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Buried Belvedere to get makeover

Tulsa_A 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that was buried for 50 years and unearthed this summer in time for the state's centennial celebration will get some preservation work.

The car was put in a crypt beneath the courthouse lawn in 1957 to celebrate Oklahoma's 50 years of statehood. The years, however, hadn't been kind to the car: it was rusty and wouldn't start.

On Thursday, the car was shrink-wrapped on a wrecker and then sent on its way to New Jersey, where it will undergo treatments with a degreaser and an acid-free rust remover.

"We will not be restoring the car but preserving her for the future," said Dwight Foster, owner of Ultra One, which makes the rust remover. "We have to stop the rust, because if nothing is done, this car will be dust in two years."

Two elderly sisters became the vehicle's owners because their late brother had properly guessed the population of Tulsa in 2007 when the car was buried so many years ago.

The car became a sensation in the months leading up to its unearthing last June. Fans came from as far away as New Zealand and Australia to see the Belvedere lifted from its resting place. The vault had leaked, however, and the car spent a good part of its half-century entombment under water.

The owners are Levada Humbertson Carney, 88, and Catherine Humbertson Johnson, 93. Foster and Robert Carney, son of Levada Carney, say they intend to bring the Belvedere back to Tulsa after it is cleaned up.

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