Book lifts sinking feeling

Quite a week for the Vette.

Delivered to my home on Tuesday was a copy of “Corvette Stingray: The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car,” a beautiful coffee-table book by author Larry Edsall.

Three hundred photos, 192 pages – a bright look, indeed, for the legendary Corvette. It doesn’t get much better than this.

A bit worse, for sure, though, on Wednesday when a news report detailed the destruction of eight historical Vettes which fell into a 40-by-20-foot sinkhole beneath the yellow Sky Dome wing at the National Corvette Museum at Bowling Green, Ky. Millions of dollars of damages were estimated.

A sinkhole? Beneath the museum? My gosh.

General Motors has said it will restore whatever cars can be extracted from the sinkhole. GM executive Mark Reuss, a Corvette fanatic, said, “The vehicles are some of the most significant in automotive history. There can be only one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the museum reopens.”

The immediate response and significance of the Corvette history indicates why GM would grant Edsall exclusive access to engineers, designers and other Corvette team members, as well as its own photographic archives, to create this photo book of the seventh-generation icon.

I was one of 1,200 persons who filed in out of the rain at the old Russell Industrial Center in Detroit on the night of Jan. 13, 2013, for the unveiling of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It was the eve of the North American International Auto Show. Plans were already underway for the new book.Pikes Peak gets a mention in the pages. Ed Cole, GM engineer, created a new and compact V-8 engine for Chevrolet in 1954 and ’55, small in size and weight, but powerful, producing 195 horsepower. The engine made its debut in the Corvette that served as the pace car for the 1955 Indianapolis 500 and soon barreled up Pikes Peak in the “Climb to the Clouds” race.

Corvette Stingray: The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car is hardcover, with 350 color photos, published by Motorbooks, $40.