Can A ‘57 Belvedere Survive 50 Years Under Ground?

January 29th, 2007 by William

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On June 15, 1957, the city of Tulsa was celebrating the semi-centennial of the state of Oklahoma. One of the features of the Tulsarama celebration involved a new gold and white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe. The Plymouth Belvedere was lowered by crane into a giant time capsule where it was destined to stay for fifty years, until the year 2007. At the time the Plymouth was seen as a futuristic vehicle that would be an excellent representation of the finest that 1957 had to offer. As the events chairmen Lewis Roberts Jr. put it the Belvedere was “an advanced product of American industrial ingenuity with the kind of lasting appeal that will still be in style 50 years from now.”

Well here we stand in 2007 and 1950’s Americana is still in style to some people. In fact ’50s American cars have been doing amazingly well on the market place over the last few years. This probably isn’t the personal rocket ship George Jetson future that Roberts and others envisioned in 1957, but there are plenty of Tulsa residents and people all over the US who are anxiously awaiting the opening of this time capsule to see what the Belvedere looks like and who will end up going home with the Plymouth.

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Being lowered into the hole

Before the time capsule was sealed several items were added to the Belvedere:

* A womens purse containing a bottle of tranquilizers, cigarettes, an unpaid parking ticket and some bobby pins.
* 10 gallons of gasoline and 5 quarts of oil
* A Douglas Aircraft Co. aerial map of airport facilities and legend
* Statement from Tulsa council of Churches and prayer for greatest good next 50 years a recently completed history of churches in Tulsa and a directory of the present churches
* Statement from board of education - historical data related to 50 years of education in Tulsa and copies of “School Life” all-high school publication issued by Tulsa high schools each month
* Statements from Mayor and Chamber of Commerce officials
* Flags which have been flown over the national capitol, state capitol and in the county and city
* Other aerial photos of the area
* Statement from Tulsa Trades and Labor Council
* Statements from all former mayors of the city - their record of service and civic accomplishments in the city, state and nationally.

But the most important addition to the time capsule was submitted by the citizens of Tulsa, OK. The people were told to guess what the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007. All the guesses were recorded on microfilm and sealed in the time capsule along side the car. When the vault is opened in June, the closest guess to Tulsa’s ‘07 population will win the Plymouth Belvedere. Pretty sweet deal. I just wonder if they will be able to drive it home.

-Bill Mertz

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

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