The Washington Post

Sinkhole swallows cars at Corvette museum in Kentucky

An enormous sinkhole opened in the floor of the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky on Wednesday morning, swallowing several of the iconic muscle cars.

The sinkhole apparently began to open before 5:45 a.m., when there was no one inside the museum in Bowling Green, according to a statement posted on the museum’s Web site.

The museum said it was alerted to the sinkhole by an alarm company. Firefighters arrived to find a hole 40 feet wide and 25 to 30 feet deep, which had opened up in a large display area called the Sky Dome.

Photos from the scene showed at least two cars in the hole. In all, the museum said, eight Corvettes were affected — six owned by the museum and two that were on loan from General Motors. The GM plant that makes Corvettes is across the street from the museum.

The damaged cars included a 1962 model, a 1994 car listed as “PPG Pace Car,” a 1992 model that was the 1 millionth Corvette made, and a 2009 model that was Corvette number 1,500,000. Also damaged were a 1993 “40th Anniversary Corvette,” a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 model, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil.”

The museum did not release a cost estimate of the damage Wednesday.

Bowling Green is in western Kentucky, an area with geology — full of karst — that has created an abundance of caves, springs and sinkholes.

Photos of the sinkhole were quickly disseminated on social media and television Wednesday morning, stunning Corvette enthusiasts.

“By golly, I’m looking at a picture now. Look at how deep it is. . . . Unbelievable. Ugh,” said Gary Mortimer, founder of the National Corvette Restorers Society, in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. He said many of the museums’ cars are the only ones of their kind left and would be difficult to replace.

David A. Fahrenthold covers Congress for the Washington Post. He has been at the Post since 2000, and previously covered (in order) the D.C. police, New England, and the environment.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says ...
This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.