History of the Warren Car (Bonnie and Clyde
I'm interested in what ever
happened to the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car. Do you have any
additional information on it's history? Derek Wilson, LA
The car was a 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan (Fordor) which
belonged to Ruth and Jesse Warren. They had recently purchased the
car and it had been sitting in their driveway. Ruth, who had been
out of the window and noticed that the car was missing. Ruth
thought that her husband had driven it to the house of a
neighbor, she called him and he said that he hadn't taken the car.
The car was stolen on April 29, 1934.
On May 23, 1934 the posse had been
waiting for approximately seven hours when at about 9:10 a.m. they
heard a machine approaching at a high rate of speed. It is not
clear whether the officers stepped into the road to challenge
them. But when the car stopped they were told to give up. They
reached for their guns but never had a chance to use them. The
posse opened fire, the car leaped ahead and came to a stop in a
ditch beside the road. The firing continued after the car came to
The officers had pump 167 rounds into the car, approaching it with
care. They found Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow dead. Fifty rounds
had smashed into their bodies. Some through the driver's door
through him and then through Bonnie and out the passenger door.
The fingers on Bonnie's right hand had been shot off. Her left
hand was clutching a bloody pack of cigarettes. She died with her
head slumped between her legs, with a gun across her lap. Bonnie
was 23 years old, Clyde 24. It looked as if Bonnie had just gotten
her hair permanent waved.
Inside the 1934 Ford, Hamer found the following items, 1
saxophone, 3 Browning automatic rifles, 1 10 gauge Winchester
lever action, 1 sawed-off shotgun, 1 20 gauge sawed-off shotgun, 1
Colt 32 caliber automatic, 1 Colt 45 caliber revolver, 7 Colt
automatic pistols, and approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition.
They found license plates from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas,
Indiana, Kansas, Ohio and Louisiana
After the ambush Mrs. Ruth Warren arrived in Bienville Parish to
claim her car. Sheriff Henderson Jordan refused to release the
car to her, claiming that she would have to pay $15,000 to get it
back. Hiring attorney W.D.Goff from Arcadia 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 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 for several days.
Ruth 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. He exhibited it on the Hennies Brothers Midways in his
1939 crime show. Stanley used the car on his outside bally and
showed the film of the actual ambush on the inside. After Ruth
divorced her husband Jesse, she kept the title to the car and sold
it to Stanley for $3,500. It had been said that Charles was the
original owner of the Death Car. During the
season the car was exhibited at Coney Island amusement park in
Cincinnati, Ohio. Charles joined the Cavalcade of Amusements at
Sedalia, Mo. He added a Dillinger Crime Car and toured with the
Gooding Amusements and Hennies Brothers Shows. In 1951 Stanley
toured the Mosser Family Massacre through theaters. Spent a short
time at the Coney Island in Cincinnati. Later joining the Cetlin
and Wilson Shows for the season. In a 1952 Billboard he offered
the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car for sale. That same season he
retired from the road to manage the Coney Island Park in
Cincinnati and exhibited the car until 1960. Ted Toddy purchased
the car in 1960 for $14,500. The car then sat in a warehouse for
years In 1971 Toddy leased his car to the Royal American Shows.
In 1973 the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car
was purchased by Peter Simon of the Oasis Casino in Jean Nevada
for $175.000. It was on display at Whiskey Pete's Casino for
several years and is now on permanent display at the Primm Hotel
and Casino at Primm Nevada just of Interstate 15 on the Nevada and
Even after 70 years the legend still
holds a strange fascination. John Robinson,
Some information and assistance
compiled from: History of the Warren Car, Al Stencell's
Seeing is Believing and the FBI report on the death of Bonnie
Parker and Clyde Barrow.
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