Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yet Another Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Surfaces-- But It Seems This One, Has Some "Essplainin" To Do..

It's been decades now-- since the Bonnie & Clyde Death Car was in question.  And at more than one point in time, proper identification of the death car "was" in question-- until the Ted Toddy trial in Atlanta.. when Ted Hinton seemingly helped lay any remaining controversy to rest.  At that trial to determine genuineness between Bonnie & Clyde Death Cars.. ex-Dallas Deputy Sheriff Hinton (one of 6 Peace Officers, who put an end to Bonnie & Clyde's "reign of terror")-- provided expert testimony, that the Ted Toddy car originally owned by Jesse and Ruth Warren.. was indeed the authentic death car. 

Although minutes of that trial would need to be examined to reveal all the particulars of that event-- Hinton who surely knew that car in '34..
was able to identify the car again decades later-- via a mark he had placed somewhere on the car.. and thus, verify the former Warren car then owned by Toddy, as the correct one.  Hinton helped provide court-sanctioned iron-clad assurance as to the Death Car's genuineness.  As I understand it, that trial also compared Ford manufacturing records.. used for proof as well. 

And as such, the Ruth and Jesse Warren Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. at that point owned by Ted Toddy, and having changed hands more than once since then-- is now an attraction/owned by Whiskey Pete's.. a Terrible's Casino-- in Primm, Nevada. 

Fast forward to today, where in Pilot Point, Texas a man named John Massey claims to have the real Warren car housed at a body shop in Gunter, Texas.  Please review news link here..


So Bonnie & Clyde had the Cordoba Gray car painted to elude police??  Man, who had time for painting cars while on the run.. and why not just steal another car as they always did??  Also, who was this man, who owned the Massey car for 25 years-- before displaying it at The National Museum Of Crime.. and who's estate it was purchased from??  Names and proper provenance are necessary for historical verification of any serious historical artifact-- and for one this monumentally iconic.. provenance is key.  Plus as other Death  Car fakes have made their way around over the years-- one of those from even way back, conceivably could have resurfaced to see the light of day once again.    

And would that be the National Museum of Crime in Washington D.C. which just closed.. which housed my Bonnie & Clyde artifacts??  Could this be the Ken Holmes Bonnie & Clyde '67 movie car.. burned in the Wax Museum fire in Dallas.. restored.. displayed in Gibsland-- and later displayed at the National Museum Of Crime And Punishment.  And now, with more than a few larger caliber holes too many.. gained attention again in Texas??  Did Ken's kids sell it to this fellow??  Don't think so, as last I heard-- Ken's car was in limbo, as to where it may go with the museum now shutting down.  So this is a different replica death car-- longing to be the original?? 

I would think some particulars for Mr. Massey to ponder-- before allowing his car to "hit the road" on display for historical purposes might include..

Knowledge that the line of ownership re: the Warren car in having been sold by Ruth Warren to Charles Stanley in the '30's and beyond, with owners known and documented along the way-- and which today, leads to Whiskey Pete's Casino in Primm, Nevada is solid.

Charles Stanley, after purchasing Warren Bonnie & Clyde car.  Note the darker color than evident on Massey car.  Ford Cordoba Gray swatch shown below.
The Warren car was a 1934 Ford Model 730 Fordor Deluxe Sedan.

> Ford Cordoba Gray in color
> Purchased at the Mosby-Mack Motor Company,
     Topeka, Kansas
> 85 HP V-8, with manual 3 speed transmission
> Motor number #649198
> Options included Arvin hot water heater-- steel cover for spare tire-- front and rear bumper guards-- Potters trunk and a chrome Greyhound radiator cap ornament.

On May 23rd, 1934 it was shot full of holes (167 have been counted, including entry and exit holes)-- when Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed in Sailes, LA.. holes documented through numerous photographs of the death car, taken at Arcadia, LA after the ambush.  Historically correct photos of The Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. "no doubt about it".

The main issue I see for Mr. Massey, without even comparing build info.. is that bullet holes evident on post-ambush photos from '34 of the actual death car-- don't exactly match up, to holes apparently "recreated" in this latest car alluding to Bonnie & Clyde authenticity.  Although close and a spirited try.. they don't precisely match the Death Car bullet patterns-- however the holes in the car in Primm do.  So "case closed".. it should be that simple. 

Plus the holes in the Massey car, seem of similar size-- whereas at the ambush, a variety of weapons were employed in trying to penetrate Bonnie & Clyde's solidly built 1934 car.  Thus many holes were relatively small, and appeared as such in photographs-- having been created by Remington Model 8 rifles (up to .35 caliber) and a BAR (.30-06 caliber).  Although I wouldn't hesitate to wager, spots substantially dented in (evident on the real car but seemingly not on this latest replica)-- may have been made by the BAR-- which has a velocity that will propel bullets a remarkable 3 miles.  Many heavy hits may also have been made by Hamer's automatic shotgun, said loaded with the largest shot.  .45 caliber pistols may  also have made substantial holes-- but may not have penetrated the car, sans the windows.          

Actual Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. May 23rd, 1934, Arcadia, LA.
Massey Ford, with bullet holes which "don't" exactly match Bonnie & Clyde Death Car bullet holes.  And where did all those larger caliber bullet holes in the door panels come from??  Like the "Old Man" in "A Christmas Story" with the extension chords.. "Well.. there are just too many".  One of the keys to penetrating the heavy '34 metal-- was the use of narrow, sharp 30 caliber rifle shots, along with BAR rounds (.30-06 caliber)-- for sheer firepower.  Thus many of the actual holes were small.   

But apparently, to those who wish for their Bonnie & Clyde artifacts without provenance and death cars to be real.. well, yet another attempt at glory??  Perhaps this gentleman isn't familiar with the ambush and it's aftermath.  Thus maybe he wouldn't mind producing any of the many items he claims were left in the death car (including weapons).. which speak to his car's authenticity.  It sure seems, the law and all who scoured the death car after the ambush-- missed so very much within their inventory. 

No.. they didn't. 

One more observation.. I believe within his interview of Dr. James Wade in the late '60's, Professor Carroll Rich noted that Wade had gotten the color of the car wrong.. in noting it to be Desert Sand in color.  As Carroll's interviews are both out of print and ones only those with a keen interest in Bonnie & Clyde History would be familiar with.. I'm not surprised, some have hung their hats on the original coroner's report concerning this-- and thus attempted to create replica cars in the wrong color.  As has been noted for decades.. within manufacturing reports, Cordoba Gray was the reported color of the Warren car-- with those in the know having made replica non-shot up Bonnie & Clyde cars in the correct color.  I have the Carrol Rich interviews of Wade archived, and will double check them to be sure concerning this correction to the original coroner's report.      

I do wonder though, about the motivation of those for example that this fellow bought his car from??  Do some really think they can buck history, and create questionable alternatives others will buy into??  It sure seems so. 

1 comment:

BarefootOkieGal said...

I've seen a few photos of cars that were claimed to be the "real" Bonnie and Clyde death car - it's actually fairly easy to eyeball the bullet holes from the real car and dismiss the other photos. Even if someone set out to shoot the dickens out of an ol' 34' Ford, there would be no way to make the holes match. Also, as you pointed out, there are holes made by a lot of different weapons in the real car. (Wonder if anyone's still got a BAR out there? Or are AK's the preferred nasty weapon nowadays?)