Al Capone's armored 1928 Cadillac hits the auction block
Would you like to own a piece of American history? Well, here’s your chance. An armored 1928 Cadillac V8 Town Sedan previously owned by Al Capone will soon be up for grabs at the RM Auctions St. John’s event in Michigan on July 28. Capone reportedly owned the vehicle up 1932 when he was imprisoned for tax evasion charges. Since then, the Chicago mobster’s Cadillac has spent several stints in museums and toured the country in numerous traveling shows.
As its name suggests, the Capone-owned Cadillac possesses a V8 engine, which delivers 90 bhp to the rear wheels courtesy of a three-speed manual transmission. The car also features four-wheel mechanical drum brakes and a 140” wheelbase.
The current car is painted green just as it was when Capone originally drove it. Capone chose the color green to mimic the city police cars of the day. Additionally, Capone outfitted the sedan with a siren and a driver’s side mounted searchlight. The primary difference between Capone’s customized ride and 1920s police cars is that the gangster equipped his with 3,000 pounds of bulletproof asbestos-wrapped steel plates with lead inserts and one-inch thick glass.
Although the car has been restored several times throughout the years, it is mostly in as-new condition. The only significant alteration is that new glass has been installed and much of the vehicle’s plating has been detached. That said, the vehicle still contains a secret rear window compartment where riffles can be stored.
RM Auctions has established a continuous history for the car dating back to 1932 and has determined it to be one of the first armored cars. The auction house estimates that the car will take in between $300,000 and $500,000.
Interestingly, the infamous mobster vehicle was used as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s limousine. Capone’s armored vehicle was actually used to transport Roosevelt from the White House to Capitol Hill on December 7, 1941, in the hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the surprise attack on American soil, the Secret Service was faced with the predicament of how to safely transport the President. Although Roosevelt had a personal limousine, it was not bulletproof. Therefore, Capone’s former vehicle came in handy. Luckily for the Secret Service, Capone’s car had been sitting in the Treasury Department parking lot since 1932. If it were not for Capone’s 1928 Cadillac, Roosevelt may have not delivered his now famous speech, which took place on December 8. Upon being told where the car came from Roosevelt replied, “I hope Mr. Capone won’t mind.”