Search Begins For Belvedere Winner

Friday, June 22nd 2007, 8:46 am
By: News On 6

We now know who’s won a piece of Oklahoma history. The 1957 Plymouth Belvedere, underground for half-a-century, is getting a new owner, but not before organizers give her a grand send off. The News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports before organizers said goodbye to Ms. Belvedere they had to find out who will write the next chapter of her history.

A pristine Plymouth Belvedere from 1957 would sell today for just over $20,000, but this prize is priceless, and it goes to one very lucky Tulsan, R.E. Humbertson.

All the entry contained was a date, place of birth and a guess as to Tulsa's population when the Belvedere came back above ground. Humbertson had the closest guess, only 2,000 away, and wins the car, but finding R.E. may be a challenge. The entry didn't include an address, and we don't even know if R.E. is a man or a woman. But we're lucky we have a winner at all. Officials tried to clean up the microfilm that had all the guesses on it that was buried with the car, unfortunately, the microfilm didn't stand the test of time. Luckily there were paper copies of every guess, buried in a time capsule the water didn't touch.

Modern-day accountants had to take special care not to damage the paper guesses, so the firm worked from photocopies of the entries that way the originals weren't damaged. Four people said Tulsa would be a ghost town, population zero. Five guessed a billion or more.

"Several of the guesses had for birthplaces, one of which I remember, was Tulsa, Indian Territory," said Bob Morgan of Deloitte Accounting Firm.

We know the winner was born in Maryland, and will turn 86 in two weeks. R.E. Humbertson will win more than a rusty wreck for their birthday. He or she will haul home a piece of history. R.E. Humbertson also wins a savings account opened back in 1957. The $100 initial deposit has now matured to $700, which won't go very far towards restoration.

Belvedere organizers hope R.E. Humbertson comes forward soon, but Humbertson has some time. The car has to be held for five years to give the winner enough time to claim the prize. After that, a judge would determine its fate, likely sending the relic to a museum. In the meantime, the car will sit in storage while the Belvedere waits for a winner. Organizers are already planning for how to keep the car from losing any more of her luster.

"I've been told that you can get a car bag that you can put inert gasses into that would help stop a lot of this,” Tulsarama Organizer Sharon King said. “I hadn't seen her in a few days and she doesn't look much worse than she did when we first brought her here, so I was glad to see that."

To view of list of all the people who guessed, click here.

To watch the announcement, click here.

Watch the video: And the Winner Is...

Watch the video: Belvedere On Display

Watch the video: The Buried Belvedere Unveiled

Watch the video: News On 6 Coverage Of The Unveiling Of Tulsa's Belvedere

Watch the video: Unearthing The Belvedere

Watch the video: Time Capsule Removed From Belvedere Vault

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4/17/2007 Unearthing Tulsa’s History

06/01/2007 Tulsa's Population Holds The Key To A Piece Of Tulsa History

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6/9/2007 Crews Practice Lifting The Buried Belvedere

6/12/2007 Crews Prepare For The Unearthing Of The Buried Belvedere

6/13/2007 Water Seeps Into Vault Holding Buried Car

6/15/2007 Hundreds Gather To Catch A Glimpse Of Tulsa's Belvedere

6/15/2007 Belvedere Lifted From The Vault

6/15/2007 Meet Ms. Belvedere

6/16/2007 - Ms. Belvedere, Belle Of The Car Show