Death Car: 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan Assembly Plant: River Rouge Assembly Date: February 1934 Dealership: Mosby-Mack Motor Company Engine: Large eighy-five HP V8 Transmission type: manual 3 speed Tires: Firestone 525/550x17 Original owner: Ruth Warren Original purchase price: $835 (1934) Custom color: Cordoba Grey Inside options: Arvin hot water heater Outside options: steel cover for spare tire, front & rear bumper guards, a chrome greyhound radiator cap ornament, Potters trunk & safety glass windows Date stolen: April 29, 1934 License plate: 1934 Arkansas 15-368 Original license plate: Kansas 3-17832 Odometer miles: (added by Clyde) 2,500 Damage assessment: bulletholes & bloodstains
When Mrs.Ruth Warren arrived in Bienville Parish to claim her car (after the ambush). Sheriff Henderson Jordan refused to release it to her, claiming that she would have to pay $15,000 to get it back. She then hired Arcadia attorney W.D.Goff to represent her. Goff claimed that by Jordan setting the value of the car over $3,000, the case would surely wind up in Federal Court. Because of Sheriff Jordan's refusal to comply, Federal Judge Benjamin Dawkins threatened to send the sheriff to jail, if he did not return the car to Mrs. Warren. She finally did, get her car back, and drove it to Shreveport, Louisiana. From there the car was taken by truck, back to Topeka, Kansas, where it sat in her driveway at 2107 Gabler Street for several days. She leased the car to John Castle of "United Shows" and when the contract went into default, she had the car repossessed and rented it to carnival operator Charles Stanley. After she divorced her husband Jesse, she kept the title to the car and sold it to Stanley for $3,500. The "Death Car" was then exhibited at a Cincinnati, Ohio amusement park from 1940-1952. Ted Toddy purchased the car in 1952 for $14,500. The car then sat in a warehouse for years until the popularity of the 1967 Authur Penn movie "Bonnie & Clyde" brought it out of retirement. In 1988, the death car was used in the Great American Road Rally in the old Arlington Stadium.
The car was originally obtained by the owners of Whiskey Pete's in 1988 for $250,000. The infamous "Death Car" was an attraction in their lobby, along with other Bonnie & Clyde relics, including the bulletriddled shirt worn by Clyde Barrow on the day that he was killed.
"Whiskey Pete's" (Primadonna Resorts Inc.), in Primm, Nevada, is located just 35 miles south of Las Vegas, on I-15 at the California/Nevada Stateline. However, MGM, the Las Vegas-based Entertainment Gaming and Hotel giant, had recently acquired "Primadonna Resorts Inc". Whiskey Pete's was also included in this $267 million dollar deal, so the "deathcar", shirt and other memorabilia are now located across the road, at "The Primm Valley Resort & Casino".
On April 29, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde had stolen the car that they eventually died in. In the last months of their lives, the telephone calls, to and from the home of Cumie and Henry Barrow were being monitored by the Dallas Police. A log had been made of these conversations. Included here, is page 45 of that logbook dated April 26, 1934 at 8:40 PM. Frank, the brother of Joe Bill Francis calls Mrs. Barrow to discuss Joe who had been in jail. While at the City Hall, he overheard an interesting conversation that he tells Cumie about.
In 1987 the car belonged to Clyde Wade, curator of Harrah's Automotive Museum. It was put in running condition. The only thing changed was the windshield, because it would not pass inspection. The steering wheel was half rebar and half plastic. The seats were all shot up and there were bullet holes throughout. Because all of the side windows still had holes through them, they were covered with Plexiglas to keep out the weather. Bruce Gezon and Virginia "Ginni" Withers raced the deathcar in 1987 in the Interstate Batteries Great Race. Wade, who is a friend of Withers and her husband Newt, entered the car in the Great Race because he wanted to sell it and he believed that the publicity would increase its value.