MotoIQ Visits the Corvette Museum

MotoIQ Visits the Corvette Museum

by David Zipf

The Chevrolet Corvette is America’s sports car.  The Dodge Viper may have a bigger engine and a cooler name, but the Corvette has history.  The Corvette started an automotive dynasty that has lasted for 63 years, spanning seven generations.  It is one of the longest running models in the automotive world and one that conjures up apple pie, baseball, drag racing, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  And while a Corvette Museum may seem like a bit of an extravagance for one car, the Corvette Museum does so much more than just show off a few cool cars.  In fact the Corvette Museum is a living archive of everything Corvette.  GM has supplied the Corvette Museum with all of the records for each and every Corvette ever built.  If you want to know who built your engine and when, you can find out.  The Corvette Museum also offers many gatherings and parties for Corvette owners and soon they will host their own track days.

 

While the Corvette Museum has been around since 1994, it has been in the news in the last year, not because of the amazing cars it hosts, but because of what happened to some of those cars.  As many of you know, just over one year ago a huge sink hole opened up under the museum and took eight Corvettes with it.  That sinkhole has now been filled and paved over; the downed Corvettes rescued from what could have been an unfitting grave.  The sinkhole grabbed headlines and the museum has played up the disaster well, turning a PR nightmare into a business bonanza, more than doubling attendance in the last year.

 

Security footage from the sinkhole swallowing the Corvettes.

But enough on the sinkhole (for now).  How did we end up at the Corvette museum in the first place?  Well our 2001 Isuzu Vehicross called Bowling Green, KY home before we picked it up.  Obviously being in Bowling Green, where all Corvettes are built and the Corvette museum itself is located, we had to go check out the museum.  So with the ink still wet on the title of our Isuzu, we headed over to the museum.

 

Shameless picture of our Vehicross in front of the museum.  Hey, you asked for more VehiCross, so now you’re getting it!

The museum is less than a mile from the Corvette factory, and in fact you can see both the museum and the factory from the highway as you drive into town.  The entire town of Bowling Green revolves around the Corvette (and UK West, but that’s another story) and you see a ton of shops with ‘Corvette’ or some variation of Corvette in their names.

 

Seeing a trailer full of brand new, plastic wrapped Corvettes is also a common sight and proof you’re in ‘Vette country.

Corvette Drive, the road that leads to the Corvette Museum (I did say that Bowling Green revolves around this car) is not well marked and it can be a bit difficult to find the way to the museum, but once you do you will be greeted with a majestic concrete building absolutely plastered with Corvette logos as well as a parking lot with many “Corvette Parking only” signs.

 

The first car you see in the museum proper, is this 1963 Grand Sport replica.  Corvette geeks will know there were 5 Grand Sport Corvettes built in 1963 in defiance of the Manufacturer ban on Motorsport instituted in 1958.  Even bigger Corvette geeks will know there were actually 6 and that one was burned to the ground around 1964.  The cars had big block engines and enough aluminum stuffed into their bodies to make an NSX blush.  The cars were incredibly fast and handled diabolically.  Roger Penske even raced one when he was still a driver.  Their story is really incredible and I highly suggest you read up further on the cars.  I remember reading about them in Autoweek 10 years ago: it was the first time I ever really became interested in the Corvette (I was a very impressionable 13 at the time).
The interior is mostly period correct, but again this is a tribute, not an original or a perfect replica.  The lack of rollcage shows this is definitely not a racecar.  It is still beautifully built though.

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