America's Largest Vintage Porsche Collection Heavily Damaged in Gas Explosion

Over 80 rare examples of Porsche heritage were housed in the building that partially collapsed due to the incident.

Via Porsche/Twitter

A fatal gas pipe explosion in Durham, North Carolina claimed the life of one individual and injured more than a dozen others. Among the rubble also lies the remains of what has been called the United States' most prestigious assemblage of vintage and rare Porsches, the Ingram Collection.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, firefighters began evacuating buildings after reports that nearby workers struck a gas line in the area. Shortly thereafter, the explosion demolished a structure, and with it partially collapsed the building which housed the Porsches.

The building where the explosion began had originally opened as a Studebaker dealership in 1928, becoming defunct shortly thereafter in 1930. During the '40s, it became an auto supply facility until closing four decades later. Since the 1980s, the building has housed a variety of different businesses including a restaurant as well as a musician platform, ReverbNation. At the time of the explosion, the building housed Kaffeinate, a coffee shop, and Prescient Co., a construction engineering firm.

Next door, however, was an automotive enthusiast's playground. Hiding in plain sight is the Ingram Collection, a cache of Porsches so extensive that those at Stuttgart themselves called it a "breathtaking review of automotive design history." The collection was at least partially collapsed as a result of the explosion.

In 2015, the Ingram Collection was home to more than 80 extremely rare and important Porsches. From the modern 918 Spyder to the third oldest Porsche 356 in existence, the collection truly had it all—and for an enthusiast of the brand, it simply doesn't get more awe-inspiring than this.

via Porsche

A peek inside the Ingram Collection from a visitor's perspective can be seen below via an old Instagram photo:

Bob Ingram, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline and founder of the collection, declined to comment on the damage to several media agencies. Previously, Ingram has said that the most challenging, yet enjoyable part of the collection is finding the rare and vintage parts required to make the examples complete. Judging by local news coverage showing damage to more than half of the building (including a partial collapse), it seems that many of these extremely unique and expensive finds have suffered a great deal of damage.

No matter how extensive the collection may have been, vehicles are replaceable and insurance will likely help make the collection whole again—or as close to it as possible. Unfortunately, the life that was lost is not, and the full extent of injuries to all 17 people who were taken to the hospital is unknown. Our thoughts go out to those affected by the explosion.