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    Sanford Miles taught junior high school English in New York and recently retired to do some writing. In 2013 he bought a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe for $35,000 from a car dealer in Fort Worth and uses it to promote his latest book, THE BURIED PLYMOUTH A STORY UNEARTHED IN TULSA (
    He has always been a car buff. Growing up his aunt worked for an ad agency and gave him all kinds of car magazines. That aunt helped him financially to do
something totally outrageous.
    “I bought a 1959 Cadillac ambulance from a junk yard, restored it and turned it into the world’s most unique billboard,” says Sanford in a telephone interview. “In 1998 I actually left teaching for five years because I had this idea that was going to change the world. I turned that ambulance into a 22 feet log, eleven feet high rolling lighted billboard. I advertised for a wife and offered a free sports car with marriage. My fifteen
minutes of fame lasted about six months. I was on the Today show with Al Roker. Australia media picked up the story and did reports on it. My website I had at the time actually blew up because I had so many inquiries. I went out with a few but I’m still single. I live with the love of my life: an Airedale Terrier named Dale Carnegie.”
    Sanford read one of my columns while doing research for his Buried Plymouth book. It was about an incident in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which in 1957 was celebrating fifty
years of statehood. As a time capsule, a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere loaded with memorabilia was lowered into the ground and was to be unearthed in 2007 to celebrate
the city’s centennial. Sanford ran across an article in 2007 that gave the date the car
was to be brought up from its burial spot on the courthouse lawn. He went to Tulsa to see the car raised. The story consumed Sanford for the next 16 years. He interviewed people who owned the car since its resurrection and finally found its permanent resting place in the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe, Illinois. He was careful to get the facts straight about everything involved in the story. When the book came out last
September, he had his Belvedere shipped to Tulsa to drive it around town to different book signing events and media interviews. It’s the same make and model that was buried. He and his car were on the front page of the Tulsa World newspaper.
    When I first heard about Sanford’s work I wondered how in the world could someone write a 462-page book about the Tulsa story. But Sanford says the book is
historical fiction, a combination of what actually happened and a little imagination.
    The Plymouth was chosen as a symbol of the time because as a Tulsa community leader said, “a Plymouth is a true representative of automobiles of this century with a kind of lasting appeal that will be in style fifty years from now.” Today’s cars are not quite like those made in 1957. The buried Plymouth was a wet mess when it came out of the ground because of a busted water main.



Lamesa Press-Reporter

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