National Corvette Museum Sinkhole – Bowling Green, Kentucky - Atlas Obscura

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National Corvette Museum Sinkhole

Eight rare Corvettes are swallowed up by a sinkhole in Kentucky's National Corvette Museum. 


A sinkhole that the Bowling Green, Kentucky Fire Department estimated to be 40 feet across and up to 30 feet deep opened up underneath some very expensive machines in February 2014, making car collectors around the world wince in horror. 

Eight Corvettes on display at the National Corvette Museum plummeted into the void in the spacious “Skydome building” in the wee hours of the morning, luckily while the museum was closed to visitors at the time and no one was injured. The not-so-lucky vehicles that toppled into the sinkhole included a 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, and two cars on loan from General Motors, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, and a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil”. 

As engineers and the museum’s shell-shocked staff deal with the lofty issue of removing the Corvettes from their dusty, subterranean prison, car nuts bemoan the loss as GM promises to oversee all restoration efforts once the cars have been recovered. 

While the exact worth of the Corvettes sitting at the bottom of the 30-foot hole in the middle of the museum is hard to estimate, the number is easily several million—the white “1 Millionth Corvette” alone is worth close to $750,000, and the Spyder Prototype is worth around $250,000. It brings new meaning to the popular opinion that classic cars are money pits.

Know Before You Go

While the sink hole has since been filled, a sink hole exhibit which opened since the incident occurred is available to see, as andwell as the partially redone Skydome building, inside which you can see both the cars which fell, as well as an outline on the floor showing where the sinkhole was, and where the outline to the cave is. To view all of this, you must pay the standard admission to the National Corvette Museum (standard adult ticket is $12).  There's a virtual tour of the event in the museum and it is very realistic.

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