4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

Nothing makes a movie better than a car chase. American action movies are littered with car chase scenes! From the Matrix series, Fast and the Furious, Mad Max, The Bourne Identity, and much more… the car chase is glorified on national news and often boosts ratings. So why do we have this fascination with cars? I have no idea. But if I were to take a guess, it would be the rich history and events that cars are consistently involved in. From pop culture murder cases like O.J. Simpson to Franklin D. Roosevelt riding in Al Capone’s armored Cadillac during World War II — here are 5 infamous celebrity cars with shocking histories.

 

Al Capone’s Cadillac Protects FDR During WWII

   

 I do not want to mislead you. I do not know whether the president did ride in Al Capone’s armored Cadillac or not. Even if the president never graced this vehicle’s interior, the story behind this vehicle becomes more fascinating the more you look into it. There are three possibilities:
 
1) Al Capone Built an armored Cadillac that fell into the service of protecting the president. Rumor has it that the vehicle was impounded by the government once Al Capone went to prison.
 
Fast forward 10 years later and the Attack On Pearl Harbor devastates America. According to Michael F. Reilly, a secret service man under Franklin D. Roosevelt, there was a dire need to protect the president after the pearl harbor attack. Unfortunately, the government could not spend any more money on cars… so Capone’s Cadillac became a convenient option. Because of the vehicle’s armor, the president and the secret service commandeered the vehicle. It is rumored that this is the exact car that drove the president to his famous Pearl Harbor speech declaring war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Using confiscated celebrity cars to protect the POTOS has never been a practice since.  
 
2) The president never rode in the vehicle, but Al Capone built one of the first armored cars in history. According to Oscar Fraley and Eliot Ness who authored the book “The Untouchables”, the secret service agent Michael F. Reilly had great interest to exaggerate and connect his book to Al Capone. , Basically, he wanted to sell more books.

4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

3) Al Capone never made the vehicle at all, and it’s just a vehicle that gets resold over and over again by either people who don’t know its true history or take advantage of the story by blowing up the “celebrity cars” aspect of the vehicle. Actual documentation of this vehicle starts in 1933, which is 2 years after Al Capone’s jail sentence. And the evidence that this was really Al Capone’s vehicle comes from an obscure source, but according to an article by the classic car news outlet Hemmings Daily, the car was sold for $341,000 in an auction in 2012.
 
Which one is it? I don’t know, but either way, each one makes you wonder what the truth is behind this car’s mystery.

 

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O.J. Simpson’s White Bronco Getaway

4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

Everyone remembers O.J. Simpson if you were old enough to remember 1994. It was a time when our famous celebrity friend, O.J. Simpson, suddenly ended up on television in a white bronco with a backdrop of policemen behind him. He was supposed to turn himself in for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. Instead of turning himself in, he fled. The Police, according to an article by CBS News, used cell phone data to track down Simpson. When they found him, the White Bronco was being driven by his friend Al Cowlings. Fans lined the streets and cheered Simpson on yelling his popular nickname, “Juice!” while Simpson sat in the back of the Bronco with a gun to his head threatening to commit suicide.

The car chase ended with a quiet surrender in the driveway of his Simpson’s home, but that was just the beginning of a long, drawn out case. Hands down one of the most notable car chases of involving celebrity cars to date. In fact, if that sounds like an awesome sounding show… it actually is! The story is now a true crime anthology on Netflix.

James Dean Killed by Evil Car

4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

James Dean was on a hot run and just made three movies: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. On the side, with his extra time, James started to indulge in his fascination of car racing.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

James started finding some success in car racing. As a future superstar, it’s no surprise that every car Dean drove became part of celebrity cars culture. Despite what people may think about race car drivers, James appeared on a public service announcement praising “safe driving” on the highways. Not too long after, James died in a driving accident in a Porsche 550 Spider. You would think that’s where the story ends, but that’s where the story starts. According to the Travel Channel, when James Dean bought the Porsche 550 Spider, he was eager to show it off to his friend and actor, Alec Guinness. When Alec looked at the celebrity car an indescribable feeling came over him that made him feel that the car was evil. Alec looked at James and said, “Promise me you’ll never get in this car, if you drive this car, you will be found dead within a week.”

Exactly one week, later James drives the Porsche to a sports car racing competition with a friend.

Driving the opposite way on the same road as James is a college kid named Donald Turnupseed who was driving a 1950 Ford Tudor. The college kid took a sharp turn into James Dean’s lane to take a fork in the road. James looks over to his friend and says, “he’s got to stop, he’ll see us.” As it becomes more clear that the vehicle is not going to change its course, Dean attempts to avoid a collision by turning out of the way. At a reported 85 mph, Dean never had a chance. The two cars crashed almost head-on. In the aftermath, the college kid and Dean’s friend survives… but Dean dies at the young age of 24. On later accounts, the college kid goes on record saying that he “saw nothing.”

Was it evil or coincidence? Who knows…

Car Betrays Serial Killer, Ted Bundy

4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

People love to customize their rides. This could be anything from cooling champagne in a fridge to creating a sleeping area for camping. In Ted Bundy’s case, he removed the passenger seat in his Volkswagen Beetle to better fit the bodies of his victims.

From January 1974, Bundy continued killing people at a rate of one person per month, until his Beetle was pulled over the preceding year, August 1975. The police did not know what to make of the missing seat, ice pick, glove, handcuffs, and pantyhose masks in the back of Ted Bundy’s car. The police could not connect Bundy with any crimes. Then one day, after cleaning the vehicle,  Bundy decided to sell the Volkswagen to a teenager. The police searched the vehicle and were able to find hair that matched several of his victims despite Bundy’s attempt to clean the evidence. Bundy was still able to escape custody two more times and commit a second murder spree before he was caught again and sentenced to execution.

Bonus Celebrity Cars Pick: Tupac Shakur’s Cadillac

4 Infamous Celebrity Cars With Shocking Histories

Tupac spreading a message through his music to enact positive change against racism, poverty, violence, and the treatment of women. But still, the famous artist’s life was still riddled with violence. After the Mike Tyson bout with Bruce Seldon in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (another execution by Tyson), the rapper and his entourage assaulted an alleged Crips gang member.

After the beating, the group took off where Tupac rode in Suge Knight’s 1996 BMW 750il Sedan. At 11:15 PM a white Cadillac pulled up to the right and opened fire on the sedan. On Friday the 13th, 1996, Tupac Shakur died in the hospital.

American stories include car mysteries, car chases, and even car voodoo for a good reason. As far as celebrity cars go, we have real stories and mysteries to look at! Our society adores the car because, throughout the years of the United State’s existence, it has given us the freedom to travel and do what we want. With a whole entire population of people driving from state to state, city to city, it is no wonder how crazy stories like these pop up!

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