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At Nationwide Auto Transportation, we’re infatuated with the history of cars. From the very first Model T to today’s latest models, cars play a huge role in the story of people’s lives. Not only do they take us from point A to point B, but for some, they play an infamous part in murder, mayhem, high-speed chases down blind alleys, and in tragedy. At least, that’s the story told by the Bonnie and Clyde car…

Restored Ford Model T on display in South Africa. Clyde was known to love Ford cars.

The Story of the Bonny and Clyde Car

Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow in January 1930, and they were inseparable, until Clyde went to jail on charges of burglary later that same year. He was just 21 years old at the time. However, he didn’t stay in jail for long, as his love, Bonnie, smuggled a gun in during a visit and he managed to escape. 

Soon, he was recaptured and sentenced to jail for another fourteen years. Another inmate answered his plea, and cut off two of Clyde’s toes so that he could avoid work detail. His mother pleaded and he received a pardon, which led to the legend we now know as Bonnie and Clyde.

Together with their merry gang of criminal minds – Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche; W.D. Jones, and gunman Raymond Hamilton – the pair worked their way across five states. They robbed gas stations, banks and stores from Missouri to Texas and built a name for themselves as outlaws. 

After some time, the crimes committed by the gangsters took a deadly turn. In 1934, they killed a police officer in Grapevine, Texas. Five days later, they killed another police officer in Oklahoma. Over a period of twenty-one months, they killed thirteen people. 

bonnie and clyde car

Introducing the Bonnie and Clyde Car

Clyde Barrow loved Ford cars. It is rumored that he wrote a letter to Henry Ford, complimenting him on the fine V8 his company manufactured:

Mr. Henry Ford

Detroit, Mich.

Dear Sir:

While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have driven Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it doesn’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.

Yours truly

Clyde Champion Barrow”

The letter bore a Tulsa, Oklahoma postmark, which indicated that it was mailed on April 10, 1934, and received by Henry Ford on April 13, 1934 in Detroit. Today, this letter is on display at the Henry Ford Museum. 

According to, the legitimacy of this letter is undetermined, which means it could be true...  However, Marie Barrow Scome denied that the letter was written by her brother, Clyde.

Legend has it that Clyde Barrow repeatedly stole Ford V8 automobiles at every opportunity, as the powerful engines complemented his superlative driving skills. He credited the cars for enabling the gang to evade pursuit as they blazed a trail of murder and mayhem across the Midwest. 

A Fateful Day

On a fateful day in early 1934, Bonnie and Clyde stole a Ford V8 from Ruth Warren of Topeka, Kansas. Almost brand new, the Barrow gang put nearly 7,000 miles on it in the following few weeks. After all, it was the fastest affordable car on the road at the time.

During this time, law enforcement picked off or arrested gang members one-by-one. However, Bonnie and Clyde remained free until May that year.

Just a few months later, on May 23, 1934, the pair was gunned down at 9.15am. After years of evading law enforcement, they were ambushed and gunned down in Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bonnie and Clyde had lived by the gun, and died in a hail of bullets in their stolen 1934 Ford 730 Deluxe Sedan.

The car was towed from the scene, as a macabre makeshift hearse.

bonnie and clyde car

Bonnie and Clyde Car Display, Nevada

Bonnie and Clyde Car Display – Photo Credits

While the couple’s lives ended on that day, their love story was forever engraved in the 160 bullet holes left in the car – now known as the Death Car –  which was first returned to its owner, and is now on display in Whiskey Pete’s Hotel & Casino in Primm Valley Resort in Primm, Nevada. 

Parked near the cashier cage on the plush carpet, stands the Bonnie and Clyde car, along with an accompanying exhibit, which includes showroom dummies posing as the pair of infamous criminals. The shredded shirt in which Clyde died is on display, bearing his sister’s personal signature inside the hem.