Tulsa's Buried Belvedere
It has been 5 years 11 months 10 days 1 hour and 35 minutes since she was unearthed!
"This is the sort of thing that could happen only
in Tulsa," spoke Lewis Roberts Jr. during dedication ceremonies marking the
observance of Tulsa's Golden Jubilee Week. "TuIsarama!" chairman Roberts' made
his remarks as citizens prepared to entomb a new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe as
part of a time capsule buried on the southeast corner of the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn.
Why would anyone want to bury a new car? Roberts was asked. "The 'Tulsarama!'
committee," he replied, "decided on the event after looking for a method of
acquainting the citizens of the twenty first century with a suitable representation of
"In our judgment," commented W.A. Anderson, Jubilee chairman, "Plymouth is
a true representative of automobiles of this century - with the kind of lasting appeal
that should still be in style fifty years from now.... Tulsans think big. And we feel we
can over come any technical difficulties we encounter [burying the Plymouth] including the
possibility of striking oil in our excavation!'
Supplied through the cooperation of the Plymouth Division of Chrysler and Tulsa Plymouth
dealers Wilkerson Motor Company, Cox Motor Company. Vance Motor Company, Forster Riggs and
Parrish-Clark, the Belvedere has remained buried since June 15, 1957.
As part of the "Tulsarama!" festivities, citizens of Tulsa were asked to guess
what the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007. The guesses were then recorded on
microfilm and sealed in a steel container buried with the car. When the car and artifacts
are excavated, the person whose guess is closest to Tulsa's 2007 population is to be
awarded the Belvedere. If that person is dead, the car is to be awarded to his or her
And what, exactly, will the lucky winner get when the car is unearthed in 2007? No one is
really sure. Sitting on a steel skid, the white and gold car was wrapped in a
cosmoline-like substance to help preserve it and then buried within a
concrete bunker (The car was lowered into the vault several times prior
to June 15 for photo shoots, one such photo ad appearing on page
twenty-five of Life magazine's July 7 issue.) Twenty years after the
cars burial, questions were raised as officials began to wonder if the
vault would maintain its integrity for fifty years. Its location (marked
by a bronze plaque on the courthouse lawn places it close to modern
traffic. Buck Rudd, deputy chief of building operations for the county
court house, mused in 1987, "There's a lot of traffic going by only 15
or 20ft from that thing. We've been curious to know it vibrations from
the heavy traffic might have caused it to crack. If moisture starts
getting in there, it's going to cause things to deteriorate over fifty
years time," Rudd continued. Unknown to the committee - or anyone else
then - 1957 Plymouths were terribly
prone to rust. Asked what type of maintenance was done on the time
capsule, Rudd replied, We just cut the grass on top of it."
While some lucky person may (or may not) win a brand new 1957 Plymouth in the year 2007,
the winner has several other prizes to look forward to, among them a $100 trust fund
accruing interest until the year 2007. Included with the Plymouth is a 5 gallon can of
gasoline, a jar of Oklahoma crude oil, and in the glovebox, fourteen bobby pins, a ladies
compact plastic rain cap, several combs, a tube of lipstick, pack of gum, facial tissues
$2.73 in bills and coins and a pack of cigarettes with matches - all items that might have
been found in a woman's purse circa 1957,
The car's glove compartment contains two other interesting items: a parking ticket
(unpaid!) and a boftle of tranquilizers. Depending an the Belvedere's condition, the
tranquilizers may be the most important part of the package.
Official Buried Plymouth web
Tulsa Plymouth Discussion Forum
Unearthing T-Shirts and Gifts now available!
1957 Plymouth Commemorative Bracelet now available!
The lucky person
who in 1957 correctly guessed what Tulsa, Oklahoma's population would be in
2007 is destined to win the brand-new 1957 Belvedere Sport Coupe sealed in a
time capsule beneath Tulsa's courthouse. Photos courtesy of Chrysler