National Corvette Museum

2009 1.5 Millionth Corvette, 1984 PPG Corvette First to Fall at National Corvette Museum Tragedy

A little over 24 hours have passed since a massive sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green Kentucky swallowed up 8 rare, historic Corvettes and we now have more information including videos that show us how it all went down – along with a look at the rubble in the hole afterwards.

The odds are good that if you are reading this, you know that early on the morning of Wednesday February 12th, a sinkhole under the Skydome of the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky caused the floor to collapse under 8 rare and historic Chevrolet Corvettes. At first, there were no images or videos available and with only a limited amount of information on the damage to the facility, it was tough to speculate as to just how bad things were for those 8 Corvettes.

The National Corvette Museum management has been good enough to offer up as much information as possible including a handful of videos that show the final seconds for those cars and a look at the inside of the hole from a small helicopter when it was all said and done.

First, some information about the sinkhole that swallowed up those 8 historic Corvettes. Reports indicate that the hole under the floor of the National Corvette Museum was about 30 feet deep and roughly 40 feet wide. Some of you have asked why this kind of thing isn’t checked for and it is – but the ground would have been checked prior to the structure being built some 20 years ago and, unfortunately, a sinkhole of this size could have opened up gradually over the past two decades.

There is also the possibility that when the ground was inspected ahead of construction, the normal process could have simply missed the huge hole. Some information that I have read about sinkholes and about the inspection process reveals that there are a variety of factors that can cause an inspection to miss a sinkhole…even one of this size.

The next order of business is to discuss those 8 Corvettes swallowed up by the sinkhole yesterday morning. The National Corvette Museum surveillance system captured 49 seconds of footage from a camera that was directly over the sinkhole. When the 49 second video begins, we can clearly see 4 Corvettes – the 2009 1.5 millionth Corvette (white car, dark stripe, left side of the video), the 1984 PPG Pace Car (metallic orange car, middle), the 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil (blue car, right side of video) and what I believe to be the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette (red car, bottom of video). As soon as the video begins, we can see all of the cars in the frame shift a little; and then a little more. A smaller hole opens up under the back end of the 1984 PPG Pace Car and the 1.5 millionth Corvette and then around the 37 second mark of the video – the floor totally collapses below these two Corvettes. At this point, we can also see the floor below the Blue Devil begin to give way before the video comes to an end.


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The other security video gives a better angle on the '62 and the ZR1s. I can't tell if the white car on the end is the Millionth, but I'm guessing so.