Saturday, July 28, 2012

Uh-oh ... Roosevelt didn't ride in the Capone car

Uh-oh. Ever heard the story about President Franklin Roosevelt using former crime boss Al Capone's armored car, which reportedly had been seized by the Internal Revenue Service upon Capone's conviction, to move around Washington when security concerns became a big issue as World War II began? The History Insider noted this supposedly well-documented item in a December 2011 entry, but new research suggests that the story is only that -- a story. In other words, it's bogus. False. Myth.

The car in question -- a 1928 Cadillac town car -- is being sold this weekend through RM Auctions. And research noted by RM suggests that the U.S. government never possessed the car, and might not have known that it existed. Instead, it appears that one of Capone's associates sold it in 1932 to a couple who worked for a traveling carnival. Their plan to make money by showing the car to through the carnival never paid off, and they sold it about a year later to someone else, who took it to England, where it was displayed. The car was sold and resold privately several times, and ended up back in the the mid-1960s, where it's been since.

Think you might want to bid on it this weekend? That'll set you back an estimated $300,000 to $500,000, according to the auction house's announcement.

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