If you are a car fan and are connected to the Internet, there’s no doubt you saw it—eight Corvettes on the floor of the National Corvette Museum fell about 40 feet through a sinkhole. Security cameras captured the carnage, and it was pure luck that it happened early in the morning when no one was around. A crane has managed to hoist five of them up to safety, although three remain buried.
Bowling Green construction company chief executive G. Michael Murphy is overseeing a team of construction and Corvette engineers to bring all the cars up safely. Says Mr. Murphy in an interview by The New York Times, “We have a karst topography,” referring to the voids formed when underground rock formations are dissolved and washed away by flowing water. “It’s just a way of life, dealing with underground caves and sinkholes in this area.”
But there is a silver lining to all this, as the five cars that have currently been rescued are on display at the museum, having become a tourist attraction of their own. GM’s vice president for global design, Edward T. Welburn Jr., told The Times, “The initial thought was: Restore them all. But now there has been so much interest that the current thinking is to not restore them, at least right away.” Interestingly, not everyone agrees. “A lot of those cars should be left the way they are,” said Kevin Mackay, a Corvette restorer in Valley Stream, NY.
The executive director to the Corvette Museum, Wendell Strode, says the damaged cars will be shipped to Detroit to be repaired by the design staff. And the museum structure? That’s what insurance is for. In the meantime, Strode says there is no shortage of collectors offering to display their cars as placeholders.