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It’s been almost 30 years since Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered outside her Brentwood, California home. Following an arrest warrant for Brown Simpson’s husband, football legend O.J. Simpson took off with a friend and former teammate, Al Cowlings, driving in a white Ford Bronco.

Simpson held a gun to his own head while Cowlings drove on LA freeways at Simpson’s request, in an attempt to elude police. Cowlings was afraid Simpson would shoot himself and was on the phone with LA Police Department representatives off and on throughout. After roughly two hours, the episode ended in Simpson’s driveway, where he was arrested.

The white Ford Bronco carrying O.J. Simpson driving on the freeway in 1994
Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images

The Ford Bronco was an icon of the era. Built from 1965 to 1996, its features were those of some of the first SUV styles, a combination of a truck and station wagon. The aerial televised chase of the white Ford Bronco, while millions were glued watching, made this particular Ford Bronco a legend.

Cowling wanted to sell the O.J. Simpson white Ford Bronco to a tourist company, but O.J.’s agent intercepted

The white Bronco’s actual owner is still commonly misunderstood. It was Cowling’s vehicle, although O.J. also drove a Bronco. Simpson’s version was owned by Hertz. At the time, he worked as a spokesman. That Bronco was investigated for evidence, as drops of blood from both of the victims were found on it. Following the trial, O.J.’s Bronco was destroyed.

Cowling’s white Bronco was to be sold to a company specializing in LA tours of celebrity graves for $75,000. However, Simpson’s former agent intervened, not wanting any more publicity on the case prior to O.J.’s trial. The agent, Mike Gilbert, purchased the car with the aid of two others for the $75,000 Cowling had been offered. It was then stored in the garage of some LA condominiums for 20 years. Keepers ensured it remained in running condition by starting it up and taking it for a short drive now and then. Otherwise, the Bronco sat idle.

The famous Bronco ultimately goes on display at a crime museum

While they have been offered up to $275,000 for the Bronco, the three men have retained ownership of the car.

For a few months in 2012, the Bronco was brought out for a sports memorabilia show at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Known as the O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco, it was displayed in front of the hotel. The owners balked, however, at the possibility of it being disassembled to move into the hotel itself, as they wanted to keep it in running condition.

Gilbert moved it back to his home in Hanford, CA, where it remained locked up until 2018, when he placed it on loan to the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Also on temporary display at the museum was an exhibit addressing domestic abuse that honored Nicole Brown Simpson.

Gilbert has said he is happy with the car’s placement.

“Not only would people learn details they never heard, but there would also be a new generation learning about it for the first time. This partnership with Alcatraz East has been important to me. I wanted the Bronco in a place where it would be protected, as well as be part of a bigger story – a part of history.”

Gilbert retains the registration papers, original tires, and the leftover gas from the infamous drive.

Where are things now?

O.J. Simpson was acquitted by the jury, however, in a 1997 civil trial, he was found liable. Simpson was later found guilty for his role in a heist from a Las Vegas hotel room and served nine years in prison. O.J. Simpson died on April 10, 2024.

Nicole Brown Simpson had two children with O.J. Daughter Sydney is a Boston University grad who leads a private life and is thought to be living in Florida. Their son Justin also lives in Florida and is a real estate agent in the southern part of the state.

The new 2020 Bronco was announced at the 2019 North American International Auto Show. It remains in production today.


Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 19, 2019, and was updated for freshness on April 11, 2024, after O.J. Simpson’s death was announced.