For most of us, the dust has long settled regarding the infamous sinkhole that swallowed so many beautiful Corvettes on February 12, 2014. The museum is back in full swing, and attendance is better than ever. By now most of you know that some of the damaged Corvettes have already been restored, and unfortunately some will never be. Fortunately, one more has once again returned to the museum floor looking better than ever.
This C4 is the one-millionth Corvette ever produced, and after four months with over 1,200 man-hours, she is back to her former glory. In case you were wondering about the color choices on for this car originally, the white exterior and red interior are the same choices used back in 1953 for the first Corvette ever built.
Mark Reuss, the General Motors executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain first mentioned, “We felt it was important to restore this extremely significant car in Corvette’s long, storied history. When we disassembled it, we found that each employee involved in building it had signed a part of the car, which was fantastic and moving to see. It brought the history to life, and reinforced the importance of the project.”
After the incident, this C4 was moved to the Design Center in Warren, Michigan where 30 craftsman, craftswomen, and technicians went to work on the project.
Ed Welburn, the vice president of GM Global Design said, “As the one and only one-millionth Corvette, its preservation was important to us as the designers of the vehicle–and as Corvette enthusiasts. The damage was significant in many ways; however we have one of the most highly skilled specialty shops and team of people in the industry, so they were fully prepared to take on the challenge.”
“We went to great lengths to preserve every autograph,” said David Bolognino, director of GM Global Design Fabrication Operations. “In the end, we saved every one of them, which was an unexpected and important element to the restoration.”
Additional highlights from the restoration:
- The front sub-frame was damaged in the fall into the sinkhole and required straightening
- The wheels were damaged, but reconditioned, with the original Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires
- Rather than replace the scuffed and scratched pad on the instrument panel, its soft cover was carefully removed and replaced to preserve the employee-signed structure beneath it
- The red leather seats, featuring one-off “1,000,000th Corvette” embroidery on the headrests were damaged but deemed irreplaceable, so they were restored, including a few replacement patches of carefully matched hide
- The 5.7L LT1 engine, transmission and other drivetrain components were inspected and found to be damage-free
Bolognan also added, “The header restoration was a wonderful surprise for what everyone assumed would be the toughest aspect of the restoration. With access to the original specifications, we got it spot-on–and even the new windshield glass dropped in perfectly.”
The final piece to completing this gorgeous C4 convertible, was to replace the “1,000,000th” windshield banner that the car received over 23 years ago. Fortunately for the Gm team, the computer graphic file was still on file.