Bay area man loses Corvette in Kentucky museum sinkhole

$125,000 car swallowed by sinkhole

Kevin Helmintoller replays what could only be described as a nightmare in his head: The moment a sinkhole swallowed his $125,000 Corvette.

"Unbelievable," he said with a long face. "Devastating. I put my blood, sweat and tears into that car. Literally some of my blood went into that car."

Helmintoller relives the day his 2001, heavily-modified Corvette was jacked on a race trailer. He was known for racing his cars at tracks up and down the east coast, especially the vehicle he donated to the Kentucky National Corvette Museum just after Thanksgiving 2013.  

"We were backing it out and it got hung up on the tow hook. So I just reached under it to pull the hook out of the way. Well the car rolled on top of my hand and crushed all the bones in my hand," Helmintoller said.

He remembers that moment fondly because at least he had his beloved car in 2001.

Helmintoller's Corvette was one of eight swallowed by a massive sinkhole Feb. 12. His car was on display just six weeks before the hole opened up beneath the Kentucky museum. That wasn't even long enough for the Helmintoller's to see it in all its glory themselves. It sunk straight down into a 40-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep hole. 

He will get nothing for the loss as the title to the car and all the rights had been turned over when he donated the 700-horse-power dream car.

Helmintoller said watching the surveillance video from inside the museum when his Corvette dropped is almost unbearable.

"For the first time since 1996, I own no Corvettes," said Helmintoller.

Helmintoller said he has been staying in close contact with the museum and it tells him General Motors and the Chevrolet Motor Division will manage the restoration of the salvageable cars at their facilities in Detroit.

Of the eight Corvettes in the sinkhole, two have not been located.  Helmintoller's and the 1.5 millionth Corvette ever made of the complete loses.  

There is a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel though.  Helmintoller says he has already ordered his new baby.  A 2015 Corvette which he will head to Kentucky to pick up early part of 2015.

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