I spent many years in the automobile manufacturing business. About 14 of them were spent in management for Chrysler. A mystery from that period of my life was solved by accident.
I'm guessing I first heard of this story about 1977 or 1978. I found it facinating and tried in vain to find out more about the subject. After all these years I happened upon a web site that answered the question that's been on my mind for nearly 30 years, but the story is nearly 50 years old.
Many years ago a friend told me about a television commercial he saw back in 1957. He said that the commercial showed a 1957 Plymouth being buried and sealed in a concret vault. Plymouth was so sure that the 1957 Plymouth was the "car of the future" that they sealed one in a time capsule that was to be opened in 50 years. When the car would be exumed in 2007 it would be proven that the 1957 Plymouth was indeed the car of the future.
I happened to be at Chrysler's Highland Park headquarters sometime shortly after hearing this story. I'm thinking it was about 1978. I asked a few executives about the story and none had ever heard of it. They referred me to the company historian. I had no idea that Chrysler even had a historian, but I tracked him down a few days later. He was not only a historian, but he was historical as well. He was an old guy that had been with Chrysler back to the days when the Dodge brothers were working for Walter P. Chrysler. He had seen his better days to say the least.
The historian claimed to know nothing of a buried 1957 Plymouth. He seemed to find the whole concept funny. At that point in time I wasn't sure if the whole thing was real or not. I've often wondered about it over the years, and I never expected to find the answer. Today I found at least part of the answer completely by accident.
The story was true! A 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe was buried at the courthouse square in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 15, 1957. Tulsa was celebrating it's semi-centenial, then called Tulsarama! There was national press coverage of the event and was carried in major national magazines such as Look magazine.
The Plymouth is a time capsule in itself. Contains many items placed inside. The below link will give you more info on the contents.
The Plymouth is due to be unearthed on June 15, 2007. At the time of burial the people that attended Tulsarama! could enter a contest to possibly win a brand new 1957 Plymouth in 2007. All they had to do was guess the population of Tulsa in 2007. Closest guess wins the car and all that it contains (including a $100 savings trust that's been earning interest all these years). If the winner is no longer alive the prizes go to their heirs. The entries were reduced to microfilm and placed in a sealed steel container inside the Plymouth.
They apparently took many precautions to preserve the car. They covered it in a cosmoline like substance and wrapped it in plastic. The car is sitting on a special steel skid. Nobody will know the condition of the car until it is unearthed next year at Tulsa's centenial celebration.
The below story is facinating and I may have to visit Tulsa next year to witness the end to this story that I've heard about for 30 years.