The Ford “Death Car” That Accompanied Bonnie and Clyde on the Crime Spree

You have probably heard the story about Bonnie and Clyde, outlaws with an affinity for Ford. The criminal pair loved Ford V8s because these could outrun most police cars back in the day. When it comes to famous classic cars, Bonnie and Clyde made the Ford even more notorious.

What Ford did Bonnie and Clyde drive?

Bonnie and Clyde loved the Ford
The V8 Ford accompanied Bonnie and Clyde | Interim Archives/Getty Images

According to the FBI, Bonnie and Clyde were shot near Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. This was after “one of the most colorful and spectacular manhunts the nation had seen up to that time.” Clyde was wanted for murder, robbery, and kidnapping at the time. Bonnie was his sidekick, guilty of a variety of crimes as well.

A 1934 Ford DeLuxe Fordor happened to be one of the only pieces of evidence available to the FBI at the time. Bonnie and Clyde stole the V8 Ford from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, later found abandoned in Jackson, Michigan. Police also discovered that a second Ford vehicle was stolen from Illinois. Bonnie and Clyde later abandoned it in Michigan. Upon looking into these mysteriously abandoned vehicles, the police found that a man and woman were seen in both. The getaway car was the same Ford the pair was known for.

Inside the 1934 Ford DeLuxe Fordor, Bonnie accidentally left a prescription bottle. This discovery led FBI agents to a store in Nacogdoches, Texas, which led to Clyde’s aunt. The prescription bottle led to the detection of Bonnie and Clyde.

The Bonnie and Clyde “death car” was a variety of Ford vehicles

The Ford after Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police
The Ford after police ambushed Bonnie and Clyde | Bettmann / Getty Images

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The FBI set out looking for Bonnie and Clyde soon after. A warrant was issued for the 13 murders, robberies, and burglaries that the pair committed. The two spent a lot of time stealing cars from random passersby. Eventually, Bonnie and Clyde were supposed to return to the Black Lake, Louisiana, area. The FBI and local police officers hid along a highway near Sailes, Louisiana. Disguised by the bushes, Bonnie and Clyde drove right into an ambush.

This Ford happens to be famous for all of the bullet holes left by the ambush. In total, over 110 bullets went into the car, taking out Bonnie and Clyde with swiftness. Since then, the vehicle has been a tourist attraction.

For years afterward, the Bonnie and Clyde “death car” could be seen at carnivals, amusement parks, and state fairs. It went to live in the Museum of Antique Autos in Princeton, Massachusetts, for a bit. After that, the criminal chariot bounced around from casino to casino.

The actual “death car” sits in a casino in Primm, Nevada these days. It comes with the shirt Clyde was wearing at the time, complete with holes. Clyde’s sister, Marie Barrow, signed it to confirm the garment’s authenticity.

Clyde actually wrote a letter to Henry Ford himself

On April 10, 2934, Clyde wrote Henry Ford a letter thanking him for the vehicle. ThoughtCo has the full text of the letter.

“While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.”

Clyde Barrow

Clyde signed off the letter, “Yours truly, Clyde Champion Barrow.” Since then, the letter’s authenticity has come into question, but it is still considered a proper letter from Clyde. It sits on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Bonnie and Clyde are some of the more famous couples to impact American history to this day. Though we don’t suggest following in the footsteps of outlaws, the tale of the Ford cars that Bonnie and Clyde loved still makes for a pretty cool story.

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