A large sinkhole opened up under eight priceless corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky today at approximately 5:44 am. The sinkhole collapsed a wing of the building that housed some of its most hallowed treasures under a large domed roof. The sinkhole is reported to be 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep; however, it did not shut down the entire museum and it remains open to the public.
This is sure to pull at the heart-strings of many automobile enthusiasts since the Corvette is one of the most well-known and sought after vehicles in American history. The loss count includes eight of the iconic muscle cars, six of which were donations and two that are owned by the company who made them, General Motors.
The listed losses of corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole include a ’62 Black Corvette, ’84 PPG Pace Car, ’92 1 Millionth Corvette, ’93 Ruby Red , 2001 Mallet Hammer Z06, 2009 while 1.5 Millionth, 2009 ZR-1 Blue Devil and a rare 1993 ZR-1 Spyder. For now there is no official word on the exact value of the lost vehicles, the director of the museum, Wendell Strode, said it is “substantial.” The Blue Devil and the ZR-1 Spyder are on loan from General Motors. There is no official word from General Motors on the exact value or a comment about the incident.
The sinkhole opened below the domed section of the Corvette museum, where the eight priceless beauties sat and that section will remain closed; however, the rest of the museum will remain open to the public, even though many car enthusiasts may not be able to stand the sight of so many classics laying at the bottom of the 20 feet deep hole.
Authorities from the fire department believe that the sinkhole started sometime before 5:30 am, and by 5:44 am alarms caused by the motion detectors brought police to the scene. Strode at first thought it was a fire, and he raced to the museum as well. What they found when they arrived may be considered something worse than a fire; 8 priceless Corvettes at the bottom of a 20 foot hole. One can almost hear the collective groan of all on scene when they realized what had happened, and the subsequent pain each one felt as they stared at the catastrophe.
The museum is in Bowling Green, Kentucky, roughly 60 miles northeast of Nashville. The museum does happen to sit near the edge of a region that is known for caves, underground springs and sinkholes. In fact, the museum is just about thirty miles away from Mammoth Cave National Park, a cave system that boasts more than 400 miles of explored caves.
The museum is set to have two big events coming this year; the 2014 Corvette Caravan and the museum’s 20th anniversary. Strode expects that Corvette owners from all over the United States and Canada to come to the event. Despite eight of the museum’s priceless and irreplaceable corvettes being swallowed by the sinkhole he still plans to keep the museum open and the events marked on the calendar.
By Adam Stier