10 Historic Cars: Where Are They Now?
If these vehicles could talk, they'd tell us about famous celebrities, world leaders and nefarious criminals. These cars were present for moments of love, tragedy and brilliance. They captured whole nations' imaginations and helped change the world, for good and bad. But once their fleeting moment in history ended, what happened to them?
Click through to see 10 of the most famous vehicles in history, and where they are now.
Archduke Ferdinand's Assassination LimoIn a shot heard around the world, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914, by Serbian separatists. Since he was next in line for the Austria-Hungarian throne, this really annoyed Austria, who declared war on Serbia and its allies, launching the start of World War I. The 1911 Gräf & Stift Double Phaeton was sent straight to Vienna's Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, where the car still sits.
Bonnie and Clyde's Death CarWhen Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow it was, by all accounts, love at first sight. The love resulted in three years of haphazard robbery, kidnapping, murder and shootouts across the country. The pair met their end when police sprayed the stolen 1934 Ford Deluxe they were riding in with 130 rounds of bullets on May 23, 1934.
First, the car was towed to the local furniture store and funeral parlor in downtown Arcadia, La. The car was bought and sold by various promoters for use in sideshows at county fairs and circuses. There were many imitators, but the original car had various proofs of authenticity, including Barrow's torn and bloodstained shirt signed by his sister and several letters attesting to its authenticity. Theses items are on display, along with the bullet-riddled Ford, at Whiskey Jack's Casino in Primm, Nev. The casino operator bought the car, bloodstains and all, for $175,000 in 1973.
Elvis's Pink CadillacTo say Elvis was a fan of the Cadillac is a bit of an understatement. The King gave away countless Cadillacs to family, friends and hangers-on. At his funeral, a 1977 Miller-Meteor Landau Traditional Cadillac hearse transported Elvis' body, with a silver Cadillac limousine leading the procession and 16 white Cadillac limousines behind filled with mourners heading to the Memphis Cemetery.
His favorite Cadillac of all was a pink 1955 Fleetwood 60 Special, which replaced a pink 1954 model after it caught fire due to faulty brake lining. Elvis would own his pink Cadillac for the rest of his life. He originally bought it for his mother, but she never drove it. The pink paint was mixed just for Elvis and is known as 'Elvis Rose'. The Fleetwood has been on display since 1982 at the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum at Graceland.
James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder: Little BastardActor James Dean loved racing, and his love ultimately caused his death. In a horrific accident on his way to a race in Salinas, Calif., Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder lost control and flipped into a gully, killing Dean and severely injuring his passenger. The car dubbed 'Little Bastard' by the actor would be nothing but bad luck after Dean's death.
Dean's friend and famous car customizer George Barris took the remains of the Spyder and sold parts out to other drivers. At least three car accidents occurred, one fatal, when parts from Little Bastard failed in those cars.
The California Highway Patrol attempted to display Dean's car as a warning to careless drivers, but more bad luck followed. The first place it was displayed was a garage, which promptly burned down (the fire did not damage the Porsche). Then the car fell off its stand at a high school event and broke a nearby student's hip. While in transit, the Spyder fell off of its trailer three times, crushing a truck driver. The car also injured two thieves who tried to pry out the steering wheel and bloodstained seats.
Finally, the California Highway Patrol had had enough of Little Bastard and attempted to return the wreckage to Barris, but it vanished mysteriously on route and hasn't been seen since.
Rosa Parks' BusThe bus that helped Rosa Parks launch her role in the Civil Rights movement survives to this day. On December 1, 1955, the 42-year-old Parks boarded the bus after a long day as a seamstress. When the "whites only" seats at the front of the bus filled up, a white man asked her to get up so he could sit. Parks refused, resulting in her arrest under Jim Crow laws. Her arrest helped sparked the famed Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first of many nonviolent protests staged by marginalized black populations in America.
The General Motor's bus rusted in a field for 30 years before The Henry Ford Museum spent $300,000 restoring it. The bus is currently on display at the museum. Visitors are welcome to sit in the bus, which is filled with interactive displays and teaching tools.
Kennedy's Limousine: SS-100-XSS-100-X was the Secret Service name given to President John F. Kennedy's navy blue 1961 Lincoln 74A Convertible. The Lincoln featured $200,000 worth of modifications, but no bulletproofing. There were several domes that fit over the top of the convertible, but it made the cabin extremely hot and was also not bullet proof. It was in this Lincoln that Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the Texas governor and his wife sat in on November 22, 1963, when three shots fired from a book depository ended the President's life.
Surprisingly, the Lincoln was kept in service another eight years after the Kennedy's death. After the assassination, a company called Hess & Eisenhardt added reinforcements and safety measures that were missing when Kennedy rode in the car. The Lincoln was outfitted with titanium armor plating, bullet-resistant glass, and a permanent bulletproof roof. The Lincoln was also painted black by incoming president Lyndon Johnson, who thought the original navy blue paint would be too reminiscent of the assassination. In 1967 the presidential limo was replaced, but the 1961 Lincoln was kept in the fleet, doing less important duties until it retired to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., in 1978. The car is still on display there and is rumored to be haunted.
John Lennon's First Car: 1965 Ferrari 330GT CoupeJohn Lennon made headlines across Britain when he passed his driving test at the age of 25, the same month The Beatles recorded Ticket to Ride, one of their biggest hits. Within hours of the news breaking that Lennon now had his own ticket to ride, luxury car dealers brought their products directly to Lennon's front door. From an impressive array of Maseratis, Jaguars and Aston Martins Lennon chose a Ferrari 300GT 2+2 Coupe in Azzuro blue.
In the late 1980s the Ferrari was sold, repainted and divorced from its famous license plate number. It was recently restored to its original specifications. Lennon's Ferrari will be sold at auction later this month by the Bonhams auction house, with a starting price of $270,000.
AJ Cowling's White Ford BroncoOn June 17, 1994 all of America watched as O.J. Simpson led the Los Angeles Police Department in an hour-long low speed chase around the city. Simpson had missed the LAPD deadline for turning himself in on charges of the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The Bronco actually belonged to and was driven by Al Cowling, Simpson's childhood friend. Simpson was eventually acquitted of the murder charges, but is now in jail in Nevada on a separate charge.
Simpson's legal outcomes are well known to the public, but what about the infamous Ford Bronco? Cowling's Bronco was bought for $75,000, nearly twice the original value, by collector Michael Pulwer. In 2006, Simpson attempted to sell the Bronco at a used-car lot as a bit in a pay-per-view candid-camera prank show. The current owner of the car is not known, but the Bronco is available as a rental for parties and events.
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