To my late father: You better not have guessed 382,457.
June 13, 2007 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Previously on MetaFilter, you remember the Plymouth Belvedere that was buried in a downtown Tulsa time capsule 50 years ago? The Tulsarama! folks were going to unveil it on Friday, but on opening the vault today they discovered it's full of standing water. Someone (or his/her descendant) will win this fine car impending environmental disaster if they correctly guessed Tulsa's 2007 population in 1957.
posted by dw (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honestly, I don't know if my 10 year old father threw in an entry, but I totally don't want to win it now.
posted by dw at 9:25 PM on June 13, 2007

Perhaps it should have been entoumbed New Orleans style.
posted by Tube at 9:28 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

So they haven't actually uncovered the car yet?

They are still expecting the best for the car because it was greased and wrapped in several layers of plastic and canvas.

So if the car is still good, you still have to clean off all the grease.
posted by puke & cry at 9:35 PM on June 13, 2007

In 1957, if you told them that the time capsule was going to
be opened by a piece of heavy equipment made in Japan
and not a Caterpillar, they would have thought you were
a communist.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:43 PM on June 13, 2007

Wow. I watched the video and that was the top story in Tulsa.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:50 PM on June 13, 2007

Great comment from the Tulsaworld link:

16. 6/13/2007 12:14:42 PM, Tulsan,
Now half the country (and some people in other countries, apparently) will all be watching Tulsa remove a heap of rust and rot from the ground. Great publicity. For once, can't we do something good to attract attention?

posted by item at 9:55 PM on June 13, 2007

Too bad it wasn't a boat.
posted by joelf at 10:14 PM on June 13, 2007

<img src="">
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:16 PM on June 13, 2007

Don't clean the grease! That makes it faster!
posted by The Deej at 10:32 PM on June 13, 2007

You mean the Ogallala Aquifer is still viable?!?? Hot Damn!!!
posted by sourwookie at 11:20 PM on June 13, 2007

Darn! I was kind of anxious to see the revealing of the car and time capsule... I bet most of the stuff inside of the trunk and/or car got messed up too. So much for large time capsules burried underground. But I still hope something cool might happen.
posted by spacelux at 11:54 PM on June 13, 2007

Very long odds on any sort of waterproof covering on an object that large being well-prepared enough to withstand being completely submerged.

They should have chosen a would rebuild itself.
posted by maxwelton at 12:49 AM on June 14, 2007

I bet Tulsa's nuclear waste storage from the 1950s is doing great... just don't open the lid.
posted by anthill at 4:50 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

It could be a Belvedere, it could be a pile of rust, it's Schrödinger's car!!!!
posted by tommasz at 5:35 AM on June 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Watching the equipment clear out industrial archaeological dig site reminded me of David Macaulay's brilliant Motel of the Mysteries, a tale of archaeological speculation (and parody of the Tutankhamen hysteria.) If you haven't read the book, you should. It's a lovely piece. A 1980s-era motel is accidentally unearthed in the year 4022 and the dig team gets to piece together theories as to the meaning behind the rows of identical-looking tombs, the television-shaped shrine where offerings were left, and the porcelain fonts to which people must have prayed "in song."

I only wish someone in 4022 could have dug up this Plymouth, and had the wonderful opportunity of trying to determine what this piece of tarp-and-grease-covered machinery was doing submerged in a pit full of water.
posted by Spatch at 6:35 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anthill, you beat me to thinking immediately about all the geniuses who were burying nuclear waste fifty years ago.
posted by sy at 9:36 AM on June 14, 2007

I'd take it water and all. My dad had a 66 Belvedere. Raced it at LaPlace Raceways in the late 60's and early 70's. Where I live we bury alot of the dead above ground to prevent just this sort of thing from occuring.
posted by winks007 at 9:45 AM on June 14, 2007

A WWII tank was recovered from a lake recently in pretty condition. But I think it was submerged in mud and so no oxygen. A lesson for future vaults.
posted by stbalbach at 10:11 AM on June 14, 2007

So uh, where are the keys?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:16 PM on June 14, 2007

I bought a rifle from Russia that had been packed in a tube full of grease since 1943. Once the grease was all cleaned out there was no sign of age, and that was WWII era USSR grease and 50 years of storage in some Russian warehouse as opposed to good old American grease in an all American vault!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:40 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow. I watched the video and that was the top story in Tulsa.

That TV station has exclusive rights to the event, so that biases things a bit. OTOH, not a whole hell of a lot going on in Tulsa right now. There's a reason they call it the Detroit of the Southwest.

Good news today: The tailfins look to be in good condition.

They're showing the unveiling tomorrow online at 12pm CDT.
posted by dw at 4:42 PM on June 14, 2007

And the verdict is... rustbucket.
posted by dw at 8:48 PM on June 15, 2007

posted by litlnemo at 9:46 PM on June 15, 2007

There are some good pictures on flickr.
posted by spacelux at 11:31 PM on June 15, 2007

The consolation prize, though, is the time capsule itself held. They extracted the yearbooks and the American flag, all in pristine condition.

The capsule was a double-hulled steel container. Now, why didn't they think of doing that instead of using concrete?
posted by dw at 11:47 PM on June 15, 2007

"Don't be disheartened by the rust on the covering... that's not the car, it's just rust that has accumulated on the covering..... oh shit."
posted by The Deej at 11:41 AM on June 16, 2007

My brother got some pictures today.
posted by dw at 10:33 PM on June 16, 2007

Nice pics dw. Thanks!
posted by spacelux at 1:11 AM on June 17, 2007

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