Hundreds gathered in Tulsa to watch as a crane hauled a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere from a gaping hole in the city's courthouse lawn.
The two-door hardtop — buried to celebrate Oklahoma's 50 years of statehood — was encased in a 12-by-20-foot concrete vault, supposedly tough enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
Event officials already had to pump out several feet of water from the crypt that held the Belvedere for a half-century. But the condition of the car, wrapped in three layers of mud-caked protective material, remains a mystery.
Will it be a rust-bucket? Will it even start? Is the bit of shiny chrome visible on the bumper a good omen?
Not many people seem to care.
"I just need to see it," said Marc Montague of Auckland, New Zealand, among the couple hundred spectators amassed at the downtown site Thursday afternoon. "I've been waiting 15 years for this."
Also buried with it were 10 gallons of gasoline — in case internal combustion engines became obsolete by 2007 — a case of beer, and the contents of a typical woman's handbag placed in the glove compartment: 14 bobby pins, a bottle of tranquilizers, a lipstick, a pack of gum, tissues, a pack of cigarettes, matches and $2.43.
There was also a spool of microfilm that recorded the entries of a contest to determine who would win the car: the person who guessed the closest of what Tulsa's population would be in 2007 — 382,457 — would win.
That person, or his or her heirs, will get the car and a $100 savings account, worth about $1,200 today with interest.