Monday, December 29, 2014

Corvette Museum Sinkhole Filling Officially Begins

Ceremonial "First Rock" Tossed Into Hole

It's been seven weeks since construction work on the National Corvette Museum sinkhole began, with the 'filling of the hole' process officially starting today. Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode cast the first rock, inscribing 'Awesome God, Everyone Safe' on it. "The good Lord let it happen. It was roughly a quarter to six in the morning and we did not have anyone in the museum. No staff, no visitors, no guests. We're so thankful for that," Strode said before tossing the first rock into the hole.

The weeks-long process to prepare the hole to be filled was no quick and easy task, as the openings to the cave had to be first plugged. "Each side of the cave is approximately 30 feet long and about 20 feet high. It's just not feasible to fill the entire cave with rock so the construction team had to get creative with plugging every crevice," said Strode. A combination of steel sheet piling and gunnite were used to create a barrier before loads of gravel were conveyored into the building to begin filling the hole.

The construction team has lowered a remote-controlled Bobcat into the hole to level out the gravel. They expect the process of filing the sinkhole to take about two weeks.

Currently the hole features a 48-inch manhole which will allow access to one side of the cave, even after the sinkhole is filled. "We have some ideas for an exhibit where you can see into the cave via a camera with lights, and guests would be able to maneuver the camera, so we needed access to the cave to allow us to service that equipment as needed," said Katie Frassinelli, Marketing & Communications Manager. A number of exhibit companies are currently bidding on the planned sinkhole/cave exhibit which will be installed in the Skydome once construction work is complete. The work is expected to be complete by July, and the exhibit is anticipated to officially open Labor Day weekend, 2015 as part of the Museum's 21st Anniversary Celebration.

The National Corvette Museum is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is open seven days a week, from 8am until 5pm Central Time. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6 to 16, $8 for seniors or $25 family admission. Children age 5 and under are free. While access to the Skydome is currently closed for construction, a Plexiglas viewing window is available so that guests may watch ongoing work.

For more information on the Museum, visit www.corvettemuseum.org, download their free app on iTunes or Google Play or call 800-538-3883.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Corvette Engine Repeats Win as WardsAuto 10 Best

The high performance, technology-packed LT1 Small Block 6.2L V8 that powers the 2015 Corvette Stingray is a Ward’s 10 Best Engine for 2015. The engine also was recognized with this award in 2014.

WardsAuto reviewed 37 engines and propulsion systems from 12 manufacturers in this year’s competition, which looked at power, fuel efficiency, new technology and refinement and compared the attributes with data for similar engines.

“This recognition is another step in earning customers for life,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, GM Global Powertrain. Having the WardsAuto experts choose the LT1 as one of the best in the industry two years in a row is proof of what this Powertrain team can deliver – uncompromised performance, durability and efficiency that helps make the Stingray one of the best sports cars in the world today.”

The LT1 Small Block technologies contribute to making the new Corvette the quickest, most powerful and most fuel-efficient standard Corvette ever. The engine delivers an SAE-certified 460 horsepower, helping propel the car from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and a quarter mile in 12 seconds while offering EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway with an 8-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission.

“The 6.2L LT1 V-8 is the heart and soul of the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, and it proudly upholds the 60-year legacy of small-block engines from General Motors,” said Tom Murphy, executive editor of WardsAuto World digital magazine. “This one's been re-engineered from head to torque converter, and the LT1 is the crown jewel of this massive engine family.”

“In the Corvette, this 460-hp V-8 barks with authority, delivering an exhaust note reminiscent of Detroit’s finest muscle cars. And it's efficient, too. WardsAuto editors flogging the 'Vette for more than 300 miles managed better than 20 mpg with the new 8-speed automatic."

The LT1, part of the Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, combines several advanced technologies – direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing – to support an advanced combustion system.

Direct injection is a primary contributor to greater combustion efficiency by ensuring a more complete burn of the fuel in the air-fuel mixture. This is achieved by precisely controlling the mixture motion and fuel injection spray pattern. Direct injection also keeps the combustion chamber cooler, which allows for a higher compression ratio.

Increased power and efficiency result from more than 10 million hours of computational analysis including computational fluid dynamics, to make the most of the combustion system, the direct injection fuel system, active fuel management and variable valve timing systems that support it. The combustion system itself benefited from 6 million hours of dedicated CPU analysis time.

Other variants of the Gen 5 Small Block include the 4.3L V6, 5.3L and 6.2L V8 truck engines offered in the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, the GMC Sierra pickups, Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. The LT1 is manufactured in Tonawanda, N.Y.

2007 Z06 Donated to Museum

For most of his life, Cliff Young was a Mustang man, but it was in 2006 that he fell in love with Corvette.  After a trip to a high performance driving school, he immediately started calling around trying to find a Chevrolet dealership with allocation for a Z06.  “It just had to be LeMans Blue as 2007 would be the last year for that color,” wife Sally remembers.  “It was a bit of a fiasco trying to get the car ordered.  Cliff knew he wanted to order it with the Museum Delivery option, so he spoke with the Delivery Department and happened to mention to Lori that he wasn’t able to get a car yet.  Lori connected him with a broker in Bowling Green that had allocation and made it happen.”

The Youngs picked up the car on June 27, 2007.  It was their first visit to Bowling Green, and sadly Cliff’s last.  The couple had planned on visiting April 2014, but Cliff experienced major health complications from Agent Orange – an exposure that occurred while serving in Vietnam – and passed on January 28, 2014 at the age of 68.

“While the Museum is in our wills, Cliff didn’t specifically list the car but I felt donating it was the most appropriate thing,” said Sally.  “He was always so impressed with how the Museum is run, I know he would be pleased with its new home.”  Sally was excited to hear that the car would be used for Parade Laps and other activities at the Museum’s new Motorsports Park.   The Youngs had already stepped up and supported the Park by joining the One Acre Club, donating funds for a purchase of one acre of land for the track.

“While Cliff enjoyed taking his car to the track, he didn’t race it,” said Sally.  “Cliff’s friend Mike Pettiford operates Go 4 It Racing Schools, and Cliff would attend and help out with the classes.  Mike would host special corporate events so Cliff would bring his car to use for instruction purposes and to enjoy an occasional drive around the track,” added Sally.  “Cliff also belonged to SCCA and would do flagging at races.”

While Cliff’s day job prior to retirement had been as a systems analyst, he was also a pilot, a flight instructor, scuba diver, parachutist, ham radio operator, and spelunker, and even spent over 30 years planning and designing his and Sally’s dream home.  “He was very gifted in electrical, plumbing and construction,” Sally noted.  “He lived a very full life.”

Indeed he did, and his legacy will continue through every enthusiast who steps foot for a ride in Cliff’s 2007 LeMans Blue Z06.

Monday, December 1, 2014

First 2015 Corvette Z06s on Way to Customers

Chevrolet is now shipping the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 coupe from Bowling Green Assembly and some early customers could receive the much-anticipated supercar later this week.

“It has been an incredible opportunity to work on Chevy’s most capable model,” said Jeff Lamarche, plant manager of General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly plant, “It truly is an amazing car, and we’re thrilled to get them into the hands of our eager customers.”

The new Corvette Z06 offers the most choice for customers in the model’s history. It is the first Z06 to offer an available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission and, thanks to a stronger aluminum frame, a removable roof panel. In addition, it is the first time since 1963 that the Z06 is available as a convertible – which will arrive in early 2015.

The new LT4 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine is SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque (881 Nm) at 3,600 rpm – making the 2015 Corvette Z06 the most powerful production car ever from General Motors and one of the most powerful production cars available in the United States.

To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages a trio of advanced technologies – direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing –with a new, more efficient supercharger.

The LT4 helps make the Corvette Z06 the most capable car in the brand’s history. The Z06 accelerates from a rest to 60 mph in only 2.95 seconds when equipped with the all-new, available eight-speed automatic transmission – and achieves it in 3.2 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual transmission.

A quarter-mile sprint takes just 10.95 seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 11.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual. With both versions, the Corvette Z06 hits 127 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.

When it comes to braking performance, the Z06 can stop from 60 mph in only 99.6 feet. That’s the best braking performance of any production car GM has ever tested. Additionally, the Corvette Z06 achieves 1.2 g in lateral acceleration compared with the Corvette’s previous best 1.13 g.

All test results were achieved with Z06 coupes fitted with the Z07 Performance package, which adds Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The Z07 package also features the most aggressive aerodynamic package available on the Corvette Z06, which delivers the most downforce of any production car GM has ever tested.

The Z06 also offers the industry-first Performance Data Recorder – or PDR – which enables users to record high-definition video, with telemetry overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track. The racing-derived system is included with the available navigation system.

Pricing for the 2015 Corvette Z06 starts at $78,995 including destination, while the convertible model will start at $83,995.

Editors’ Note: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price includes destination freight charge but excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Museum Car Loaner Becomes Car Donor

Whenever the next evolution of the Corvette legend comes out of Detroit, it’s not long before high performance enthusiasts begin looking toward Connecticut for what will happen next. That is where Callaway Cars, Inc. has their headquarters and a staff ready to study it, take it apart, and create their own interpretation of America’s Sports Car. Since the late 1980s, a team led by Reeves Callaway has been finding ways to make “fast” faster much to the delight of the Corvette enthusiast who wants something a little (or a lot) different.

Over the years we’ve hosted an unveiling of a Callaway Corvette, along with having historic Callaway Corvettes like the Sledgehammer on exhibit. Recently we had an exhibit featuring Callaway Corvettes where one C5 Corvette in particular got a lot of attention. Owned by Gary Nichols, he decided to donate it to the Museum after facility manager Bob Hellmann told him about how popular the car was with guests.

“When Bob told me about how it drew a crowd, I realized how much it was appreciated here. I even had people come up to me at Carlisle and tell me they saw it here. It made perfect sense to donate it to the Museum. It is a special car and needs to be preserved and displayed.”

While he could have sold it, his concern was that it would have been bought for the performance causing the history to be lost. “I would have felt good about getting it in the hands of a Callaway collector who would honor the car, but this is really a win-win as the car can be a part of the Museum and part of history.”

The thing that makes this car special is that it was purchased by Callaway and used in their development of their C5 Power Groups. This was the test mule used before the car went into production. For one of these to make its way into the public is a rare thing.

“I was looking for a silver C5 Z06 when I heard about this car,” Gary says. “I knew about the work Callaway had done with Twin Turbos, so I drove up to his plant in Old Lyme, Connecticut to see it. Reeves told me he’d never sold a test car before, making it that much more special to get. We worked out a deal and I took it home.”

Knowing what he had, he made it a point to keep everything original. “It is an integral part of Callaway history. It’s been featured in Corvette Enthusiast and Vette Magazine, and has Bloomington certification, and been exhibited at the Museum and elsewhere. The way it sits now it has power group 1, 2 and 3, and it ran an 11.7 at 121 mph. It has almost 500 hp. At one point, one of the engines they put in it tested at 10.9 making the track manager kick them off the track for not having a roll cage at that speed.”

While he will miss it, he feels honored that it has a new home at the Museum. “I feel good about people coming to look it and learn from it. Besides, I like having an excuse to come out and visit it once a year.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Museum Skydome Closes for Construction Monday; Military Appreciation Month Brings Special Helicopter Display

If you have not yet made the trek to Bowling Green, Kentucky to view the massive sinkhole that opened inside the National Corvette Museum on February 12 of this year, you have just a few more days to do so. Construction is slated to begin on Monday, November 10 and is expected to take approximately eight months to complete.

Currently six of the eight “sinkhole Corvettes” are on display in the Skydome: the 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette, 1984 PPG Pace Car, 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, 1993 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Corvette, 2001 “Mallet Hammer” Z06 and 2009 “1.5 Millionth” Corvette. After November 9th the Museum plans to move three of the cars into other public viewing areas until the Skydome re-opens in July, 2015.

Chevrolet also unveiled this week at SEMA in Las Vegas the restored 2009 "Blue Devil" ZR1 Corvette. The Corvette will be shipped to the Museum after the show and is scheduled to return to the floor in July as part of the grand re-opening of the Skydome.

In addition to the plexiglas viewing window which will be open during construction for guests to view the progress, a temporary sinkhole mini-exhibit will be available in the Museum, providing photos, videos, details and artifacts.

To kick off Military Appreciation Month at the Museum, four special helicopters from the NC Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Association will be on display Wednesday afternoon through Saturday. They will also make an appearance in the Bowling Green Veteran's Day Parade on Saturday. The helicopters include an OH-6 light observation helicopter, OH-58 bate helicopter for the gunships, UH-1H Huey (Slick) used to carry troops and supplies, and a UH-1C Huey gunship.

The helicopters will be joined by a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Resupply Vehicle (RSV) from the Kentucky National Guard, which will be available for viewing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The displays are part of the ExxonMobil Vets 'n Vettes event at the Museum November 6-8. All military veterans plus police and firefighters, and their immediate accompanying family receive free admission to the Museum in November as part of Military Appreciation Month.

The National Corvette Museum is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is open seven days a week, from 8am until 5pm Central Time. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6 to 16, $8 for seniors or $25 family admission. Children age 5 and under are free but are not allowed in the Skydome building. For more information on the Museum, visit www.corvettemuseum.org, download their free app on iTunes or Google Play or call 800-538-3883.

