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Iconic gangster's ride for sale

2012-07-12 11:03

CLASSIC GANGSTER RIDE ON SALE: Al Capone's armoured Cadillac is up for grabs with bidding starting at R4.1-million.

Notorious US gangster Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone earned millions in bootlegging liquor during the 1920's prohibition period. Due to his underhanded dealings and notorious nature of making rivals "disappear", he naturally gained an enemy or two.

To this end the leader of the Chicago Outfit (part of the US Mafia) needed a ride to protect him from rivals - and chose an armoured Cadillac.

In 2012 the iconic 1928 5.5 V8 Cadillac Town Sedan, capable of 67kW/280Nm, is up for auction and as befits its high-rolling status bidding is expectd to start at around R4-million.


The classic ride was fitted with 1300kg of steel plate and painted green with black fenders to mimic a police car, complete with flashing lights, siren and police-band radio.

The vehicle had bulletproof windows which also sported firing holes for Tommy guns to "hose" victims. The rear window could be dropped to allow Capone's henchman to fire on pursuers.

Capone was eventually jailed for tax evasion but his 84-year-old rolled on to become a classic and is, ironically, exempt from tax.

The Cadillac later belonged to US car enthusiast John O'Quinn who died in 2011 in a car crash and is now being sold as part of his estate by RM auctions in California from which a spokesma said: "This is widely considered as one of the most historically significant pre-war American cars. It is liveried in green with black fenders to copy Cadillacs supplied to the Chicago police and city officials at the time.


Auctioneers discovered that Richard Capstran's (92) mechanic father fitted the armour to Capone's ride. Capstran explained said: "My dad said 'We don't do that kind of work here,' and they said 'you do now'."

He said Capone turned up to pay the bill himself and even gave the then 10-year-old Capstran a $10 note, which would've been a small fortune to a young boy at the time.

RM Auctions said: "It's one of the earliest surviving 'bulletproof' cars and was fitted new with heavy glass measuring nearly an inch thick and completely lined with 1300kg of steel armour-plating.

"It has undergone restoration and is a fabulous piece of history."

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