materials, a vehicle lift, a hell of a lot of dirt, and, yes, the final three cars.

Once they re all out, GM will lead the restoration of all eight sinkhole Corvettes. but not before the museum puts them on display in as-is condition through August 3. The museum also plans to create a special exhibit this spring that details the sinkhole incident, provides geological information, and features photos and videos of the entire affair.

Is it just us, or is this one of the most bizarrely entrancing treasure hunts ever? Watch the balance of the operation unfold via the embedded Skydome camera feed below—and be sure to check out other views of the National Corvette Museum via the facility s many other lenses.

Blue Devil ZR1 First to Emerge from National Corvette Museum Sinkhole—and It Started! [w/ Video]

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