- Associated Press - Sunday, July 2, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - It’s been 10 years since Sharon King Davis set her alarm for the dead of night, waiting to wake up and do interviews about a car with news outlets on the other side of the world.

The summer of 2007 was no ordinary summer because Miss Belvedere was no ordinary car, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2sjJTiR ) reported.

A decade later, the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that sat entombed in a water-logged concrete vault underneath the Tulsa County Courthouse for 50 years finally left a New Jersey rust removal company Tuesday for its new home in Roscoe, Illinois.

Davis said she hasn’t seen Miss Belvedere since a Storey Wrecker flatbed left with the car headed to New Jersey for a restoration. She spent countless hours organizing festivities for the Belvedere’s excavation, which drew in media and spectators from around the world.

For a few weeks that summer when the rusted Belvedere’s fate seemed uncertain, Davis said she worried. She said Miss Belvedere is more than a car, and it’s headed to a place it belongs.

“I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I worked on this thing for 3½ years before she was unearthed,” Davis said. “It was like a personal relationship with this car, which sounds absurd. But I really emotionally got very invested.

“It really became a deeply personal, precious thing for me, and I’m thrilled she’s going to have a home.”

Dwight Foster with Ultra One Corp. in Hackettstown, New Jersey, said in an email to the Tulsa World that the Belvedere was finally on its way after years of rust removal treatments. Pictures of the car being loaded into a hauler Tuesday show the Belvedere looks much more like a car than it did 10 years ago.

Miss Belvedere’s resting place is the Historic Auto Attractions museum in Roscoe, Illinois. Wayne Lensing, the museum’s owner, said the car won’t go on display until the 2018 season, which starts Memorial Day weekend next year. He also said he hopes the exhibit can do justice to what the car means to people.

“We want to have film clips showing the process where they buried it, and then again in 2007 where they brought it back up,” Lensing said. “We want to tell the whole story and make it a special feeling for visitors to watch. I’m hoping to get some artifacts relating to the car and all the newspaper articles on it from the past.”

Tulsa hasn’t changed as much since 2007 as it had from 1957, but the 10 years have flown by for many of the event’s organizers and those who remember the ceremony outside the courthouse. Art Couch, like Davis, remembered seeing Miss Belvedere being buried next to the courthouse.

Couch’s former construction company, WN Couch Inc., helped unearth the Belvedere in 2007. He said the excavation itself was unlike anything he had ever seen.

“It was unbelievable watching it all happen,” Couch said. “It’s like being in a circus. We had our people there working, and everything was fenced off. People were hanging on the fence wanting to see what was going on. Everybody wanted to see it.”

With Miss Belvedere headed to its new home, Couch said he wants to work in a trip to Roscoe to see the car again. He said though it would be special, it could never be like those extraordinary, long and exciting days in 2007.

“It was a tough week, but a fun week,” Couch said. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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