Turns out, that wasn’t the ideal way to store a car for five decades.
The Midwest is home to some of the most lavish attempts to garner tourist attention that the World has ever seen. From the World's largest ear of corn in Minnesota to an abundance of enormous state parks covering the area. For much of the nation, if you're not farming, you're trying to get people to notice your state. That could be a possible explanation for this particular stunt which led to the loss of one precious classic car. When you hear this story, you may feel the need to check your ears for water, but we assure you that this is too dumb to make up.
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It all started in the late 1950s when a town called Tulsa, Oklahoma, decided to hold a contest to celebrate the state's 50th anniversary. This exciting competition was straightforward in concept. All one needed to do was submit an entry and guess the town's population after another 50 years in 2007. The winner would receive a "brand new" 1957 Plymouth Belvedere, which was an expensive car for the time and would go for around $30,000 today. Overall, this was a pretty cool idea, but it had one major issue that would play a pivotal role in the car's survival. Where were they going to put this vehicle?
The answer to this question was a simple one for the town as the nation was then in the midst of the cold war and was virtually obsessed with the security of property and life in case of a global nuclear conflict. "We'll just put it in a nuclear bunker," thought the designer of this project, and the car was set in stone wrapped in plastic with the ballots in the glove box. 50 years later, the car was dug back up where crowds everywhere were amazed to see an ideally stored 1950s cruiser. Just kidding, the vehicle has been eroded into a completely rusted-out shell of its former self. Possibly the best part was that the winner of the contest, and new owner, had been dead for a while, so it went to his 100-year-old sister, who obviously had no place in her life for a 4000 lb pile of scrap metal.
Eventually, the car was sent to a rust removal shop and given a $20,000 treatment in preparation for restoration, but the car never got restored because of water damage. The owner tried to donate the vehicle to a few museums, one of which replied with "we are not America's garage" when offered the chance to keep the car. Finally, the Historic Auto-attractions Museum Of Illinois took the vehicle in for permanent residence and gave it and its owner some pieces. This should all show you that if you're going to store your car in a nuclear concrete bunker for 50 years, use some rubber lining to prevent water damage.