There were many cars over the course of the 1920’s through to the 1990’s that caught our eye, but we wanted to zone in on the 5 biggest cars that were used by some of the most notorious mobsters of the last century.
We look at getaway cars, to movie cars, right the way through to the elite cars that were spotted during the Great Depression.
#1 Ford Model 18 V8
The Ford Model 18 V8 takes center stage here, built between 1932 and 1934.
The Model 18 was the world’s first accessibly priced V8, and was introduced by Ford back in 1932. It quickly became related to the Mafia, and bank robbers of the 1930’s. The Ford Model 18 was the ultimate in innovation and sported that iconic flat-head design, along with superior power. This power would often make the Model 18 a great getaway car for the likes of John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie and Clyde.
#2 Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental comes in at 2, and the version of the car you are seeing on your screens now was the Mark III-VIII and often seen on the streets of New York from 1969 up to 1998.
If you are like Carlo Gambino, you like to keep a low profile apart from a flashy ‘CG 1’ number plate that gave everyone that little shred of evidence he was wealthy and powerful. However for some mobsters, they say what’s the point of being a successful criminal if you can’t flaunt your wealth?
This Lincoln lasted four decades as part of the American Mafia, and you can see why by just looking at it. It’s menacing, it has prowess, and it gets heads turning!
The likes of Paul Castellano travelled in Lincoln Continentals, and Richard “the iceman” Kuklinski spoke about travelling butt naked in one after carrying out a hit.
There was also the famous 1941 Lincoln Continental which featured in the film the Godfather, and in particular the scene where Sonny Corleone was hit by Tommygun spray at the Jones Beach Causeway tolbooth on Long Island.
#3 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan
Made famous by Scarface, Al Capone. The Cadillac Town Sedan, sported 90 brake horsepower which was classed in 1928 as powerful believe it or not.
Capone’s car was heavily customized though, with inch thick glass, and wrapped in steel armor. The car ended up weighing in at 9,000 pounds. Hard to believe it got going at all with that kind of load. Maybe that’s why the caddie was painted in green and black to match Chicago police cars of the time, it certainly helped it blend in.
You can also see that the back window dropped down in Capone’s sedan, I guess this helped his fellow mob passengers stick their guns out of the window and fend off any cars in pursuit. The side windows were also said to contain holes so that his bodyguards could shoot out from the sides without any issues. Nice addition.
#4 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost is our number 4, and was manufactured between 1907 and 1926.
The Rolls Royce was a car in its own league, even today its a car associated with the wealthy, so back in the early part of the 20th century you can imagine how much of a big deal this was.
This was a luxury car that peaked in the Prohibition era of America and the roaring twenties, costing $14,000 at the time.
#5 Jaguar MK
Finally in at 5, is the British made Jaguar MK makes it into our top 5. This series of Jaguar was built between 1951 and 1960.
The Jag MK was a sporty model, they were fast, they were loud, and they were powerful, so it makes sense that they were the preferred car of choice for British mobsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray during the 50’s.
Other Notable Mentions
There are of course, other cars that we could go on to talk about here that didn’t quite make it into the top 5 for us, such as the 1929 Buick.
The Buick was a 4 door sedan and was mainly used as a social commuting car rather than a getaway car or luxury car. You would often see these style of cars take people to and from Church on Sundays, rather than seeing them as part of gang warefare on the streets.
You also have the Mercedes 260D from 1936, which also had a very daunting presence that would make it the perfect Mafia car. This car initially rose to fame in Germany, and it was better known as the ‘Death Mobile‘ rather than the first diesel passenger car.
It got this name because the SS and Gestapo used them for sinister reasons.
When you saw one of these in the area trouble was not far away.