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DIY Death Car Possible for Bonnie and Clyde

The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, has lost its Bonnie and Clyde “death car” that was shot up in the 1967 Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway movie. Owner Ken Holmes leased the car to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, DC, where it will be an attraction for years to come.

Death car.“We literally built the museum around the car,” said NMCP chief operating officer Janine Vaccarello, explaining that the Museum had to knock out a wall and hoist the car in with a crane. “It’s not going anywhere,” she said. Ken Holmes recounted the deal for us: ” I kept telling them no and no and no and their offer kept going up and up and up. I just had to do it. It’s making more money for us up there than it would be sitting in our museum.”

Holmes said that the space formerly occupied by the car in the Gibsland museum would be filled with new exhibits such as the brooch that Bonnie was wearing when she was killed. But he recognizes that a death car is an important exhibit, and told us that he was pursuing several options to replace it:

  • The man who owns the fake Bonnie and Clyde death car formerly exhibited at the Tragedy in U.S. History Museum wants to sell it, but Holmes is leery. “He’s had it in his barn ever since he bought it, so it’s even in worse shape than it was before.”
  • Holmes has found another fake death car that does interest him (there are, by his estimate, seven fake Bonnie and Clyde death cars floating around). This one was “put together right next to the real one,” making it an especially good copy. But it has no engine, which would make it useless for the annual Bonnie and Clyde massacre recreation held every year at the Gibsland massacre site.
  • The most intriguing option available to Holmes is a DIY death car. He is thinking of buying a 1934 Ford, “taking it out to the death site, and letting people line up and shoot holes back in it. Do it as a fundraiser. I probably could get permission from the sheriff.”
  • A fourth option, buying the REAL Bonnie and Clyde death car, is beyond Holmes’ budget. It’s currently on display at the Primm Valley Resort Casino in Nevada, and even the National Museum of Crime and Punishment — which has very deep pockets — couldn’t pry it loose. “And it’s pretty beat up,” added Janine Vaccarello.

In other news, the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum still has for sale a few swatches of Clyde Barrow’s death pants. Ken Holmes notes, however, that “we’re runnin’ low.”

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The Crime Museum

Downtown, just north of the Mall. From New York Ave. or Constitution Ave. turn onto 7th St. NW. The Museum is at #575, between E and F Sts.
Closed Sep. 30, 2015. (Call to verify)

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