The earth opened up and gulped down eight Corvettes before sunrise this morning at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. No people were injured in the incident, but there are surely some Corvette aficionados that are more than a bit bummed.
According to executive director Wendell Strode, the museum’s security company alerted management at 5:44 AM CST that motion alarms were going off in the Skydome exhibit portion of the museum that displays the museums prime cars. The Skydome is a separate building connected to the main museum.
The Bowling Green fire department arrived shortly thereafter and secured the area, only allowing one Corvette to be moved away from a sinkhole that was estimated to be 40 feet across and 25 to 30 feet deep. A few pictures have surfaced, showing the sinkhole with a couple cars visible in it and other Corvettes around the hole undisturbed.
The Corvette that was allowed to be removed from the area was an irreplaceable 1983 Corvette prototype. No production model Vettes were made in 1983 and the one at the museum is only surviving prototype.
It was with “heavy hearts” that the museum disclosed which eight Vettes dropped into the hole, a list comprised of:
· 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
· 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil”
· 1962 Black Corvette
· 1984 PPG Pace Car
· 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
· 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
· 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
· 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette
The 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” were on loan from General Motors (GM) . The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum.
Geologists from Western Kentucky University and engineers are on site investigating the sinkhole, structural damage and the likelihood of any other sinkholes occurring. The museum was closed for the day.
The National Corvette Museum is only about one mile down the road from the only General Motors plant that builds the iconic Corvette. It also happens to be in Kentucky’s largest karst region, called the Western Pennyroyal area, were miles and miles of deep caves run underground. The Western Pennyroyal is characterized by layers of limestone are worn away. Sinkholes, springs and caves are hallmarks of these types of formations.
At this point, no monetary value has been put on the damage, nor has there been any determination as to how long it will take to assess any structural damage.
The museum is hosting the 2014 Corvette Caravan in September in celebration of being open for two decades. Corvette lovers from all 50 states are expected to flock to Bowling Green as part of the event.