Entombed 50 Years, Miss Belvedere Still Turns Heads

Miss Belvedere finally finds a home

After 10 years of de-rusting and restoration, Miss Belvedere finally found a suitor in the form of Historic Auto Attractions, in Roscoe, Ill. The Smithsonian rejected her. And, while other auto museums offered to display her temporarily, none wanted her around permanently. Now, someone has stepped up to the plate to provide the 1957 Plymouth her final resting place.

Watch the video for Miss Belvedere’s amazing story.

Golden Jubilee Week

In 2007, Oklahomans unveiled a Belvedere buried in a time capsule for 50 years.

On June 15, 1957, the city of Tulsa, Okla. buried a new gold and white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe in a time capsule in downtown Tulsa as part of Golden Jubilee Week, a celebration of Oklahoma’s 50th year of statehood. Before the car was buried, citizens were asked to guess what the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007 with the promise that whoever came closest would be awarded the car at Oklahoma’s Centennial celebration in 2007. The entries were sealed and buried with the car inside the vault.

On June 15, 2007, the car was unearthed and transferred to the Tulsa Convention Center as part of Oklahoma’s Centennial celebration. Boyd Coddington, host of the The Learning Channel’s “American Hot Rod,” was on hand with his crew to help get the Belvedere running after spending 50 years buried in the underground vault. Coddington was to install AMSOIL synthetic lubricants and filters for the big dance.

Water, water everywhere

Journalists from around the globe were on hand for this truly grand opening. Unfortunately, as Robert Burns once observed, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In this case, the theoretically watertight vault failed in its mission. Two days before Sleeping Beauty was to be excavated, workers unearthing the Belvedere were shocked at what they found when they removed the cover of the 12 x 22 foot vault. Several feet of mucky water had seeped in.

The walls showed evidence that water levels had risen and fallen to the height of the car during the intervening years. Though shrouded in protective plastic, the evidence of potential disaster presented itself to an array of onlookers who stood aghast at the sight. Some even wept.

Boyd Coddington of “American Hot Rod” attempts to bring this rust heap back to life.

To paraphrase Alexander Pope, “To err is human,” but to be on the air, is still fine. The event still generated buzz and was aired on “American Hot Rod,” despite the unhappy outcome.

There were many lessons learned that week. One was that we now know what happens when you bury a Plymouth Belvedere for 50 years. And in the years since, we’ve learned how difficult it can be to restore a rust-bucket, even a famous one.

A car like “papier mâché”

The greatly disfigured vehicle has not been a welcome fixture at car museums. And attempts to restore it have encountered a range of challenges. Dwight Foster of New Jersey’s Ultra One took a stab at de-rusting the vehicle, in the end acknowledging defeat with these remarks. “It’s basically like papier mâché. We didn’t see the extent of how bad it was until it came here. Anything we thought about doing we couldn’t because it was too fragile. We knew that whatever we touched would be a disaster.” Alas.

The photos that I took (here displayed) are from the day the car came out from its tomb. It was my first trip to Tulsa, and despite the ultimate outcome for the car the occasion was an adventure. Though a few hearts were broken, Oklahomans still celebrated 100 years of statehood.

12Dec 2018
Thick Foam cleans glass better

Introducing the Three Newest AMSOIL Products Jamie Jarvi|Aug 08, 2018 1:28 PM AMSOIL is well-known for its products that protect the internal parts of an engine. But you may not know about our products that protect the outside of your vehicles and equipment, too. Hot on the heels of the revolutionary new SEVERE GEAR easy-pack, we’re excited […]

10Dec 2018
differential oil in a easy pack or squeeze pack

The New SEVERE GEAR Easy-Pack Enthusiasts pride themselves on finding their own solutions to tough problems. When there’s no manual, they roll up their sleeves and make it work. But even the most inventive gearhead inevitably throws down an oily rag and wonders why the process has to be so difficult. Changing gear lube is […]

10Dec 2018

Why Does Motor Oil Turn Black? John Baker|Oct 11, 2018 2:00 PM What causes black motor oil? And when your oil darkens does it mean it’s time to change it? Well, there are a couple of factors that can cause the former. Let’s dig in. Factors causing black motor oil Heat cycles naturally darken motor […]

10Dec 2018
Snowblower maintenance

Never Overlook This When Maintaining Your Snowblower John Baker|Nov 06, 2018 10:01 AM Thanksgiving day, 2016. While my family was gathered in my dining room, imbibing spirits and making merry, I was in the shed disassembling the carburetor on my snowblower, reeking of petroleum as rivers of gasoline flowed under my jacket cuffs and saturated […]

03Dec 2018
diesel gel recovery

Diesel Recovery Relaunches Temporarily unavailable over the summer as we explored new package options, AMSOIL Diesel Recovery relaunches in 30-oz. (887-ml) bottles (DRCQT) in the U.S. in late October. The new containers will be available in Canada (DRCQTC) when supplies of the existing container (DRCCNC) are exhausted. The 1-gallon (3.78-litre) bottles (DRC1G) and 55-gallon (208-litre) […]

03Dec 2018
Icy mornings can be fun

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Chris Sharon|Dec 18, 2017 9:19 AM Originally posted Nov. 11, 2016 With the worst of winter right around the corner, now is a good time to get your vehicle prepared for the worst. Being based in northern Wisconsin, we at AMSOIL talk a lot about how synthetic lubricants make life a little […]