On the morning of February 12th, 2014, we all woke to the realization that eight significant Corvettes had fallen captive to a rare sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. As news of the event flourished over the internet at the speed of light, it seemed that all eyes were focused on the spire where the cars still resided, albeit now approximately forty feet below.
As information poured out via news agencies, radio reports and the NCM’s press updates, terms such as Karst and cavern came into our vocabulary and we learned more details about their destructive power. The NCM even released the security camera footage captured as the event happened in the early morning hours before the museum opened. Thankfully, the timing was such that no one was in the building during the occurrence. News agencies from around the globe reported on the event and people who had never uttered the word “Corvette”, were now burning up bandwidth to know more about these eight cars in particular.
While three stand out, there are eight cars down deep in this sinkhole.
Down below, between the rubble and mud, were eight prized Corvettes, and over the course of the next few months, the world would slowly learn of the current condition of each one. Some were still visible where they landed, seemingly unscathed from their several-story drop while others were completely covered, their fate uncertain from the surface. Even when they were recovered, the weight of the mud, concrete, the building’s metal structure and even the other cars had all but removed any traces of their former identity. As time rolled on, we learned that some would be restored to their former glory while others would remain in their sinkhole-extracted state; forever wearing the evidence of their stay in the cold, dark Kentucky ground. They would all share the same history, but the evidence of their experience would be more manifest on some than the others.
Once the Corvettes were removed from the sinkhole, work began to secure the remaining earth in preparation of rebuilding the flooring of the spire and ensuring that this does not happen again.
Since then, throngs of people twirled the turnstiles of the NCM to observe the scene of the crime for themselves. Some witnessed the cars coming out of the ground, while others got a better view by visiting after they were all removed and shown in their as-extracted state.
The National Corvette Museum reopened the spire exhibit section of the museum with great fanfare. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony, appropriately using Caution tape, and the new exhibit helps visitors understand more about Karst landscapes, sinkholes and how each car was recovered. All eight of the cars are within the exhibit and are shown either restored, or in as-excavated condition. We'll take a look at each Corvette in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Now, almost three years after the event, each of the cars has since settled-in to the newest chapter of their history. Some have put on quite a few more miles since the event while others’ odometers are now etched in mud-covered stone. We’ll take a look at each one of the Corvettes that fell victim to the sinkhole at the NCM and show you their current condition. Our “Where Are They Now?” if you will. Some will bear testament to the talent of restoration craftsmen while others will forever serve to show the awesome destructive power of mother nature. Either way, each member of this exclusive eight-car pile-up will forever be remembered and revered as The Sinkhole Corvettes.