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Earth Swallowed 8 Corvettes Five Years Ago This Week

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Remember the Corvette Museum sinkhole?

At 5:39 a.m. on February 12, 2014 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Mother Nature struck in a very unkind way. A 40-foot sinkhole opened up inside the Skydome and eight rare and unique Corvettes took a 30-foot plunge to the bottom. The disaster was also caught on film in case anyone doubts this really happened.

Never let a crisis go to waste, the museum took advantage of the sinkhole by turning it into a tourist attraction once geologists confirmed it was stable. There were even plans at one point to permanently keep the sinkhole because of the large crowds it drew, but ultimately the decision was made to fill it in.

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The added income the museum took in because of the accident turned out to be a financial blessing in disguise. Stranger things have happened. As far as the Corvettes that began a journey to the center of the earth, all had to be professionally extracted before the damage could be assessed. Fortunately, all of them were salvaged but required extensive and expensive repairs.

The last of the eight to be fully restored, a 1962 C2 finished in Tuxedo Black, was finally completed only a year ago. GM handled repairs for the damaged Corvettes it owns that were on display at the museum including a C6 Corvette ZR1.

There was also the one-millionth Corvette GM took extra pains to salvage. The restoration team even scanned the signatures of those who originally built it on the car's underside for preservation purposes.

All told, the final repair bill to fix the museum itself and fill in the sinkhole came to $3.2 million. Chances are those costs were covered by the increased attendance. The cost to repair the Corvettes is unknown but it was anything but cheap. And now, five years later, it's as if nothing ever happened.