Buried In A Ferrari


There are fascinating cemeteries all over America. A walk through any one of them can be like a living history lesson, taught by those who preceded us and who know where we are all headed. Some cemeteries have given rise to legends of hauntings and curses, while others are of interest simply for the offbeat tombstones to be discovered in them. Each of these tombstones tells a story and every graveyard we whistle as we pass by offers reminders of life’s triumphs and tragedies to anyone who takes the time to read the inscribed words. Sometimes they are words of warning or advice. Some tell tales of earthly woe, while others are actually lighthearted and inspiring.
(public photo)
Many “tombstone tourists” are interested in visiting the resting places of famous people or places which have interesting stories attached to the dearly departed. An interesting story is what has drawn thousands of visitors to the grave of Sandra West in the Alamo Masonic Cemetery on Center Street in San Antonio, Texas.
Sandra was a Beverly Hills socialite and the wife of wealthy Texas oil tycoon Ike West when he died in January 1968.  After she inherited over $5 million (almost $36 million in 2017 dollars), she had the family lawyer draw up her will and in that will, she requested to be buried wearing a lacy nightgown inside her favorite powder-blue 1964 Ferrari “with the seat slanted comfortably.”

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For the next 9 years, Sandra partied and lived large with the rich and famous in Hollywood, going through almost half of her inheritance. The excesses of her life style reportedly affected her health and she died in 1977 of an overdose of prescription pills. Upon her death, it was revealed that her brother-in-law, Saul West, was to receive $2 million if he saw to it that her wishes for burial were honored. If he did not, he would only get $10,000. Her brother-in-law went to court fighting the demand, but after a judge ruled the will valid and in force, Saul suddenly decided to carry out her wishes.

1964 Ferrari 250GT - worth about
$2 million in 2017
Two months after her death, embalmed Sandra and her prized Ferrari were flown to San Antonio to prepare for the unconventional burial next to her husband’s grave at the historic cemetery. A large wooden box 6 feet by 8 feet by 17 feet was constructed. One end was left open and the Ferrari was driven into it. The engine was turned off and the keys were left in the ignition. An undertaker dressed Sandra in a lacy, semi-transparent white nightgown and after the driver’s side seat of the Ferrari was reclined, she was placed on it. The box was sealed and hauled to the grave site on a flat-bed truck. On May 18, 1977, with 300 people looking on, a large crane lowered the box into a hole measuring 10 feet wide, 19 feet long and 9 feet deep. After being place in the middle of the hole, a redi-mix truck buried the whole thing in 2 feet of concrete to discourage grave robbers.

Over 300 onlookers watched the burial
proceedings. No family members were present.
Husband and wife are spending eternity side by side in section 1-2 of the cemetery.  Sandra's simple grave marker doesn’t give a clue to what is underneath.