Name: 1957 Plymouth Belvedere
Year Produced: 1951-1959
Number Built: 67,268
Class: Full-size car
Body Type: 2 door hardtop
Engine: I6 3772 cc | 230.2 cu in. | 3.8 L.
Power: 132 HP
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Length/width/height: 207.8 in/78.3 in/56.6 in
Wheelbase: 118 in.
Base Price: US$2,122
The burial of the car in 1957
The 1957 Plymouth Belvedere in Tulsa is now probably the most unwanted barn find around.
The excitement surrounding the unearthing of Miss Belvedere, as the car became known, was evident in the summer of 2007. Media agencies covered the event, creating speculations on what will happen to the car and who will take its possession. Unfortunately for the poor car, no one ultimately claimed it, and is now sitting in a state of limbo at the workshop of Ultra One, a manufacturer of rust-removing chemical that they claim to be safe for the surfaces of Ms. Belvedere (like paint) beneath the oxidation. So how did it end up in such a story state? It’s probably a case of ill-conceived, storage plans that resulted to unmet public expectations.
The Ultra One process removed a significant amount of the car’s exterior rust, and in 2009 pictures began to circulate showing Miss Belvedere in a superficial state of preservation. Unfortunately after those images circulated, Miss Belvedere dropped off the public’s collective radar. People simply lost interest and began to feel that the poor car is no longer worthy of attention. When the New York Times caught up with Dwight Foster of Ultra One in 2010, they described Miss Belvedere as “more rust than bucket” and quoted Foster as saying that the offer to de-rust the car was a promotional stunt. Foster even tried to get rid of Ms. Belvedere by attempting to donate it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Smithsonian representatives, however told Foster that they don’t see any reason to keep the car and his offer was declined. The city of Tulsa also turned down his request to send it back for public display, explaining that the cost to retrieve the rusted and useless car from its tomb still left a bitter taste in some residents’ mouths.
As to where Miss Belvedere sits today, its condition remains largely unchanged since the time it was removed from its cruel grave. At first glance, the car almost looks presentable and seems to be on its way to complete restoration, but up close it becomes clear that the damage is irreversible. Until Foster finds a museum or other sympathetic caretaker willing to embrace Miss Belvedere it will continue to stay in a corner of the Ultra One warehouse, trapped in time and space.
The Unveiling in 2007
Reference and Photo Credit: