Dillinger’s getaway car sells for $165,000
A 1930 Ford Model A used by bank robber John Dillinger to evade federal agents sold at auction Saturday for $165,000.
The car, sold at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., had a cameo role in the 2009 movie “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp.
This car was used in Dillinger’s 1934 escape from the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis. Dillinger and his gang had been staying at the lakeside resort when the proprietor tipped off the FBI.
A team of agents attempted to surround the house, but Dillinger and his partners Homer Van Meter and John “Red” Hamilton escaped to a nearby house where they found the Model A and forced its owner to drive them to safety.
Later, the car caught the attention of police and Hamilton was fatally wounded in a gun fight. The car still bears a bullet hole and the stains of Hamilton’s blood.
Dillinger later ditched the car in Chicago, stealing a 1934 Ford V8 in its place. (Dillinger was known to prefer Ford’s then-new V8 cars for their speed.)
The car was eventually returned to its original owner, who left it parked in his garage, figuring it wasn’t worth repairing. A subsequent owner, who purchased the car 30 years later for $1,400, also left it untouched.
Temporary cosmetic repairs were done to the car in 2007 for the movie. The identity of the winning bidder was not immediately known. The price paid for the car includes a 10% “buyer’s premium” added on to the $150,000 final bid price.
In general, Model A Fords are not particularly rare or valuable, even today. The ordinary market value of a 1930 Model A coupe with a rumble seat is about $13,000, according to appraisal Web site Nadaguides.com.
“I have to admit, this is a surprising price for a model A, regardless of ownership,” said McKeel Hagerty, president of the collector car insurance company Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty Insurance is a sponsor of Speed TV’s live broadcast of the Barrett-Jackson event.