For the last month, workers at the National Corvette Museum have worked hundreds of hours in order to start cleaning up after a disastrous sinkhole occurred under the museum’s Skydome in the early hours of February 19th. So far, the sinkhole still looks like a huge crater in the middle of the building, but as of Tuesday, the last of the “Great 8” Corvettes that were swallowed in the disaster have been recovered. Check out the recovery of the last Corvette – the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06- in the video above.
Donated by lifetime members of the NCM, Kevin and Linda Helmintoller, the 2001 Mallett Hammer Corvette had only been in the Corvette museum’s possession since December 2013. Bought new by the Helmintollers in 2001, the Z06 was converted into a Mallett Hammer car in June of 2002, equipping it with a custom cam and heads package, exclusive Mallett stainless steel headers, Mallett/Penske Indy-style shocks, leather seats with custom Mallett graphics, unique badging and a custom Mallett serial number. The car was No. 009 of the total conversions.
Since its 2002 conversion, the Z06 received a number of AntiVenom LSX Performance modifications culminating in one of one AV436 conversions and giving the car a whopping 700 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque.
These performance numbers helped propel the car to a 178 MPH (radar)/ 181 MPH (GPS) standing mile at a top-speed event, earning the car’s position on the cover of GM High Tech magazine.
“We donated this car to the Museum to help with the continued growth, but also because it could be a good vehicle for training other drivers at the new NCM Motorsports Park,” Kevin Helmintoller stated upon donating the car in December.
Because of the car’s position in the Skydome when the sinkhole occurred, it was one of two vehicles who’s locations were initially unknown. Fortunately, the Mallett Hammer Z06 was spotted in the 50-foot sinkhole on Monday April 7th, after which workers took to unearthing the car and removing it from the hole.
Of all the Corvettes to come out of the sinkhole, this is by far the most damaged, making us wonder if it will really be able to be resurrected.
After hearing that the Mallett Corvette was one swallowed up by the sinkhole, the Helmintollers drove from their home in Land O’ Lakes, Florida to watch the recovery of the Mallett Hammer Corvette. Unfortunately, the car wasn’t located right away and they traveled back home, only to be notified on Monday that the car had been found.
Executive Director of the Museum, Wendell Strode forewarned the Helmintollers that the Corvette may be severely damaged and the recovery process could be hard to watch, but nothing could prepare them for just how damaged the car was. Kevin Helmintoller still opted to return to Bowling Green, Kentucky to watch the recovery.
In a press release from the NCM, Kevin Helmintoller stated, “I expected bad, but it’s 100 times worse. It looks like a piece of tin foil… and it had a roll cage in it! It makes all the other cars look like they’re brand new.”
Now that all eight Corvettes have been recovered from the sinkhole, the NCM will start conversations about the rebuild process not only of the cars but of the Skydome area. A “Great 8” display will be open in the museum’s Exhibit Hall starting next week featuring all eight recovered Corvettes, including the Mallett Hammer Z06.