First Sinkhole Corvette Restored

 
Corvette ZR1 ‘Blue Devil’ debuts at SEMA Show on way back to museum 

LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet today unveiled the restored 2009 Corvette ZR1 that was damaged earlier this year when a sinkhole developed beneath the National Corvette Museum. It’s on display this week at the SEMA Show, before heading back to the museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

The ZR1, nicknamed the “Blue Devil,” is the first of the eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole to be restored. One of two show cars used to introduce the all-new Corvette ZR1 in January 2008, the car was on loan from Chevrolet to the National Corvette Museum when the sinkhole developed. 

Museum personnel were alerted about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the facility on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 12. They arrived to find a sinkhole measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep – and it had swallowed eight Corvettes. 

Three weeks later, the ZR1 was pulled out of the sinkhole. Despite falling nearly 30 feet, it started and drove out of the Skydome under its own power. 

“After that unprecedented event, the ZR1 was the first car to be lifted out of the sinkhole,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports. “It was great to recover it, bring it back to Chevrolet and begin the restoration of this significant Corvette.” 

The ZR1 remained on display at the museum until September, when it was returned to Chevrolet for restoration. The damage included:
* Cracked carbon-fiber ground effects and a broken passenger-side rocker panel 
* Damaged passenger front fender, as well as cracks in both doors
* Cracked windshield, hood window glass and passenger headlamp assembly 
* Bent rear control arms on the driver’s side 
* Cracked oil lines to the supercharged LS9 engine’s dry-sump oiling system. 

Six weeks after work began, the restored ZR1 was started for the first time at the General Motors Heritage Center. 

Two other cars will be restored next year – the 1-millionth Corvette and a 1962 Corvette – while the other five will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve their historical significance. They will become part of a future display at the museum.

Join the social conversation at #CHEVYSEMA.







Thursday, October 30, 2014

Team ChEaparral Donates 1986 "Sucker Vette"

One of our top priorities at the National Corvette Museum is to create opportunities that will inspire, educate and engage young minds. The automobile, and Corvette in particular, is in itself the ideal classroom combining art, science, cultural trends, commerce and innovative thinking into what truly is a marvel of human ingenuity. So what better place is there than the Museum to introduce students of all ages to the technologies that go into it?

We often attract like-minded people and organizations who are also on a mission to ignite the imaginations of tomorrow’s innovators. Such was the case last Friday when the members of Team ChEaparral donated their 1986 ChEaparral J2J “sucker Vette” to the Museum.

Part fun, part engineering exercise, and part financial challenge, this was a project taken on by a group of engineers from Proctor & Gamble, looking to come up with an entry to compete in the $2007 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge. The goal for this contest was to build a car for under $2,007 that they could enter in a variety of competitions.

With the challenge of doing this on the cheap, they found a wrecked Corvette in a barn for $1400. It already had a hole in the hood so they cut it out further to make room for twin turbos that gave it an extra 100 horses.

Because they couldn’t get fast enough in an autocross to generate downforce in the usual way, they came up with another idea to get more grip inspired by the Jim Hall vacuum enhanced Chaparral 2J from the 1970’s. For their CHEAParral version of Jim’s car, they rigged up a skirt under the car connected to a cooling fan from an Abrams tank installed in the passenger seat. They powered the fan with a snowmobile engine, to create so much suction that you can actually see the car being pulled to the ground. They wound up getting around 1000 pounds of downforce while making quite a spectacle of themselves for the crowds. With a beer keg for a gas tank designed to keep the engine from being gas starved in the hard turns, they were ready to see what they could do with this car.

They competed against 50 others, winning the autocross, concourse, best-engineered award, top finishing team and the 2007 Challenge Overall Champion award. Having succeeded in their goal of making this car a winner, the question eventually came up of what should happen to the car.

“It is sad for us to let the car go, but we are happy that the car is coming here,” says Cliff Papsdorf when he handed over the keys. “The National Corvette Museum is the perfect home for it.”

The team hopes that the ChEaparral will show future generations what a group of people can make happen with hard work, a good education, and a focused devotion to a cause.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Museum Sinkhole Remediation Plan Outlined, Construction Starts November 10

Corvette Museum Skydome Sinkhole Viewing Ending Soon
National Corvette Museum officials met on Wednesday with construction personnel and engineers to review the plan, process and timeline for remediating the sinkhole and repairing the Skydome building.  Construction is slated to begin on Monday, November 10 and if everything goes according to schedule, the project will be completed by July, 2015.
The team reviewed the step-by-step process of filling the sinkhole beginning with the removal of boulders.  Late November through December the team will then install sheet piling to block the cave openings.  The hole will then be filled with about 4,000 tons of fist-sized #2 stone, taking place late December through mid-January, 2015. The remaining concrete slab flooring in the room will be removed in mid-January.  At that time, electrical, water and HVAC  repair work will occur through mid-February.
A quantity of 46 micropiles as well as grade beams will be installed mid-February through late March. The micropiles will be spaced 15-20 feet apart at an average depth of 141 feet based on the structural engineering design.  This design will ensure that if another collapse were to occur, the floor would remain intact.  Following this process will be the installation of additional stone as well as a new concrete slab floor (anticipated to take until late April to complete).  The final two months of construction will include the rebuilding of a new entrance with garage door and emergency exit doors, other repairs, repainting, installing new lighting fixtures, a thorough cleaning and other final touch ups.
Changes to the room will include a one-level natural color polished concrete floor without stairs and ramps like the current room has; the new garage door to allow for easy display car access as well as the ability to have an open-air entry for after-hours facility rentals; a redesigned drainage system; and 12 foot paved perimeter around the Skydome.  The cost of the project is just over $3.2 million.
While the Skydome web cams will be removed during the construction process, the Plexiglas viewing window will remain so that Museum guests can watch the on-going work.
The Museum team has received numerous ideas and suggestions on ways to tell the story of what happened on February 12, 2014 and provide interesting and entertaining aspects for visitors.  The Museum is currently exploring several options that include the opportunity to see down into the caves and 3D art.
The Museum plans to display the three restored Corvettes and five unrestored Corvettes in the Skydome once work has completed.
“We appreciate all of the support, feedback, ideas and prayers throughout this very interesting time in our history,” said Wendell Strode, Museum Executive Director.  “Sunday, November 9 will be the very last day to see the sinkhole up close and in person – so if you’ve been wanting to check it out for yourself you have just over three weeks to do so.”
Currently six of the eight “sinkhole Corvettes” are on display in the Skydome: the 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette, 1984 PPG Pace Car, 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, 1993 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Corvette, 2001 “Mallet Hammer” Z06 and 2009 “1.5 Millionth” Corvette.  After November 9th the Museum will move as many of the cars as possible into other public viewing areas until the Skydome re-opens in July, 2015.
The National Corvette Museum is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is open seven days a week, from 8am until 5pm Central Time. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6 to 16, $8 for seniors or $25 family admission. Children age 5 and under are free, but are not allowed in the Skydome building. For more information on the Museum, visit www.corvettemuseum.org or download their free app on iTunes or Google Play, or call 800-538-3883.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Corvette Z06 Sprints to 60 mph in Less than 3 Seconds

New eight-speed automatic enables 2.95-sec. 0-60 time, 10.95-sec. quarter-mile

The performance of the all-new, 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 establishes it as one of the most capable vehicles on the market – and one of the few to achieve sub-3-second 0-60 performance and a sub-11-second quarter-mile time.

