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How much would you pay for Al Capone’s bulletproof 1928 Cadillac?

The celebrated American gangster’s armoured car has Canadian connections

Published: January 29, 2020, 11:40 AM
Updated: February 6, 2020, 3:36 AM

Bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 "Al Capone" Town Sedan - Al Capone's bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan - Photo by Theo Civitello ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions

Al Capone was arguably the most celebrated gangster of the Prohibition era and the shootouts in which he and his gang were involved are legend. No surprise, then, that he favoured bulletproof vehicles for getting around the streets of Chicago.

At least one and possibly two armoured 1930 Cadillac V-16s were reported among his assets upon his arrest in 1931, before he was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. But an earlier Capone Cadillac, a 1928 Series 341-A V-8 Town Sedan, remained overlooked, parked inconspicuously in a Chicago garage.

Bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 "Al Capone" Town Sedan - Al Capone's bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan - Photo by Theo Civitello ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions

That car was armoured with asbestos-wrapped, quarter-inch boiler plate all around, as well as beneath the soft top, and its windows were one-inch-thick bulletproof glass. The side windows reportedly opened just far enough for a Thompson submachine gun to protrude and the rear window was hinged, to allow firing behind.

Bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 "Al Capone" Town Sedan - Al Capone's bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan - Photo by Theo Civitello ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions

Capone had the Cadillac painted green and black to match the police cars of the day and a police siren was added under the hood to help clear traffic.

South-side Chicago Cadillac dealer, Emil Denemark, who was said to have close connections with the mob, sold the car after Capone’s arrest, setting it forth on a lifetime of display as the notorious gangster’s car in carnival sideshows and museums on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 "Al Capone" Town Sedan - Al Capone's bulletproof 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan - Photo by Theo Civitello ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions

After spending several years in England, it was purchased by a Canadian in 1958 and substantially restored, albeit without all the armour-plate. It spent the 1960s and most of the 1970s in two different museums in Niagara Falls, Ontario, before being sold to another museum in Tennessee in 1979.

After changing hands a couple more times, the thoroughly-documented car was sold once more, at a 2012 RM auction, for $341,000 (US). Now it’s offered for sale again, by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas, with an advertised price tag of $1,000,000 (US) – said to be negotiable with a $20,000 deposit.

Is it worth a million bucks? Like anything else, it’s worth however much someone will pay for it.