Pricey Porsche collection damaged in downtown Durham explosion, fire

April 11, 2019

At least one person was killed and over a dozen people were hurt Wednesday when a contractor struck a gas line that sparked a massive blaze and explosion that shook Durham Wednesday morning.

But another mass casualty of the blast was a rare and very expensive Porsche car collection that was housed at Ingram Collection.

“The purest & most refined collection of Porsche in the World,” is how one user described the galleria of luxury cars – 10 to 15 historical Porsches – that were housed at 111 N. Duke Street.

The collection is the pride and joy of Bob Ingram, a retired pharmaceuticals executive who, according to a profile on Porsche.com, “has put together a relatively unique collection of historical Porsches in recent years. Few if any collections can compete with the quality of the Ingram collection, is the verdict of many aficionados.”

The company expressed condolences to those who died and were hurt during the mid-morning blast and blaze.

A day later, Ingram surveyed the damage – a windshield fractured, wipers charred. Some are drivable. All are coated in dust and debris.

He and his wife, Jeanne, said they were not ready to talk about the loss.

Considering that a Porsche can cost around $60,000 for new and many multiples of that for antique or vintage models, it’s likely that the damage to the car collection could stretch into the millions of dollars.

Ingram Collection is a very popular spot for car collectors, and avid car enthusiasts Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno have been known to visit the collection, which is akin to a theme park attraction for auto aficionados.

WRAL News anchor Debra Morgan visited the site and spoke to owner Bob Ingram for a 2013 interview. During her visit to the building, she said there were over a dozen Porsches in the building.

Aerial footage from Sky 5 showed that there were several cars in the building, which had a gaping hole in the roof. There was a large amount of debris resting on a convertible, one of the cars visible from above.

Next door, at Saint James Seafood and Tereros’ Mexican restaurant, “condemned” signs appeared on the darkened windows. All around the epicenter of this gas blast are businesses, livelihoods and prized possessions looking to shine again as the dust settles.