Revered Porsche collection damaged in deadly Durham explosion

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Durham
Damaged Porsches can be seen in this aerial view of the building | Durham Herald Sun

Amidst the death and destruction caused by a massive gas-line explosion in Durham, North Carolina, was extensive damage to a trove of rare and historic Porsches housed in a building next door to the one that sustained the blast.

Aerial photos and video taken at the scene of the explosion in downtown Durham show a gaping hole in the roof of the brick structure where Bob Ingram kept his much-admired collection of an estimated 80 Porsche sports cars.

Durham
The building next to Ingram’s Porsche collection was demolished | Fox15 News

Damaged cars can be seen through the hole, which caused sections of the roof to drop onto the vehicles, among them early examples of Porsche 356s and special performance models of the iconic 911.  In videos, a thick stream of water from a fire hose can be seen spraying into the hole to suppress flareups and no doubt causing further damage to the cars.

As of Wednesday evening, no one had yet reported the extent of damage to the collection amassed by Ingram, a former pharmaceuticals executive who began collecting Porsches about two decades ago and whose collection was one of the most extensive in the nation.

Durham
Bob Ingram with sons Rory and Cameron at his collection in 2014 | Porsche.com

The Porsches kept in the building were assembled in museum-quality display and range from the third-oldest Porsche 356 built, when the company first began producing cars in Gmund, Austria, to a modern Porsche 918 supercar. The collection highlights significant moments in 70 years of Porsche history.

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The explosion was apparently caused by a contractor that struck a gas line while digging at the site of the blast.  People in the area were alerted by the strong smell of gas and fire crews were overseeing evacuations when the blast shook the downtown area.

One person is known to have been killed and dozens injured, at least six hospitalized in critical condition.  One fireman was injured by flying debris.

The scene of the explosion shows the building where it occurred totally devastated, while directly next door, the large warehouse containing the Porsches still stands but with heavy damage.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. I just heard about it today from Clark Anderson. 5/21/2019.
    I am so sorry that this happened to your neighborhood and its people, you, and the people of Durham! We hope the best for everyone involved in the hurt of it all! May the Lord be with you all.
    Paul

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