“The Corvette has long been known as America’s sports car,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ executive vice president, Global Product Development. “With the capability of the new Z06 rivaling the best performance cars in the world, we will also be America’s Supercar.”

The Corvette Z06 accelerates from a rest to 60 mph in only 2.95 seconds when equipped with the all-new, available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission – and achieves it in 3.2 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual transmission.

A quarter-mile sprint takes just 10.95 seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 11.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual. With both versions, the Corvette Z06 hits 127 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.

When it comes to braking performance, the Z06 can stop from 60 mph in only 99.6 feet. That’s the best braking performance of any production car GM has ever tested. Additionally, the Corvette Z06 achieves 1.2 g in lateral acceleration compared with the Corvette’s previous best 1.13 g.
The new Z06 is also the fastest production car ever tested at GM’s 2.9-mile Milford Road Course, beating the record set by the Corvette ZR1 by a full second.

All test results were achieved with Z06 coupes fitted with the Z07 Performance package, which adds Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The Z07 package also features the most aggressive aerodynamic package available on the Corvette Z06, which delivers the most downforce of any production car GM has ever tested.

“The defining aspect of driving the Z06 is seamless integration of power, technology and aerodynamics,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “As a result, the Z06 delivers ferocious acceleration, tenacious handling, and high-speed stability that few cars can match.”

It is the first Corvette Z06 with a supercharged engine – SAE certified at 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque – and the first with an available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.

Performance-enhancing Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management are standard, and the award-winning, industry-first Performance Data Recorder is available.

The 2015 Corvette Z06 coupe goes on sale in in early 2015 priced at $78,995, while the Z06 convertible goes on sale in the second quarter, priced at $83,995.

Editors’ Note: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price includes destination freight charge but excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Excludes other General Motors’ vehicles.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Museum Owned GS90 Unveiled at 20th Anniversary Event

Enthusiast funds restoration of car to former glory

On Thursday, August 28, 2014 as part of the National Corvette Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, a special Corvette was unveiled, one that had recently undergone a cosmetic facelift.  The story of the car’s rebirth began during a Museum Display Committee meeting.

“Our collection of Corvettes was continuing to grown, so the committee was reviewing the list to see if there were any we might consider selling,” said Adam Boca, committee member and NCM Insurance Agent.  “The GS90 was in rough shape when we received it, and does not even have a motor so we thought it would be worth exploring a new home for it.”  In December 2013, Adam worked closely with Museum Lifetime Member Charlie Budenz to insure the GS90 #2 that he had recently purchased.  “I thought perhaps Charlie would be interested in the car, so I gave him a call and from there, the conversations turn to bringing the car back to life.”

Charlie offered to fund the restoration of the car and create a Museum quality showpiece.  “Basically, I couldn’t afford to corner the market on these cars… and I didn’t feel that I needed a set of bookends,” Charlie said.  “Then, in February of this year, the very Earth opened up and swallowed so many special NCM display Corvettes.  All of a sudden, the GS90 project went on a ‘front burner’ in order to replace some of the display cars,” he added.

Work on the car began in July and was completed in about a month.  The team at Final Finish in Morgantown, KY (a member of the Motorsports Park One Acre Club) complete some fiberglass repair, sanded the body down to the gel coat, then painted, striped and clear coated the car.  The wheels were also cleaned and new center caps made and applied.

Charlie Budenz provided some history of the car at the event, and former Project Manager for the GS90, Detlef Stevenson, was also on hand to share information and answer questions (and sign a few autographs!).

“Many diverse people have come to this 20th Anniversary Celebration of the National Corvette Museum to share and enjoy its success! These good folks are the fans, the enthusiasts, the hobbyists who have the stories which make the cars so interesting. So many people have contributed to the stories as well as the success of this especially American museum… and they have contributed in large and small ways, which combined have made the huge success possible today,” Charlie said.  “It has been my profound pleasure to provide the donation resulting in the GS90s refurbishment for display as honored at the National Corvette Museum.”

The car is currently on display in the lobby of the Museum.  In addition to the Museum’s GS90, Charlie owns #2 while the other four are thought to be in museums in Detroit, Europe and Japan.

History of the GS-90

In 1994, Corvette racing driver and tuner, Dick Guldstrand introduced his first and only coachbuilt Corvette: the GS90.  The car is based on the Corvette ZR-1 chassis and engine designed by Steve Winter.  When the C4 ZR-1 was released, Guldstrand saw an opportunity to bring back the Grand Sport he used to race with, pitching the concept of his radically restyled ZR-1 to Chevrolet.  He requested several ZR-1s and a few million dollars.  Instead he received one car and a blessing.

The GS90 was Guldstrand’s ultimate 475hp version of the ZR-1, incorporating influences from the Grand Sports of the early 60s inside a distinctive body style that is a throwback to the original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport race cars.   Guldstrand left the ZR-1 cabin alone, concentrating instead on the chassis and engine development, and bespoke coachbuilt distinctive body. 

The car was debuted at the L.A. Auto Show and had a price tag of $134,500, and as a result, only six GS90s were built and sold.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Museum Board Finalizes Decision on Sinkhole, Great 8 Corvettes

The National Corvette Museum Board of Directors held their quarterly meeting and finalized plans for repair of the Museum’s Skydome building, and the eight Corvettes affected by the February 12, 2014 sinkhole collapse.

After careful review of additional information and revised plans with price quotes from the construction company, the board voted to completely fill in the sinkhole.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” said Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode. “At the June board meeting, the information available at that time indicated a cost of around $500,000 more to keep the hole, but after incorporating additional safety features and vapor barriers for humidity control, the price tag rose to $1 million more than the cost to put the Skydome back how it was.”

Keeping even a portion of the sinkhole would require 35 foot retaining walls to be built inside of the sinkhole, additional micro piling, visible steel beams running through the hole, and soil nailing. All of these additional structural features are to ensure the safety of the sinkhole and prevent cracking and breaking of the sides in the future, which could result in stability issues, but take away from the natural look of the original sinkhole. The board also considered future maintenance issues that could arise if the hole was kept and the possibility that the hole wouldn’t look like a naturally occurring sinkhole any longer.

“The interest in our new attraction has been phenomenal so we do plan to leave it ‘as-is’ through our Vets ‘n Vettes event November 6-8, 2014, after which time we will begin the process of remediating and filling the hole,” Strode added.

Chevrolet and the National Corvette Museum will restore three of the Corvettes that were damaged when they were swallowed up by the sinkhole.

