Plymouth Vault: One Tough Cookie

Vault4-14-07 043.jpgI f, like thousands of car enthusiasts across the nation, you are wondering if the vault holding the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere beneath the Tulsa Court House sidewalk was able to bear the load of a half-century of pedestrian traffic, rest assured, things appear to be in order.

Earlier this month workers from a local construction company volunteered their time, sweat and shovels to excavate about one-third of the top of the 12-foot-by-20-foot crypt.

According to an article in the Tulsa World, the workers found nothing to indicate failure in the steel-reinforced concrete structure.

“It looks real good,” Allen Couch of Couch Construction told the Tulsa World. “I’m a little concerned about the thickness of that gunite, but otherwise it looks like it’s in good shape.”

The top and sides of the vault were sealed with gunite, a sprayable form of concrete noted for its water resistant properties, back in 1957 when the vault containing the ’57 Plymouth was buried.

Vault4-14-07 072.jpgIn fact, the seal appears to have held up so well, that officials will begin chiseling off the gunite seal at least three days ahead of the car’s official June 15 unearthing.

In case you’ve been hiding in a gunite encrusted vault of your own for the past few years, here’s the story: In 1957, the Tulsarama organizers buried a new Plymouth, chosen for its futuristic styling, in a concrete vault as a time capsule.

The plan remains to give that Plymouth, regardless of its condition, to the person who was closest to estimating the 2007 population of Tulsa back in 1957.

Hundreds of Tulsa residents were present for the burial, but thousands are anticipated for its unearthing. The plan is to remove the Belvedere two-door hardtop at noon on June 15, then whisk it away to the Tulsa Convention Center, where it will be displayed.

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