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Article By Austin Coop
AL CAPONE & FDR's CADILLAC
MYTH-TRUTH
Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac may be one of the first armored cars ever made, and as the rumor goes, it was quite the handy car to have in the FBI impound lot after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor… The Secret Service needed a secure car to shuttle President Roosevelt around in, and Capone’s car already had the armor they wanted. Pretty awesome story, right? Well, let’s talk about whether the car really was Al Capone’s, and even further, if President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever set a single foot inside…
The car most commonly thought to have been shared by the gangster and the president is a green, four-door 1928 Cadillac Model 341. The car featured bulletproof glass nearly an inch thick and steel plating in the door panels until the panels were removed in the 50s or 60s during a restoration. When the car was sold in 2012 for $341,000, the documentation of its past owners only went back to 1933, but RM Auctions said, “the provenance of the ‘Al Capone’ armored Cadillac has never been questioned.”
The car most commonly thought to have been shared by the gangster and the president is a green, four-door 1928 Cadillac Model 341. The car featured bulletproof glass nearly an inch thick and steel plating in the door panels until the panels were removed in the 50s or 60s during a restoration. When the car was sold in 2012 for $341,000, the documentation of its past owners only went back to 1933, but RM Auctions said, “the provenance of the ‘Al Capone’ armored Cadillac has never been questioned.”
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RM Auctions
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The car has criss-crossed the ocean, spending time in England as well as the Niagara Falls Antique Auto Museum, the Cars of the Greats museum, and more, but it’s time (supposedly) spent with President Franklin D. Roosevelt is what has made this car so legendary…
The legend started when one of FDR’s Secret Service men, Michael F. Reilly, decided to share his memoirs for a couple books in the 40s and 50s. According to Reilly, he first picked up FDR in the Capone car on December 9th, 1941, a day after he asked congress to declare war on Japan. He claims to have arranged the use of the car for the president, even going as far as to say he didn’t like the car because of its open top, perplexing given the fact the car was not, in fact, an open-top car. From Reilly’s statements the legend only grew…
The legend started when one of FDR’s Secret Service men, Michael F. Reilly, decided to share his memoirs for a couple books in the 40s and 50s. According to Reilly, he first picked up FDR in the Capone car on December 9th, 1941, a day after he asked congress to declare war on Japan. He claims to have arranged the use of the car for the president, even going as far as to say he didn’t like the car because of its open top, perplexing given the fact the car was not, in fact, an open-top car. From Reilly’s statements the legend only grew…

Even reputable news sources like CBShave reported on a rumor that, these days, goes something like this:
Hours after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Secret Service found themselves in a bind. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was to give his Day of Infamy speech to Congress on Tuesday, and although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents were not sure how to transport him safely. At the time, Federal Law prohibited buying any cars that cost more than $750, so they would have to get clearance from Congress to do that, and nobody had time for that.
One of the Secret Service members, however, discovered that the US Treasury had seized the bulletproof car that mobster Al Capone owned when he was sent to jail in 1931. They cleaned it, made sure it was running fine and had it ready for the President the day after.
And run properly it did. Capone's car was a sight to behold. It had been painted black and green so as to look identical to Chicago's police cars at the time. It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grille, along with a police scanner radio.
To top it off, the gangsters 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thick bulletproof windows. Mechanics are said to have cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night of December 7th to make sure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander in Chief. 
Wow. What a story! Commander in Chief riding around in the ultimate gangster’s car! Too bad it’s not true. As we know from extensive documentation from RM Auctions and an Al Capone historian, the car most likely wasn’t even in the states, but still in England, where it remained until being sold and shipped to Canada in the late 1950s. The photos from FDR's trip to the United States Capitol for his "infamy" speech are also devoid of the 1928 Caddy...
The legend started when one of FDR’s Secret Service men, Michael F. Reilly, decided to share his memoirs for a couple books in the 40s and 50s. According to Reilly, he first picked up FDR in the Capone car on December 9th, 1941, a day after he asked congress to declare war on Japan. He claims to have arranged the use of the car for the president, even going as far as to say he didn’t like the car because of its open top, perplexing given the fact the car was not, in fact, an open-top car. From Reilly’s statements the legend only grew…

Even reputable news sources like CBShave reported on a rumor that, these days, goes something like this:
Hours after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Secret Service found themselves in a bind. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was to give his Day of Infamy speech to Congress on Tuesday, and although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents were not sure how to transport him safely. At the time, Federal Law prohibited buying any cars that cost more than $750, so they would have to get clearance from Congress to do that, and nobody had time for that.
One of the Secret Service members, however, discovered that the US Treasury had seized the bulletproof car that mobster Al Capone owned when he was sent to jail in 1931. They cleaned it, made sure it was running fine and had it ready for the President the day after.
And run properly it did. Capone's car was a sight to behold. It had been painted black and green so as to look identical to Chicago's police cars at the time. It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grille, along with a police scanner radio.
To top it off, the gangsters 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thick bulletproof windows. Mechanics are said to have cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night of December 7th to make sure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander in Chief. 
Wow. What a story! Commander in Chief riding around in the ultimate gangster’s car! Too bad it’s not true. As we know from extensive documentation from RM Auctions and an Al Capone historian, the car most likely wasn’t even in the states, but still in England, where it remained until being sold and shipped to Canada in the late 1950s. The photos from FDR's trip to the United States Capitol for his "infamy" speech are also devoid of the matter
 
With a solid history of ownership since 1933, there’s no doubt Al Capone’s armored Caddy was not used by FDR. Ever. The president did get his own armored car, however, the "Sunshine Special." The custom 1939 Lincoln V12 is now on display at The Henry Ford museum
#VIntage #Cadillac #gangster #OLd

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