MICHIGAN HISTORY: Bonnie & Clyde’s Michigan Connection
Notorious gangsters Bonnie & Clyde were fans of Detroit's Henry Ford?
Maybe not necessarily of Ford himself, but of his vehicles.
Back on April 13, 1934, a letter that was supposedly hand-written by Clyde Barrow was received by Henry Ford in Detroit. In the letter, Clyde was remarking how he was impressed with the Ford V-8.
The letter (with all misspelling and bad grammar included) read:
"While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasen’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8".
And was signed "Yours truly Clyde Champion Barrow". Clyde's actual middle name was 'Chestnut' but he gave himself the middle name 'Champion' when he became an inmate at the Texas State Prison in 1930.
Ironically, the Ford V-8 was the actual car that Clyde was driving (stolen!) when he and Bonnie were ambushed and gunned down in Louisiana on May 23, just a few weeks after Ford received the letter. They were killed by six officers: four from Texas and two from Louisiana. Over 130 rounds entered the bodies of Bonnie & Clyde, even though it's speculated the first shots did the job.
After all these years, historians wonder if it was actually Clyde who wrote the letter. His lack of education would account for the bad spelling, but some say the writing looks more like Bonnie's. A few think it was written by a prankster. The letter is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn in the Research Library reading room next to the Benson Ford Research Center.
In the photos below, see the actual site in Louisiana where Bonnie & Clyde were gunned down in 1934.
Shot down in a Michigan-made car.
Go see the actual letter at the Henry Ford Museum and then walk around Greenfield Village!