The Burying of a Classic for 2007
On June 15, 1957, a brand-new Plymouth Belvedere V-8 Sport Coupe with Sportone was slowly lowered into a time capsule on the southeast corner of the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn. The car was to remain underground for 50 years, when the person (or his heirs) whose guess was closest to the exact population of Tulsa in 2007 will win the car.
The Plymouth was selected for this honor, according to a committee chairman Lewis Roberts Jr, because it was "an advanced product of American industrial ingenuity with the kind of lasting appeal that will still be in style 50 years from now."
"Suddenly It's 1960" was the tag line being touted in factory advertising for the 1957 Belvedere line. So, sprang the 1957 event "Suddenly It's 2007", held during Tulsa's Golden Jubilee Week, know then as "TuIsarama!" The "Tulsarama!" committee decided on the event after looking for a method of acquainting the citizens of the twenty first century with a suitable representation of 1957 civilization.
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 heirs. Today, reminders of the event are only noted by bronze plaque on the courthouse lawn.When the car is unearthed in 2007, no one is really sure what the winner will be getting their self into. Buried in a concert vault, the white and gold car was mount on steel skids and wrapped in a cosmoline-like substance to help preserve it.
Conversations with those present at the entombing , say the car had a full tank of gas. As many restorers have painfully found out, may prove to be disastrous. (What would the EPA say about this?) Since the cars burial, questions have been raised about the vaults integrity and whether or not moisture has entered the vault.
Included with the Plymouth is a 5 gallon can of gasoline (What is with the gasoline thing?), 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, an unpaid parking ticket, and a bottle of tranquilizers - all items that might have been found in a woman's purse in 1957.
In addition, the winner of the "Tulsarama" Plymouth contest will receive a $100 trust fund that by 2007 will have accrued 50 years' worth of interest. This and the bottle of tranquilizers might turn out to be the best most valuable items in the collection.
What will happen when the buried Belvedere is unearthed? Will it still be as pristine as when it went underground? Or will it be rusted away? And will Chrysler still honor the new car warranty?
Well, I sure know where I want to be on June 15, 2007 - alive and well and in Tulsa, Oklahoma