Chevrolet will restore the 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype, known as the Blue Devil, and the 1-millionth Corvette produced – a white 1992 convertible. The GM Heritage Center will oversee this process. In addition, the restoration of the 1962 Corvette will be funded by Chevrolet, but will be handled by the National Corvette Museum. A restoration shop has not yet been determined. The remaining five cars were determined to be too badly damaged to warrant restoration. They will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve the historical significance of the cars and what happened on February 12, 2014. They will become part of a future display at the Museum.

In total, General Motors will provide nearly $250,000 in support to help the Museum recover from the sinkhole. The National Corvette Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend as it welcomes the Corvette enthusiasts nationwide who have helped expand and support the non-profit Museum.

“Our goal was to help the National Corvette Museum recover from a terrible natural disaster by restoring all eight cars,” said Mark Reuss, GM Executive Vice President, Global Product Development. “However, as the cars were recovered, it became clear that restoration would be impractical because so little was left to repair. And, frankly, there is some historical value in leaving those cars to be viewed as they are.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Corvette enthusiasts from around the globe.

“There has been an outpouring of messages from enthusiasts the world over, asking us not to restore all of the cars,” said Wendell Strode, executive director for the National Corvette Museum. “For Corvette enthusiasts, the damage to the cars is part of their history, and part narrative of the National Corvette Museum. Restoring them all would negate the significance of what happened.”
Timelines for the start and projected completion dates for the three Corvettes’ restorations have not been established. They will be announced later.

Sinkhole summary
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m., National Corvette Museum (NCM) personnel received a notification from their security company about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the museum. When those personnel arrived on site, a sinkhole was discovered, eventually measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep.

Security camera footage showing the Skydome floor’s collapse has been viewed nearly 8.3 million times on YouTube.

The sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes – two on loan from GM and six owned by the museum:
  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan)
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan)
  • 1962 Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 1-millionth Corvette
  • 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06
  • 2009 1.5-millionth Corvette.

On March 3, the 2009 Blue Devil was the first car recovered and despite significant damage was started and driven out of the Skydome. The 1.5-millionth Corvette and Mallett Corvette were the last cars pulled from the sinkhole, on April 3 and April 9, respectively – after workers were initially unable to find them amid the collapsed earth.

All eight cars were placed in a special display, fueling a nearly 70-percent jump in museum visitor traffic in the months after the sinkhole appeared.

Construction is expected to take approximately 6 months to complete. The Museum will remain open during the process, and the work in the Skydome will be viewable via a Plexiglas wall.
The Museum plans to create a meaningful sinkhole exhibit within the Skydome, featuring the cars involved, 3D interactive images of the sinkhole, videos, photos and more.

The Museum is located at I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, KY - just one hour north of Nashville, TN and less than two hours south of Louisville, KY. Open daily, 8am-5pm CT, admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 and over, $5 for kids age 6-16 and children age 5 and under are free. Access to view the sinkhole is included with regular admission. Guests who enter the Skydome to view the sinkhole must be age 8 or older. For more information on the Museum, visit their website at www.corvettemuseum.org or call 800-538-3883.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ron Fellows Performance Driving School Partners with the National Corvette Museum

During the National Corvette Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, a partnership was announced naming the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain as the “Official Performance Driving School of the National Corvette Museum” and “Official Partner of the NCM Motorsports Park.”

“We are pleased to come to a multi-year agreement with the National Corvette Museum and it's new Motorsports Park," said Ron Fellows, a charter member of Corvette Racing and 2011 Corvette Hall of Fame inductee. "All of us at Spring Mountain and the school are looking forward to this partnership to better serve the Corvette and performance driving community on a number of initiatives.”

Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain has been successfully operating high performance driving schools just outside of Las Vegas, NV since 2008, with nearly 30,000 graduates to date. As “The Official High Performance Driving School of Corvette” and the exclusive home of the C7 Corvette Owners School, partnering with the National Corvette Museum and Motorsports Park only benefits the Corvette community.

The 186-acre NCM Motorsports Park features a 3.15 mile road course which is comprised of two circuits, “East” and “West”. The teams at Corvette Racing and Pratt and Miller advised the Museum on the layout, incorporating features from their most challenging track, the Le Mans circuit. The facility welcomes all makes and models of vehicles, including motorcycles and is located adjacent to I-65 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“Joining forces with Ron Fellows and Spring Mountain furthers our mission to offer a safe and challenging environment where drivers of all ages, interests and skill levels can become more proficient behind the wheel,” said Mitch Wright, NCM Motorsports Park General Manager. “Spring Mountain has a long-standing track record of successful driving programs so we are excited to have them as our Official Partner at the track.”

Look for an announcement in the coming weeks regarding programs and curriculum at the NCM Motorsports Park; featuring the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School, space will be limited!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NCM Motorsports Park Pavilion and Entry Road Named for Autocross Enthusiast

Family of Kimberlee Fast Donate in Remembrance

Kim Fast started racing in 1997 and was named Rookie of the Year for the Corvette Club of Michigan.  She was always ranked in the top five for the club in racing, and in the top 10 for the Michigan Region of NCCC (National Council of Corvette Clubs).  It was safe to say that autocrossing and high speed events on road courses in the mid-west states were her “thing.”  Kim was also no stranger to the National Corvette Museum, attending most of the events hosted in Bowling Green, KY.

In January of 2007 Kim was diagnosed with ALM leukemia, losing her battle just three years later in 2010.  Her parents, Chuck and Sharon Fast of Northville, MI, wanted an appropriate way to remember their daughter.  “We know that Kim would have been at the NCM Motorsports Park for any and every opportunity,” said Chuck.  “We can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than by contributing to the project.”
Chuck and Sharon first contributed to the Motorsports Park in 2013, purchasing five acres through the Museum’s “Buy an Acre Club” fundraising program, in Kim’s name.

“Kim attended most of the events at the NCM, and that’s why we donated the acres in her name, so when the opportunity came up to name the entry road to the track we couldn’t pass it up,” said Chuck.  “Then in our conversations with Wendell and Gary the naming of the Pavilion came up and we thought that she would really be proud to have the building named after her.”

Chuck and Sharon’s legacy gift to the NCM includes naming the entry road the Kimberlee A. Fast Drive and naming the pavilion the Kimberlee A. Fast Pavilion.  The pavilion’s construction is planned for completion in the spring of 2015 and will include food services, open-air picnic seating, restrooms and showers.  Kimberlee A. Fast Drive will officially open August 28, 2014 as part of the Grand Opening ceremony of the NCM Motorsports Park.

