On this day in 1934 outlaws Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut “Champion” Barrow were shot to death in a police ambush while driving a stolen 1934 Ford V8 in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The two had met in January 1930 at a mutual friend’s house and Bonnie was quickly smitten over Clyde. While she was married, her husband was also in and out of jail. Those two never crossed paths again after the fateful meeting of Bonnie and Clyde.
Clyde had a lengthy criminal history prior to meeting Bonnie. He had been arrested for stealing cars, cracking safes, and robberies of various businesses. While in jail he killed a fellow inmate for sexually harassing him, his first murder. Over the course of four years numerous others joined the Bonnie & Clyde gang, including Clyde’s brother Buck, and his young friend, W.D. Jones, who was 16 when he first got involved.
The gang is suspected of at least 13 murders, including nine lawmen. While they were a violent gang, they were often sought for crimes relating to automobile theft. This was because Clyde fancied the new Ford V8s, as they were extremely quick compared to most other vehicles on the road. Clyde went so far as to write Henry Ford a letter the month before he died. In it he writes, “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.” Please note the spelling mistakes are Barrow’s. The original is shown below.