Bonnie and Clyde Were Pretty Looking People
This week, in 1934, the famous outlaw couple, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death in a stolen 1934 Ford Deluxe in Louisiana, after a two-year crime spree through Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. Though they were known for having killed over 13 people, in addition to a string of infamous robberies, the FBI could only put out a call for a violation of the National Motor Vehicle Act. Because officers were allowed to chase down a stolen car for crossing state lines, it was ultimately that Ford that allowed the authorities to bring the Bonnie and Clyde reign to an end.
But though they stand out as some of the most infamous outlaws of their times – with that famous bullet hole riddled Ford in all the lore, Bonnie and Clyde were by no means the first or the last. Here are just a few of history’s favorite outlaws– and their cars.
John Dillinger – 1933 Essex Terraplane 8
Until its closing in 2015, the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington D.C. actually had Dillinger’s infamous Terraplane 8 on display. It was favored by many of the working outlaws for having the highest horsepower-to-weight ratio of any production car at the time and for its discreet appearance. He didn’t have the car long, wrecking after just eight days, but it had a wild ride. The original vehicle, believed to be used in the famous St. Paul shootout, has since been restored, but the two bullet holes remain, a testament to the era of modern cowboys and the sheriffs that couldn’t keep up.
John Dillinger – 1932 Studebaker Commander
This car was known for its role in one of the biggest bank robberies in American history – the biggest, when it took place at the Central National Bank in Greencastle, IN, October of 1933. It was a stolen, unmarked sheriff’s car sitting at the curb outside of the robbery with a gang member at the wheel and false Ohio plates. Whether because of the car or not, the robbery was successful and the gang stole over $75,000, over $1.3 million dollars today.
Al Capone – 1928 Model 341 Cadillac sedan
Unlike Dillinger, who wanted the fastest car on the market, Capone’s Cadillac didn’t start out at the high end. But in this early era of customization, the work done to this four-door passenger sedan is representative of the way Capone thought, cunning and quick and always one step ahead. Though the car sold for $341,000 at an RM auction in 2012, the verification about ownership is a little sketchy. Still, with heavily armored plates, steel curtains, slits for firing through the steel curtains, and bullet-proof, inch thick glass, the odds that this Cadillac might be one of the most important pieces of American outlaw history are hard to ignore.
1934 Ford Fordor
This car wasn’t owned by an outlaw, but it was owned by a charlatan. From the 1930s to the 1950s, this was one of five replicas that toured carnivals and fairs as the original Bonnie and Clyde Death Car, which is incredibly gruesome. The owner of the actual Death Car put up $10,000 against proof that his car was the real one, and this car’s owner was prosecuted. The car was taken out of his possession, but made its rounds a few years later as the template for the Death Car in the 1967 Warner Bros. movie Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway.
They robbed a store and hightailed outta that town got clean away in a stolen car and waited till the heat died down.