“Chuck and Sharon used what would have been Kimberlee’s inheritance to recognize her love for Corvette and the Corvette Museum,” said Gary Cockriel, Development Officer for the Museum.  “It really is a unique way to remember her and all the memories she made with her family enjoying the Corvette hobby.  Kim’s legacy will continue on at the Motorsports Park.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

NCM Motorsports Park Names Autocross / Skidpad Area

Museum supporter signs on as Park donor

The NCM Motorsports Park has secured a naming rights donor for the autocross/skidpad area of the new Park, giving the project another boost as construction of the track is nearing the finish line.  The Edward and Shari Glazer Vehicle Dynamics Area is slated to officially open August 28, 2014 as part of the National Corvette Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and 5th National Corvette Caravan.

“One of the best memories I had with my father was going with him to pick up his first new Corvette back in 1984.  That’s really when my love for the car began,” explained Ed Glazer.  “I’ve been fortunate to own many Corvettes since then and have taken delivery of a couple of them at the Museum.  It’s an incredible experience for anyone buying a Corvette.”

Glazer, of Los Angeles, California, took delivery of a 1999 Light Pewter Corvette Coupe in September 1998, and was the lucky winner of a 2008 Black Z06 Corvette raffled by the Museum, taking delivery in April of that year.

Glazer says he couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the project, “I am so happy to help with the construction of the Motorsports Park and I hope many other fathers and sons or daughters get to create their own Corvette memories there or at the Museum as I did with my dad.”

While the track will be open to all makes and models of vehicles, Mitch Wright, General Manager of the Park, explains how supporters like the Glazers are the reason the Museum is able to take on a project of this caliber.  “For several years, the fundraising for the Motorsports Park was a grassroots effort.  Nearly 200 Corvette enthusiasts and clubs stepped up, contributing funds towards purchasing acres of land to not only get the project off the ground, but to show potential sponsors the kind of support that existed for the track.  Ed’s contribution is a big boost to our on-going fundraising efforts.”

The Glazer Vehicle Dynamics Area will be utilized not only for high performance drivers’ education, but also recreational racing, teen driver safety training, emergency vehicle drivers’ training, corporate hospitality events, manufacturer testing and a resource for engineering, math and science disciplines.  To learn more about the project and view a calendar of upcoming events, log on to www.motorsportspark.org.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Corvette Central Joins NCM Motorsports Park as a Sponsor

Michigan-based Corvette Central, a manufacturer and distributor of C1-C7 Corvette parts and accessories, has joined the NCM Motorsports Park’s growing list of supporters by signing on as a sponsor.

“Corvette Central is proud to support this exciting project,” said Scott Kohn, Co-owner and Marketing Manager of the company.  “We have been a Lifetime Business Member of the Museum since 1999, have a Walk of Fame Brick and have supported America’s Sports Car magazine with advertising through the years.  The NCM Motorsports Park is just another way we can support the Museum, and a great way to connect with customers.”

Corvette Central has signed on as a Garage Sponsor, which includes signage above their sponsored garage, along with additional track signage and other benefits.

In the early 70s, before the days of catalogs and internet shopping, auto enthusiasts relied on swap meets to get the parts they needed for rebuilds and restorations.  It was then that Jerry Kohn, a Corvette enthusiast from Michigan, was searching out much needed parts for a 1958 Corvette.  He discovered that the parts he needed were either unavailable, of poor quality or overpriced.  Being a tool and die maker by trade allowed Kohn to build tooling and die cast his first reproduction parts, grille teeth for 1953-1960 Corvettes.  What started out as a hobby for Kohn grew into an operation that now offers 60,000 parts for all seven generations of Corvette.

“Corvette Central is a leader in researching, developing and manufacturing parts for Corvettes,” said Mitch Wright, NCM Motorsports Park General Manager.  “We’re excited to have them on board with our project, and appreciative of the fact that they are long standing supporters of the Museum.  Coincidentally, Jerry is National Corvette Museum Lifetime Member #11, and Scott is #12.”

The NCM Motorsports Park will host grand opening ceremonies on Thursday, August 28 at 9am CT as part of the Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and 5th National Corvette Caravan.  A ceremonial community grand opening will be held on Tuesday, September 16 at 3:30pm CT and is open to the public.  To learn more about the Park visit www.motorsportspark.org.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Holley Performance Products Joins NCM Motorsports Park as Control Tower and Event Center Sponsor

Structure will house viewing deck, event space, offices and more

The NCM Motorsports Park announced today that Holley Performance Products, a leader in automotive performance products, has committed to sponsoring the Park’s Control Tower and Event Center.

“It is only fitting that two great American motorsport brands like Corvette and Holley unite with our sponsorship of the NCM Motorsports Park,” said Trevor Wiggins, Holley VP of Sales.  “This track is going to secure Bowling Green’s identity as a motorsports town and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Holley has been in Bowling Green since 1951, and has been an important part of the Bowling Green economy, currently employing over 250 people at its Russellville Road facility.  The company’s industry leading products include electronic fuel injection systems, carburetors, exhaust systems, and many other products for high performance street and racing applications.  Holley has powered every NASCAR team since the 1960s with products made in Bowling Green including their current EFI throttle body. 

The two-level Holley Control Tower and Event Center will feature 6,300 square feet on each level (12,600 total in building) including 1,800 square feet of meeting and classroom space, lobby/retail area, restrooms, catering kitchen, reception office, administrative offices, race control room, storage and more.  The second level will feature a 2,100 square foot open-air viewing deck, available for private events. A Winners’ Circle Podium is slated for the paddock side of the building, and the overall design of the Holley Control Tower and Event Center mimics that of the Museum. 

“We have been talking to Holley since we first announced that we were building a Motorsports Park and they were as excited as we were,” said Mitch Wright, General Manager of the NCM Motorsports Park.  “Those conversations grew into something bigger and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

Construction on the Holley Control Tower and Event Center is planned for 2015.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

1974 Corvette Donated to Museum

Paul Marseglia from Franklin, Mass. has loved Corvettes for a long time. Growing up he didn’t really care about school or sports, his main interest has always been cars.  When a friend bought a used 1959 Corvette though, his attention turned to America’s sports car. “Gas was cheap back then, so we went riding in it all the time. I had to have one after that.”

In 1969 Paul got a 1958 that needed restoration. “It was a ten year old car that needed everything,” Paul says. Although Paul was a skilled mechanic and loved working on cars, the process was long and painstaking enough to where the idea of having a new one was getting more appealing all the time. “Coincidentally my brother was interested in Corvettes at the same time, so we end up getting two new 1974s.”

He’s had it ever since.

When asked why he’s had it for so long he smiles, “I like it. I like everything about it. Every generation of Corvette that has come out I’ve liked, but not enough to trade in my 1974 or buy a new one and hold on to the old one.”

Being  a mechanic, it was not a problem changing the fluids every year. He kept it out of the rain, and took care of the leather seats, treating them so they’d always be like new. He kept a log book to keep track of the work he had done, and tried to keep it as close to original as possible. After four decades of ownership though, he began to think that maybe it was time for someone else to take care of her. But who?

