Basic automobile refrigerated field: Al Capone’s armored Cadillac

In the mid-1960s, it was sold to the Niagara Falls Antique Auto Museum, which was liquidated in 1971, and the Cadillac was auctioned off by Peter Stranges, also of Niagara Falls, for $ 37,000 in time to promote the 1975 film Capone opening in Chicago.

He sold it in 1979 to BH Atchley, the owner of the Smoky Mountain Car Museum in Tennessee, who refurbished the now “yellowed” windows before auctioning the car to John O’Quinn for $ 621,500 in 2006.

In 2013, the 341A was sold for $ 355,000 at Sotheby’s St. John’s auction on behalf of O’Quinn’s estate.

In February 2020, it was put up for auction again with only 1,111 miles on the watch, but it didn’t hit the $ 1,000,000 price tag.

Today the car is privately owned.

Capone’s other cars

Capone also owned various other cars in his criminal life, including a Packard, two McFarlans, and at least two Cadillac 351 sedans, none of which he had armored. (McFarlan cars were manufactured in Indiana from 1924 to 1928. These giant cars were adored by celebrities like Jack Dempsey and Fatty Arbuckle and were referred to as the “American Rolls-Royce”).

In 1930 Capone ordered a new Cadillac Series 452 V16 Imperial seven-seater sedan, built by Fleetwood, chassis / engine number 701617, which he had converted into a rolling fortress.

This car had armor and five layers of bulletproof glass for the windows and windshield. As with the 1928 V8, both had holes to pierce machine guns if necessary. The spoked wheels were painted black, the car had spare parts on either side, and it had stone guards on the mirrors and radiator.

The interior had a roll-up privacy window between the front and back, a police radio, and a slot cut in the floor so that oil or tire nails could be dropped to thwart pursuers. A 40 gallon tank was added along with equipment that created both an oil slick and smoke screen about 40 years before James Bond had the same thing in his Aston Martin.

At the time of his arrest, Capone’s car was confiscated from his Miami vacation home by the FBI and remained in US custody for several years.

Was the Capone car used by a US President?

A story about its use circulated a few years later when it was claimed that it was being used by Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) the day after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when President of Congress was, and they were unsure how to safely transport him the short distance from the White House to Capitol Hill the next day.

With nothing adequately armored or bulletproof, the President’s agents allegedly decided to use Al Capone’s armored Cadillac, which had been pulled into the Treasury Department’s parking lot.

This story later proved dubious; one of FDR’s intelligence officers, Michael F. Reilly, wrote in his book, Reilly of the White House, “We picked up FDR in the Capone car for the first time on December 9, 1941,” the day after the President asked Congress to leave Japan To declare war.

He also claimed in his book that he arranged for the president to use an open-top car, although Capone’s car was clearly not a convertible. Newspaper and magazine clippings of the time also showed the car used by FDR on this trip, and it doesn’t look like Capone’s car. The story is believed to have been created to help boost sales of Reilly’s book. This false origin clearly benefited future sales of the car as well.

Back in private ownership

Capone’s Cadillac 452 was finally purchased in 1960 by Paul Ekins of Sikeston, Missouri, who underwent a cosmetic restoration and obtained a certified statement of its possession from an elderly gangster named Morris “Red” Rudensky, who was Capone’s cellmate in Atlanta Jail 1932.

Rudensky suggested that Capone’s criminal company reportedly turned over $ 100 million a year, while the Imperial Sedan’s custom modifications were reportedly around $ 12,500, a huge sum at the time.

In 1982 the car was purchased by the Imperial Palace Auto Collection in Las Vegas and exhibited until 1994 when it was sold to Sid Craig.

After several other private sales, Capones 452 was auctioned for $ 309,000 in 2009 and re-offered at Sotheby’s for $ 355,000 in 2012.

Today the car is in a private collection.

Capone reportedly left millions of dollars in several of his mansions. The truth, however, when recalled by cellmates, relatives, historians, and researchers, suggests that he ended up with little money and few possessions.

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