Press Release) The 1930 Ford "Model A" That Carried Gangster
John Dillinger to Safety Will Cross the Barrett-Jackson Block in
-- 1930 Ford Model A
that John Dillinger used in an escape to be sold at
Barrett-Jackson at No Reserve
-- The car also starred in the recent blockbuster "Public
-- The Model A (Lot #1309) includes meticulous documentation
The 1930s Ford Model A
(Lot #1309) used by the notorious gangster John Dillinger and later
in the blockbuster 2009 movie about his life, will be sold at No
Reserve during the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
: in Scottsdale on Jan. 18-24, 2010 at WestWorld. The Ford, which
carried "Public Enemy" number one to safety in 1934 while Dillinger
sprayed pursuing cops with his Tommy gun, will cross the block as
the world watches on SPEED.
"While Bonnie and Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd and
Baby Face Nelson were media celebrities, none were more famous than
John Dillinger," said Barrett-Jackson Chairman/CEO Craig Jackson : .
"His daring robberies and hold ups fed the nation's hunger for
His ability to elude capture and escape by using fast, reliable cars
with seeming impunity made him a folk hero."
Dillinger and his gang raged throughout Ohio, Indiana, Michigan,
Illinois, Kentucky, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin during the
Great Depression. One of Dillinger's most memorable escapes
took place at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis. on
April 22, 1934. Dillinger, Homer Van Meter and John "Red" Hamilton,
his two top lieutenants, escaped in the 1930 Ford Model A coupe
offered at Barrett-Jackson.
"This car is a piece of American gangster history and as much a part
of Dillinger's legend as his Tommy guns and Colt automatics," stated
Steve Davis : , president of Barrett-Jackson. "Not only did this
particular car get the famous gangster out of a fix with the cops in
hot pursuit, it was used in the recent Johnny Depp movie about
Dillinger. So it's played an important role in history and cinema
After a series of robberies, Dillinger and his gang hid out at the
Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters. The proprietors, Emil and
Nan Wanatka, recognized them and managed to tip off the authorities
to the gang's location.
Upon arrival, the Feds perforated the Lodge with bullets until
Dillinger, Van Meter and Hamilton bailed out of doors and windows,
rushing through the woods until they found the Model T nearby. The
gangsters politely but firmly commandeered the Ford and its owner,
Robert Johnson, to drive it.
Johnson was let out near Park Falls, Wis. The trio of crooks eluded
law enforcement and drove to Hastings, Minn., over 200 miles away
from the Lodge. There, they were once again identified and fled in a
high speed pursuit. Hamilton was fatally shot in the hail of
gunfire. Dillinger, it is said, smashed the Ford's rear window with
his Thompson and sprayed his pursuers with bullets as he escaped.
Heading for the anonymity of Chicago, they dumped the bullet-riddled
Model A in favor of a stolen 1934 Ford V8. Just three months later,
Dillinger was killed as he exited the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
Bullet pocked and blood stained, the Ford was impounded by the
Files from the Division
of Investigation (now FBI) identified it as "1930 Ford coupe, 4
cylinder, Model A, Wisconsin license #92652, Motor #2980001."
"The Model A was eventually returned to Johnson who determined that
it wasn't worth repairing and parked it for nearly three decades,"
noted Davis. "The car ended up in the barn of Alfred Love's mother
in-law, where Johnson rented a bungalow. Love bought it from Johnson
and eventually passed it to his son, Mark, the current owner."
The Ford was carefully restored in 2007 to appear in "Public
Enemies," preserving the original bullet holes and dimples under
body filler and carefully documenting the original appearance
including the upholstery soaked with blood. This car is
comprehensively documented with its transfer paperwork, articles,
books, before-restoration photographs and a selection of documents
copied from the federal files.
"This Ford was at the center of one of the most famous shootouts in
gangster history," added Jackson. "It is, more than any automobile
and even firearm, identified with Dillinger. It's been owned by only
two families since it played a crucial role in the Little Bohemia
The Dillinger Ford Model A coupe would be an incredible addition to
a collection, museum or attraction that commemorates the history of
Ford, the Model A or American history."
About The Barrett-Jackson Auction
Established in 1971 and
headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in
providing products and services to classic and collector car owners,
astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The
company produces "The World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions(TM)"
in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla., Las Vegas and Orange County, Calif.
Barrett-Jackson also endorses a one-of-a-kind collector car
insurance : offering for collector vehicles and other valued
belongings. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit
www.barrett-jackson.com : or call (480) 421-6694.