“I’m a founding member of the Museum so I know that people donate their Corvettes. I figured that was the best thing to do… to take it somewhere for other people to enjoy, and for other people to take care of.  I don’t want to sell it locally and see it getting beat up or neglected by somebody. I wanted it to go to someone who would take care of it.  I get emotional when it comes to my cars.”

Paul touches the car as guests come around to look at it. A member of the Museum passes by and says, “What a nice addition to our collection.”

Paul breaks out in a smile. “That makes me feel good to hear that. It makes it worth it.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Museum Board Meets Regarding Sinkhole Fate

The National Corvette Museum Board of Directors met today to discuss and decide on the future of the Skydome building. Three primary options were presented: 1) Fill the sinkhole and replace the floor so that the building is much like it was previously; 2) Keep the entire sinkhole as is; 3) Keep a smaller portion of the hole open.

With 14 of the 16 board members present, the group decided to move forward with Option 3, keeping a portion of the sinkhole open, but pending review of further information.  This option as it stands would include an opening approximately 25’ by 45’ wide, and 30’ deep, providing views down into a portion of the cave.  The opening could have some existing ground and rock face, and a dirt embankment where one or two of the cars could be placed for display.
Each board member expressed how the decision was not about them or what they thought but rather what is best for the Museum, and what most of the members and visitors would want.  “I have a responsibility to represent the people who sent me here. We all do for our geographic areas,” said a Board Member.  “My own personal opinion changed as time went on.  I come here today with my marching orders from my members.  About two thirds of my organization says to leave it open in some form or fashion,” he added.

After much discussion the Board decided that additional information was necessary before making a final decision.  Some changes discussed could affect the cost estimate.  More information was also requested on the impact on the humidity in the room and potential impact on any cars displayed within; the temperature control of the room and any associated impact on the Museum’s utility costs; and review and consideration of any other costs associated with the maintenance of the Skydome if the hole is left partially open.  The additional information could result in the plans being modified.
Mike Murphy, C.E.O. of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, was on hand to answer questions and provide his feedback on the proposals.  “You come in and you have all these displays of the history and life of Corvette, and then you come into the Skydome to see this new part of history,” said Murphy.  “I think it will always be a part of history, but will the increased attendance continue?  I don’t know, but it will always be of high interest.”

As expected, the group deliberated greatly as to what is the right decision.
Christy Thomas, CFO for the Museum, shared that an estimate had been provided for filling in Option 3’s small portion of the sinkhole should the Museum decide later to end the exhibit.  “If the interest in the exhibit wanes, or if down the road we decided that we don’t want the hole any longer there is always an option to put the room back how it was,” Thomas said.

Thomas shared with the Board some numbers – including a 59% increase in the number of visitors from March to June 23, 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.  The Museum has also seen an increase of 71% in admissions income, 58% increase in Corvette Store sales, 46% increase in Corvette CafĂ© sales, 72% increase in Membership for a total of a 65% increase in these revenue areas overall.
“We have to look at creative ways to generate interest in the Museum,” said Executive Director Wendell Strode.   “It would be so much easier to just be a regular automotive museum with our Corvettes on display, but we have to think outside the box.”

The construction plans also included eliminating the two level display space that once existed in the Skydome, both making it easier to get cars in and out, and increasing the number of cars that can be accommodated for display. 
“We only have one chance to do this right.  As a board, we owe it to everyone to explore all possibilities, to completely investigate all financial aspects and impacts, and to make a fully informed decision,” added one Board Member.

Plans are still on track to leave the sinkhole and 8 Corvettes on display “as-is” through the end of August and then begin construction in September.  The Museum will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with an event August 27-30, and the Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park is slated for August 28.  “We have a lot to be thankful for right now,” said Strode.  “We really want to thank all those who have stood by us during this difficult time, and we are looking forward to celebrating with everyone in August! “

Friday, June 6, 2014

National Corvette Museum Sinkhole Viewing Offered This Summer

Guests offered opportunity to enter Skydome for close look at sinkhole

February 12 the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY was handed a lemon... a 40' wide by 60' deep lemon to be exact. What the Museum did, in turn, was even more unexpected than the sinkhole itself. The Museum turned the misfortune into a tourist attraction.

"We started with a Plexiglas viewing window so guests could see the construction going on inside the Skydome, and eventually the recovery of the Corvettes," said Katie Frassinelli, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Museum. "We always had one web cam available inside the Skydome, and due to the growing interest and popularity we added two more so our online visitors could get additional angles to view what was going on."

The interest in the damaged Corvettes continued to grow as did the Museum's attendance, so much so that the Museum decided to leave the sinkhole for the summer, and delay construction until after their 20th Anniversary Celebration August 27-30. "We have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world pre-registered for our event so far, and many of them have expressed an interest in seeing the damaged cars as well as the sinkhole. Determining the best method for repairing it and getting bids on the construction work has been a time consuming process also. In the grand scheme of things, we felt it would be best to delay construction a few months to give all of our visitors the opportunity to see it."

NASCAR Team Owner Rick Hendrick snaps a photo of the Mallett HammerAttendance at the Museum since February has been up nearly 50% over the same time period in 2013. Many guests have expressed that while they came to see the sinkhole and damaged cars, they were pleasantly surprised by the rest of the facility and Corvette displays.

"Driving up I-65, I saw the sign for the museum and decided to make a stop but had fairly low expectations given it was a roadside attraction. I was pleasantly surprised by the facility; it was very modern, well themed, professional staff, and it was much larger than I expected with a gift shop and restaurant," wrote Mark Byrn of Orlando, Florida in a Trip Advisor review. "Even more impressive was the fact that the museum suffered extensive damage from a sinkhole, and they turned a negative into a positive by making the sinkhole into an attraction of sorts and displayed the Corvettes that were heavily damaged. Overall I was very happy to have made the stop."

The Museum is awaiting price estimates on the various options to repair the Skydome, from keeping all of the sinkhole, to leaving just a small portion of it, to restoring the building to the way it was before. The Museum's board of directors is scheduled to convene on June 25 to review the proposals and options on both the building and the "Great 8" Corvettes, and make a decision on the plans moving forward.

The Corvettes that are not restored will be kept on display in the Museum's Skydome, as part of preserving and telling the story of the February 12th sinkhole collapse.

Given the recent boost in attendance, the Museum is expected to hit its 3 millionth visitor within the coming days. As of May 31, 2014 the Museum has recorded 2,995,655 visitors since its Grand Opening September 1994. In celebration of the milestone, the Museum will be awarding their 3 millionth visitor with a special "Walk of Fame" engraved sidewalk brick with their name, one-year membership to the Museum, $10 Corvette Cafe gift certificate, $50 Corvette Store gift card, Flint Brick and article in the Museum's membership magazine, "America's Sports Car."

