Finding a forgotten classic car is one of the greatest dreams of any car lover. However, no one expects to find a car buried in their backyard. Usually, it’s a barn find that someone parked years ago and remained forgotten, like this 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider.
Finding a car buried in the backyard is exactly what happened to John Brayshaw. Discovering cars underground happens more often than you may think.
Finding buried cars in the backyard
While on furlough from coronavirus, John attempted to do some backyard projects. He hit what he thought could be an underground bunker or something. Only to find out he had a nearly complete Ford Popular 103e, from either 1955 or 56.
Finding a car underground may not be expected in most situations; however, this next story, burning the car was intentional. In June 1957, the fine folks of Tulsa Oklahoma decided to have a contest. In theory, the contest was a great idea.
Miss Belvedere buried underground for 50 years
They buried a 1957 Plymouth Belvederes, nicknamed Miss Belvedere, with a full tank of gas. The residents were to guess what the population of Tulsa would be in 2007 with the reward for the closest guess being the car.
The city received 812 submissions. Extra gas and oil, in case those weren’t a thing in 2007 anymore, were also buried with the car. There were notes, music, beer, and more placed in an adjacent time capsule, all awaiting the unveiling in 2007.
Though the car was fully functioning when it was placed in its tomb, designed to withstand a nuclear bomb, they neglected to take into account groundwater. When the capsule opened 50 years later, 9,000 onlookers were shocked and disappointed to see the car completely rusted out. The engine was unrestorable.
The ultimate winner of the vehicle was Raymond Umberson, who had died in 1979. His 100-year-old sister received the car on his behalf.
The Buried Ferrari
Dinosaurs aren’t the only Dinos found underground. In 1978, a group of kids, no doubt on a treasure hunt, found quite a bit more than they expected. They started digging only to discover a Dino 246 GTS.
This discovery made national headlines and drew speculations as to how, why, and most importantly, who would bury such a fantastic Italian sports car. Rumors of mobsters and criminal activity became popular opinion.
After investigating, they were able to find the original owner. Rodendo Cruz of Alhambra California purchased the car in October of 1974. He reported it stolen by December, and though they tried to find more details on the disappearance of the car, the story went cold.
Later stories would reveal that the buried car was part of an insurance scam and for whatever reason, this one was never retrieved. That wasn’t the end of the story though. In 1986, a reporter picked up the trail and reached out to Farmers Insurance, the company that now owned the car.
It went up for auction on silent bid only to be found in much worse condition than initially thought. A young mechanic won the bid of somewhere between $5K-$9K. The mechanic attempted to restore the vehicle. After restoring it, they were able to register it with the vanity tag “DUGUP”.