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Old 03-27-2006, 06:52 PM   #1
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A buried car? Solved after all these years!

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.

http://www.buriedcar.com/history/continued.html

-Joe
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:06 PM   #2
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

There's more information at:

http://www.forwardlook.net/19571958P.../countdown.asp
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

I had a friend that had a '57 Plymouth. As I remember it had a push button auto transmission located on the dash, left of the steering wheel.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:24 PM   #4
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 25 Year Honda Owner
I had a friend that had a '57 Plymouth. As I remember it had a push button auto transmission located on the dash, left of the steering wheel.
Working in a gas station as a high school kid I saw a few interesting 50s era cars. One was a Chrysler or Dodge that had a 45 rpm -record player- in the glove compartment area!
It was not too useful on bouncy roads, but on a smooth highway the player would have worked ok, especially with the "viscose damping" (tone arm shock absorbing fluid) like that used in those days at radio stations and recording studios.

You put a stack of ten or so 45 records on the changer and got a few minutes of music.

Here's a link showing the "Highway Hi-Fi" record player: http://www.imperialclub.com/Repair/A...y/Chrysler.htm

Last edited by weather_wrangler; 03-27-2006 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:37 PM   #5
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Cool story Joe. I sure would love to see that too!! I may have to make our vacation plans next year a bit more to the south.
Thanks for sharing. I lived Mopar for many years as I grew up and I over hauled my first engine in a 1967 Dodge Dart. I actually raced a 1969 Road Runner on the 1/4 mile and Dad owned a Valiant, a Fury, a Barracuda and a Duster to name a few before he died in 1974. I learned how to drive in a 1972 Dodge Duster standard on the column. ( it was that or Moms Saab )
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Old 03-27-2006, 10:44 PM   #6
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Wow!! That is an interesting story. I think my Ridgeline is the truck of the future and I'm considering wraping it in a cosmoline like substance and burying it for future generations to enjoy. Hmmm... no I think I will enjoy it now.
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Old 03-28-2006, 01:16 AM   #7
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaFred
Wow!! That is an interesting story. I think my Ridgeline is the truck of the future and I'm considering wraping it in a cosmoline like substance and burying it for future generations to enjoy. Hmmm... no I think I will enjoy it now.
I was thinking somewhere along the same lines.....let's all chip in, buy a RL to bury , sell raffles for a future winner (which may pay for the car today...) and see what happens in 50 years! Most of us probably won't even be around, but we can continue to promote the ROC!

I wonder what the price of gas will be by then..... Or if they will be using something else!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 01:34 AM   #8
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

I hope mike deason does not see this.He will be wanting to bury his collectors addition RL.
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:25 AM   #9
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Isn't it ironic that the Plymouth name has moved on into oblivion. So much for it being "the car of the future". Maybe it was perfect in 1957 and had nowhere to go.

EDIT; My favorite engineering marvel is the B-52, designed in 1953 and first manufactured in 1956. It has been a major part of the backbone or our defense ever since.

Last edited by Waterbug; 03-28-2006 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:45 AM   #10
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Re: A buried car? Solved after all these years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by weather_wrangler
Working in a gas station as a high school kid I saw a few interesting 50s era cars. One was a Chrysler or Dodge that had a 45 rpm -record player- in the glove compartment area!
It was not too useful on bouncy roads, but on a smooth highway the player would have worked ok, especially with the "viscose damping" (tone arm shock absorbing fluid) like that used in those days at radio stations and recording studios.

You put a stack of ten or so 45 records on the changer and got a few minutes of music.

Here's a link showing the "Highway Hi-Fi" record player: http://www.imperialclub.com/Repair/A...y/Chrysler.htm
I remember a kid attending the University of the South had a '55 or '56 Plymouth that had a factory installed record player.
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