It gives a whole new meaning to the question, "Dude, where's my car?": Eight rare Corvettes were swallowed by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., on Wednesday.
It was news that hit the Corvette community like a quarter-mile run in a 1967 stroked-and-bored 427-cubic-inch Vette with four-speed and posi rear end.
As Courier-journal.com wrote: "Butch Hume, president of Louisville's Falls City Corvette Club, cringed when he heard which cars were involved. 'I was stunned,' he said. 'That just doesn't happen in Kentucky, and what a terrible place for it to happen.'"
(Unfortunately, Butch knows cars better than geology. Later in the same story, we find this: "Jason Polk, a professor of geology and geography at Western Kentucky University ... is part of the team investigating the cause and extent of the sinkhole. ... The Bowling Green-area geology lends itself to sinkholes and they are not at all uncommon, Polk said." Oh.)
Museum employees were also taking it hard. As Executive Director Wendell Strode said: "There were a lot of tears this morning as [employees] were having to deal with what's in there."
Of course, those could have been tears of joy, giving thanks that they weren't in the museum when the ground opened up.
But, as a car guy from way back, I feel their pain. It's like the pain I feel knowing that I once had the chance to buy a 1966 Vette convertible for $3,000 and my old man said, "It's too much car and it's too much money." He always did have lousy luck in choosing used cars.
Still, before everyone gets carried away, let's take a closer look at these lost "treasures." As my colleague David Undercoffler reported:
"The six affected cars the museum owned were a black 1962 Corvette, a 1984 custom pace car from the IndyCar World Series, the 1 millionth Corvette and 1.5 millionth Corvette ever built, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th anniversary Corvette, and a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette.
"Also damaged were two cars GM had lent the museum: a one-off design concept of a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder -- a model that was never built -- and the original 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil show car."
Now, if you're a Corvette person -- or the unlucky owner of one of these valuable hunks of fiberglass -- this was not your best morning.
But seriously, the 1 millionth and the 1.5 millionth Corvettes? A 40th-anniversary Corvette? I mean, I have the 20th- and the 35th-anniversary Playboy editions (just found them the other day, clearing out boxes in the shed; don't ask!), and they're interesting, but c'mon, they aren't the Mona Lisa. (Although if there were money to be made, I'm pretty sure Chevy would make a special "Mona Lisa Edition" Corvette.)
Not only that, if there's one thing that can be fixed, it's cars. Especially cars that are worth a lot of money.
So cheer up, Vette fans. No more crying in your Bud Lites. Just like in "The Monuments Men," all is not lost. A little money, a little fiberglass, some hammering and that 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette will be (almost) as good as new.
And if not, I'm sure someone will make you a good deal on some slightly worse-for-wear Vettes.