Flashbacks of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow  were well-known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression.  Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1934.

Though known today for his dozen-or-so bank robberies, Barrow in fact preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations.  The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and committed several civilian murders. The couple themselves were eventually ambushed and killed in Louisiana by law officers. Their reputation was cemented in American pop folklore by Arthur Penn’s 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes Bonnie and Clyde and the cash-strapped period of the Great Depression and why they became national American icons:

“Through the decades, many cultural historians have analyzed Bonnie’s and Clyde’s enduring appeal to the public imagination. E.R. Milner, an historian, writer, and expert on Bonnie and Clyde and their era, put the duo’s enduring appeal to the public, both during the Depression and continuing on through the decades, into historical and cultural perspective. To those people who, as Milner says, ‘consider themselves outsiders, or oppose the existing system,’ Bonnie and Clyde represent the ultimate outsiders, revolting against an uncaring system.

‘The country’s money simple declined by 38 percent, explains Milner, author of The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde. ‘Gaunt, dazed men roamed the city streets seeking jobs… Breadlines and soup kitchens became jammed. (In rural areas) foreclosures forced more than 38 percent of farmers from their lands (while simultaneously) a catastrophic drought struck the Great Plains… By the time Bonnie and Clyde became well known, many had felt the capitalistic system had been abused by big business and government officials… Now here were Bonnie and Clyde striking back’.”

The death car Bonnie & Clyde used when they were shot to death was a 1934 Ford model Deluxe Sedan with a V8 engine.  Its original price was $835 and earlier owned by Ruth Warren.  The car’s original license plate was Kansas 3-17832.  The custom color was Cordoba Grey.

Below is a similar car used by these bandits of the Great Depression which captured the hearts of a nation, even though they acted outside the law.

Snapshot of an antique automobile displayed at a car show at the Calzada de Amador in Panama City, Panama. The car has a similar appearance to the vehicle used by Bonnie & Clyde during the Great Depression. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

2 thoughts on “Flashbacks of Bonnie and Clyde”

  1. We got to see the Bonnie & Clyde car, sort of. It was the prop car used in the movie. The Planet Hollywood had one of its displays setup like the shoot out including the prop car. It looked more like a window screen than a car with so many bullet holes. They both had to be shot many times.
    I like the one in your photograph much better!
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  2. Hi Jim & Nena:

    I saw a photograph of the bullet-riddled Ford “Death Car”. Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed just outside Gibsland, Louisiana, on May 23, 1934. They did not get out of their car, which was raked by 187 shells. Clyde had been driving in his socks, and Bonnie had a sandwich in her mouth.

    I agree. My pictures depict a more “sanitized” automobile. 🙂

    Take Care,


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