John Dillinger’s 1933 Essex Terraplane has hit the road yet again. The infamous car whose permanent home is at the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C., left the Richmond Convention Center after a 24-month stay and has just arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND).
“IND passengers, visitors, and employees will find this well-preserved relic used by an infamous member of Indiana’s past a fascinating exhibit,” said Bob Duncan, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. “This vintage automobile is a living piece of a story that once gripped the nation and that intersects with our local history as well.”
Dillinger was an infamous bank robber during the early years of the Great Depression. His criminal activities and the pursuit leading to his arrest not only captivated the country through sensationalist media, but also led to the formal creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Dillinger purchased the Essex in March 1934 from the Potthoff Brothers Motor Company in St. Paul, Minn., and used it until April 7, 1934 when he and his brother, Hubert, crashed the car in a farm field.
On March 31, 1934 at Lincoln Court Apartments in St. Paul, Dillinger and his girlfriend, Evelyn Frechette, escaped a shootout with the police. Dillinger took a bullet in his left leg and two slugs can still be seen from the front cowl panel of the Essex.
Dillinger was finally caught and killed by law enforcement officers at a theater in Chicago in July 1934. In 2009, actor Johnny Depp immortalized Dillinger in the Universal movie, Public Enemies.
The getaway car will remain on display at the airport until March 2015.
About the Crime Museum
The Crime Museum’s mission is to provide guests of all ages with a memorable insight into the issues of crime, crime fighting, and the consequences of committing a crime in America through a captivating interactive, entertaining and educational experience. The museum is located on 7th Street NW between E and F Streets in downtown Washington, D.C. at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro (Arena exit). For more information, visit www.crimemuseum.org.