This month’s bout of devastating tornados that struck parts of the southern, central, and midwestern United States left paths of unfathomable destruction in its wake. Western Kentucky was especially hard hit, suffering an EF4-rating tornado that traveled over 160 miles in three hours, killing 58 people and causing incalculable property damage. GM’s Bowling Green Assembly plant, home of the C8 Corvette, was among the countless damaged structures, and according to Corvette Action Center, some ten dozen brand new examples of the C8 Corvette were destroyed beyond saving.
Needless to say, among the 122 C8 Corvette sports cars destroyed were many customer-ordered cars, which have been totaled. The dealers responsible for originally placing those orders will have to resubmit them, although they’ll reportedly be put at the front of the line for production when Bowling Green Assembly reopens on December 21st. This is just the latest setback for Chevrolet’s attainable rear-mid-engine supercar, which got off to a rocky start due to a nationwide GM workforce strike in 2019, and countless hiccups related to the global Covid-19 pandemic starting the following spring, including the semiconductor shortage that’s currently slowing the recovery of the auto industry as a whole.
Miraculously, no one at the C8 Corvette assembly plant was injured during the storm; about 20 or 30 people were at the plant when the tornado struck, but they sheltered in the basement when the emergency alarms went off. A fire broke out on the roof of the factory, and an employee entrance was reportedly damaged by the tornado, but GM worked quickly to make the necessary repairs.
The 122 C8 Corvette sports cars and the Bowling Green Assembly plant itself weren’t the only Corvette casualties as the tornado ripped through the city of Bowling Green; the nearby National Corvette Museum also sustained damage to its outdoor Motorsports Park, and according to a statement on the National Corvette Museum website, the facility will remain closed indefinitely while the damages are assessed and cleanup crews clear the debris. Thankfully, none of the museum staff were harmed, and the museum itself – including its numerous cars and other Corvette-related artifacts – are safe.