A Cadillac that was formerly owned by notorious mob boss Al Capone is hitting the auction block soon for more than $500,000. Famous gangster car auctions can fetch a lot of money, as there is a certain appeal of macabre memorabilia.
Famous gangster car auctions the high end of “murderabilia” collections
Cars of famous criminals can fetch top-dollar at auctions. One of the latest gangster car auctions, or at least the auctioning of one such car, is taking place in Monterey, Calif., according to the Daily Mail, where Al Capone’s Cadillac is being sold by RM Auctions. It’s a 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan, with custom black and green paint and 3,000 pounds of armor plating. It’s expected to sell for at least 325,000 pounds (about $503,000) when it goes on sale.
RM Auctions tracked down the man whose father built the car for Capone. Capone showed up at his father’s garage with the car and said what he wanted done. The mechanic replied that he didn’t do armor plating but was informed “you do now” by the infamous mob boss. Aside from steel plating and one-inch thick glass, the car was also given the same paint scheme as Chicago police cars. After it was seized, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used it as a presidential limousine. According to GQ magazine, the car weighs 9,000 pounds, powered by a 90 horsepower engine.
Another famous gangster car auctioned in recent years was a 1930 Ford Model A stolen by John Dillinger in 1934, which was auctioned by Barrett Jackson in 2010 for $165,000, according to CNN. Dillinger and two henchmen held up the owner at gunpoint and forced him to drive them away from police, who were in pursuit.
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The owner decided it wasn’t worth repairing when the FBI returned it, according to USA Today, leaving it in a barn for decades. Another man bought it years ago, but also left it in a garage. It was partially restored for use in “Public Enemies,” the movie about Dillinger starring Johnny Depp.
Dillinger, according to GQ, abandoned that car for a Ford Model 18 “V-8,” which he was shot dead next to in Chicago later that year. V-8 Fords were apparently bad luck, as “Baby Face” Nelson, as well as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, were also killed beside stolen V-8 Fords.
Some other notorious rides
Cars that belonged to the worst people are collectible and occasionally get sold. For instance, according to KREM, a Spokane, Wash., CBS affiliate, three 1939 Mercedes-Benz G-4 six-wheel sedans went up for auction in 2009 for the princely sum of $9 million for all three. Aside from being three of eight ever made, they were also the personal cars of Adolf Hitler.
In 2007, according to Der Spiegel, a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 600 short-wheelbase limousine was put on sale on eBay for $72,000. The car was purchased in Cambodia and allegedly was one of the limousines of infamous dictator Pol Pot.
According to the Washington Post, a hubcap from serial killer Ted Bundy’s Volkswagen Beetle was sold for $3,500. Bundy’s car itself is at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, along with the white Ford Bronco O.J. Simpson ran from police in. The Bronco actually belonged to Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings, according to MSN. Before it arrived at the museum, Cowlings reportedly sold it for $75,000. Bundy’s “Bug” is leased to the museum from a collector, who purchased it for $25,000 in 1997.
USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/01/no-bullet-holes-john-dillingers-ford-model-a-getaway-car-coming-to-auction/1#.T_sZElLPe_0
Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/macabre-bidding-war-pol-pot-s-mercedes-for-sale-on-ebay-a-514095.html
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/18/AR2010021803532.html