The Museum is located at I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, KY - just one hour north of Nashville, TN and less than two hours south of Louisville, KY. Open daily, 8am-5pm CT, admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 and over, $5 for kids age 6-16 and children age 5 and under are free. Access to view the sinkhole is included with regular admission. Guests who enter the Skydome to view the sinkhole must be age 8 or older. For more information on the Museum, visit their website at www.corvettemuseum.org or call 800-538-3883.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

2015 Corvette Z06 Rated at 650 Horsepower


Supercharged LT4 V-8 engine is the most powerful ever from Chevrolet

The all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 is the most powerful production car ever from General Motors and one of a few production cars available in the United States that delivers more than 600 horsepower.

The Z06’s LT4 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine is SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque (881 Nm) at 3,600 rpm.

The LT4 Small Block sets a new benchmark for power and torque at GM,” said Steve Kiefer, vice president, GM Powertrain Engineering. “The engine also puts the new Corvette Z06 on par with the most powerful supercars offered in America, while delivering performance with impeccable manners that make it suitable for daily driving.”

Compared with other supercar engines, the LT4 is a veritable fountain of low-end torque, producing 457 lb-ft (619 Nm) just off idle and 625 lb-ft (847 Nm) by only 2,800 rpm. The V-12-powered Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, for example, produces about 28 percent less torque than the Z06, despite offering about 12 percent more horsepower – and its peak torque isn’t achieved until 6,000 rpm. The LT4 maintains 90 percent of its peak torque, or 592 lb-ft (802 Nm), from 2,500 to 5,400 rpm.

The new LT4 engine eclipses the Porsche 911 Turbo S engine’s peak power levelsby 90 horsepower (67 kW) and 134 lb-ft of torque (182 Nm).

“Torque is the pulling power of an engine and the LT4’s abundance of it at every rpm in the engine’s speed range helps the 2015 Corvette Z06 accelerate quickerand respond nearly instantaneously,” said Jordan Lee, chief engineer for Small Block engines. “It’s the very definition of power on demand.”

The new Z06 engine produces 40 percent more peak torque (180 lb-ft / 244 Nm)than the previous-generation’s 7.0L LS7 engine – and 7.5 percent more than the supercharged 2013 Corvette ZR1’s 604 lb-ft (819 Nm)At 3,200 rpm, the new LT4 surpasses the LS7 by 208 lb-ft of torque (252 Nm)On the horsepower side of the graph, the LT4’s 650-hp rating is 29 percent greater than the LS7’s 505 horsepower (376 kW), and 12 horses more than the ZR1’s LS9 engine.

The new LT4 engine builds on the design strengths of our previous supercharged engine and leverages the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray – direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing – to take Corvette performance to an all-new plateau,” said Lee. “Our new, very compact supercharger also helps the engine make power more quickly, and perhaps more importantly, it helps produce more torque earlier in the rpm band.”

“It’s also worth mentioning that the LT4’s supercar performance numbers are achieved with an engine that is nearly the same size as the very compact LT1 engine introduced in the 2014 Corvette Stingray,” Lee said“The power density of the LT4 makes it one of the smallest and lightest 650-hp engines in the industry.

LT4 details
The new LT4 engine is based on the same Gen 5 small block foundation as the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 6.2L naturally aspirated engine, incorporating several unique features designed to support its higher output and the greater cylinder pressures created by forced induction, including:
Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum heads
Lightweight titanium intake valves
Machined, forged powder metal steel connecting rods for reduced reciprocating mass
High 10.0:1 compression ratio – for a forced-induction engine – enhances performance and efficiency and is enabled by direct injection
Forged aluminum pistons with unique, stronger structure to ensure strength under high cylinder pressures
Stainless steel exhaust manifolds and an aluminum balancer that are lighter than their LT1 counterparts
Standard dry-sump oiling system with dual-pressure-control oil pump.

A new 1.7L supercharger spins at up to 20,000 rpm – 5,000 rpm more than the supercharger on the Corvette ZR1’s engine. The rotors are smaller in diameter, which contributes to their higher-rpm capability – and enables them to producepower-enhancing boost earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently via a more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine.

“The Small Block’s cam-in-block design heritage has always enabled very high performance and responsiveness in a small, compact package – an attribute amplified by the performance of our new supercharger’s design,” said Lee.

The LT4 is assembled at the new Performance Build Center at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant and at GM’s Tonawanda engine plant in New York. It is matchedwith a standard seven-speed manual transmission or an all-new, paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission built in Toledo, Ohio.

Designed to deliver shift responses on par with the world’s best dual-clutch transmissions, it is the first automatic offered in a Z06. It also makes the Z06 one of the few cars this powerful to offer the choice of a conventional manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

The 2015 Corvette Z06 goes on sale in early 2015.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet modelscan be found at www.chevrolet.com.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DeLongs Donate Second Corvette

Jack and Dor DeLong are more than friends to the National Corvette Museum, they are family. They come to Bowling Green often to visit their Museum family, and participate in many of Museum in Motion events as well.  They are Museum Lifetime Members who have made donations, bought bricks and “purchased” three acres in support the NCM Motorsports Park. A club ambassador and writer, Jack is always promoting the Corvette lifestyle and documenting his adventures with his wife and his Corvette family. With both of them, it is all about making and sharing special memories, so it was no surprise when they decided to take Museum delivery of their new C7 Corvette and donate their 1992 Corvette to the Museum at the same time. 

“This car is a special car to Dor and I,” Jack says with a smile on his face and glistening eyes. “It was a gift that we gave to ourselves when we reached a point in life where we could really enjoy it. It was the first car we ever took to the Museum, and the first car that we took back to its birthplace at the Assembly Plant. We put many thousands of miles on this car going to countless NASCAR races, club events, and road tours, making memories every mile along the way.”

As much as he loves his other Corvettes, when the C7 Corvette came out Jack was already thinking of the memories that could be made in it. To sell Dor on the idea, he parked their C6 next to one. Dor couldn’t resist walking around it.  “I looked at it and loved it. Especially the back end,” she said. “I told him right then to go get one.” Together they specked it out and decided to take the R8C delivery option at the Museum.

On May 27, 2014, with their Corvette family watching from all over the country on the Museum's web cams, Delivery Team Member Doug Johnson dropped the fob to the C7 in Dor’s open hands, while Jack dropped the keys of their 1992 into Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode’s hand. Surrounded by guests and staff who were smiling, clapping and cheering, another memory was made.

This is the second time the DeLongs have donated a Corvette to the Museum, the first being a few years ago when they delivered their 1988 Blue Metallic Vette.

Thank you Jack and Dor for donating another Corvette to the Museum and for taking delivery of your new one with us. We are so glad that you are a part of our family.

For information on how you can donate your car to the National Corvette Museum, go to: corvettemuseum.org/donations/autos.shtml

For information on taking delivery of your Corvette at the Museum go to: corvettemuseum.org/ncm_delivery/

To learn more about including the Museum in your estate planning email us at: giving@corvettemuseum.org