Blast (of Rust) from the Past

In 1957, the citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma celebrated their state’s 50th anniversary by burying a 1957 Plymouth Belevedere as part of a time capsule to be opened during Oklahoma’s Centennial Celebration in 2007. On June 15th, 2007, after countless years of rusting away underground (and at times underwater) Miss Belevedere was unearthed to the amazement and wonder of many who gathered in this midwestern city for a nostalgic glimpse of the past.

Much media attention focused on Tulsa and all the hype that has been building since that day in 1957. While some may view the retrieval of rusted-out, shell of a car and somewhat hokey live television production of her “coming out party” as a failure, I would have to argue otherwise. For starters, the time capsule itself was completely in tact. Next time, maybe they’ll weld the car inside a steel tank instead of a concrete bunker to keep out the water!

By today’s media standards, for the cost of simply burying and exhuming a car, I call the attention drawn to Tulsa, even if for a few days quite a success. The buzz created called classic American car fans from around the globe to descend on the city, some even shipping their own Belevedere’s from halfway around the world, just to see what would be found. Hotels thoughout the city were filled. Thousands of dollars of merchandise related to Route 66, Tulsarama, and the Belevedere herself continue to be sold. National and International media buzz generated continues as you read this blog…a humble, yet unique reminder that the city once known as the “Oil Capital of the World” is still alive and kicking!

For now, we wait a week for the official crew to learn and announce who has won the car. It was promised in 1957 to the citizen or their heirs who most closely guessed the population of Tulsa, Oklahoma as of June 1, 2007. I’m personally looking forward to the display of the contents by the Tulsa Historical Society at the museum later this summer. Hopefully, the car, too, will stay there in perpetuity.

If only we could have kept emcee and local radio icon John Erling‘s emotions in check and his bare hands off of the artifacts during the unveiling. Somebody get that man some gloves!

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