If you ever made a bet that you could straddle a Corvette and touch the ground on both sides, this is likely your best chance. It is without question, the most heavily damaged Corvette out of the eight that took a dive into the sinkhole in the early morning hours of February 12th, 2014.
Before this Z06 took on the mangled face of fame, like all eight of the Corvettes, it was a prized exhibit inside the NCM Skydome. Prior to that, it was in the loving hands of Kevin and Linda Helmintoller of Land O’ Lakes Florida. They enjoyed the car, but not necessarily by racking up highway miles. Rather, they modified their Corvette by handing it over to Chuck Mallett for the entire Mallett Hammer treatment on top of an AntiVenom Performance 436 engine.
Their modifications garnered a GPS-clocked top speed in one mile at 181-mph. The quarter mile flew by in only 10.6 seconds @ 128-mph. With only 16-thousand miles on the odometer, it was clear that the Helmintollers preferred short, quick bursts over long highway jaunts.
Being NCM Lifetime Members and repeated R8C Delivery recipients (having your new Corvette delivered to the NCM instead of a dealer), the Helmintollers decided to donate their Z06 to the museum to help promote the continued growth of the NCM and perhaps help train drivers at the new NCM Motorsports Park.
The Mallett Hammer Z06 was peacefully residing inside the skydome when the bottom fell out, literally. The Z06 found itself deep within the sinkhole and upside down with tons of rock, debris, and a couple other Corvettes on top of it. For a while, no one knew where the car was located. Probing rods and metal detectors were used to help locate the car.
Mike Murphy from SMD Construction put it best, “It looks like the worst one… a lot of parts and pieces. It took a lot of punishment from a lot of big rocks.” All of those carefully-engineered components had almost instantly, been returned to kit form and scattered around the car.
With so much damage done to the car and the entire body removed and crumbled at the bottom of the sinkhole, nearly every crack and crevice became a receptacle for dirt and mud. What parts are still integral to the original car have been compressed by the concrete and boulders that came down upon the car as it rested at the bottom of the sinkhole. One of those offending boulders now resides in the museum’s courtyard landscaping.
The frame that once kept all four wheels in alignment now bends and contorts in an attempt to simply keep all four wheels connected. Those once comfortable sport seats have been folded upon themselves to the point where even an inch-worm would struggle for enough support. The car now resides on a platform to allow moving it around under human power, all its 700 horses having escaped somewhere through the sinkhole.
While it doesn’t wear the shine and polish that it once wore, those with an eye for details can scour its remains for hours, seeking evidence of the incredible forces at play during the cave-in. Snapped control arms and dis-jointed welds lead the viewer to try and comprehend the pressure this car felt. That’s where this car fits into the story of the NCM sinkhole; it clearly shows the scope of destructive forces using terms and illustrations that not all eight Corvettes can communicate. It does it well.