Bullet-proof vest recovered from Clyde Barrow's 1934 Ford V8 Deluxe 'death car' by Charles W. Stanley, the 'Crime Doctor,' a carnival operator who purchased the 'Bonnie and Clyde Death Car' and exhibited the bullet-riddled vehicle nationwide. The front of the vest is a typical four-pocket navy blue vest, and the back is reinforced with steel plates, with the manufacturer's tag reading: "Dunrite Bullet Proof Vest, Mfd by The Detective Pub. Co., Chicago." Includes a second, rectangular panel reinforced with steel plates sewn inside and snap attachments on one end, which has a bullet hole on the edge. In overall fine condition, with some tears to the fabric and other general wear.
Accompanied by an affidavit signed by Charles W. Stanley, in part: "In 1934, after Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a stolen Ford V8 near Gibsland, Louisiana, I bought the car in which they were ambushed. This car is a 1934 Ford V8 Deluxe, four-door sedan, with a 'potter's trunk' and is a light tan color, known for Ford dealers as 'Cordoba grey'…In 1936, I was showing this car in a Ford dealer showroom at Gallatin, Texas, when a spectator threw a lighted cigarette inside the car and set fire to the upholstery and headliner. The fire was quickly extinguished with damage only to the seats and headliner. It was, however, at this time that I discovered between the headliner and the roof of the car, a steel vest, commonly called a 'bullet-proof' vest, wrapped in a Beaumont, Texas, newspaper. All indications are that Barrow had stolen this vest from a Federal armory, thought I do not know whether it was at Fort Worth, Texas (September, 1932), Springfield, Missouri (March-April, 1933), or Enid, Oklahoma (July, 1933), or at some other armory."
Stanley sold the bullet-proof vest to Joe Pinkston of the John Dillinger Historical Museum, who later sold it to noted collector David Gainsborough Roberts. Includes correspondence from Pinkston to Roberts concerning the vest and detailing how he acquired it from Stanley. From the collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.