BOWLING GREEN, KY – Sinkholes are swallowing Corvettes now. Last year it was houses in Florida, and on Wednesday nature gobbled up some of the coolest and fastest cars to come off the assembly line.
Eight valuable ‘vettes at Bowling Green, Kentucky’s National Corvette Museum fell victim to a 40-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up in the facility’s yellow Sky Dome wing. The museum unofficially estimates it caused millions of dollars in damage.
Motion detectors alerted security that something was amiss shortly after 5:30 a.m., said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli. An employee who first walked into the room “has been in shock all day,” she said.
“When you go in there, it’s unreal,” said Frassinelli. “The hole is so big, it makes the Corvettes look like little Matchbox cars.”
The news triggered a collective worldwide gasp from the Corvette Nation.
“I was shocked,” said Frazer Bharucha, 47, a Corvette owner since age 17. “We’re talking about iconic cars that have been around for years.”
Using remote-controlled drones, geologists and engineers from nearby Western Kentucky University have already explored the sinkhole and determined that the Sky Dome suffered no structural damage, Frassinelli said. “There’s a cave down there,” she said, adding that the museum is only a short drive away from Mammoth Cave National Park.
The damaged portion of the museum will be closed indefinitely, but the rest of the facility will be open as usual on Thursday, she said.
The painful losses have been tallied: Of the eight cars that fell, six were donated to the museum by Corvette enthusiasts, and two are owned by the car’s maker, General Motors.
Here’s the museum’s list of cars that went down the hole:
— a 1962 “Black Corvette”
— a 1984 PPG pace car
— a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil”
— the 1992 white “1 Millionth Corvette”
— a 1993 ruby red “40th Anniversary Corvette”
— a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
— the 2009 white “1.5 Millionth Corvette”
— a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
The total value of the damaged cars is substantial, said museum executive director Wendell Strode. Almost all the cars have been removed from the room. They’ve been setting up ramps to get the last one out,” said Frassinelli. That remaining Corvette is suspended in a precarious position on a riser directly above the sinkhole.