Still a spectacle in San Antonio after nearly 40 years
Sandra West (Jan. 2, 1939-March 10, 1977) was a Beverly Hills socialite and wife of Texas oil tycoon Ike West (Aug 29, 1934-January 1968). When she made her will, she requested that she be buried inside a Ferrari “with the seat slanted comfortably.”
A 1964 powder blue Ferrari 250GT is buried at a historic cemetery on San Antonio’s East Side, but the concrete box that the classic sports car is entombed in is not alone.
Sandra West, a wealthy Beverly Hills socialite whose 1977 death made national headlines, was buried in the front seat of the Italian super car in an elegant, white nightgown.
West, who requested the eccentric burial, lies near her oil tycoon husband Ike West at the Alamo Masonic Cemetery at 800 Center Street.
The bizarre burial gained national attention in 1977, after Sandra West overdosed from prescription pills, though conflicting reports say she died due to complications of a car accident.
In her will written four years prior, she requested that she be buried inside the car “with the seat slanted comfortably,” according to original reports.
At the time of her death, she lived among the rich and famous in Beverly Hills and was worth $5 million that was inherited from her husband after he died in 1968.
She and her prized Ferrari were flown to San Antonio to prepare for the unconventional burial at the historic cemetery two months later.
More than 300 guests visited the cemetery on May 18, 1977, as a crane placed the box into a grave measuring 19 feet long, 10 feet wide and 9 feet deep. Once the box was inside the grave, crews covered it with cement to discourage potential looters.
“I just wanted to see how it was done,” one guest told the United Press International, according to an article by The Register-Guard. “If you can afford it, why not?”
Almost 40 years later, the site has been visited by thousands of history buffs and sightseers hoping to catch a glimpse of the grassy patch that covers the mysterious coffin. Even so, the cemetery is a stop on many tours, including the San Antonio Neighbourhood Tours, Eastside Cemeteries Tour and Go! Historic SA Guided Running and Walking Tour.