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The Infamous Bonnie and Clyde Loved Ford V8s

The Infamous Bonnie and Clyde Loved Ford V8s

Clyde Barrow, along with his partner Bonnie Parker, is easily one of the most notorious outlaws of the Public Enemy Era in the early 30’s. Modern day pirates like Barrow roamed the United States taking what they could and getting away before the authorities could catch them. Clyde attributed his good luck getting away to one thing, the Ford Flathead V8.


Their getaway car was a 1934 Ford with the 221 cubic-inch Flathead 21-stud V-8. Clyde wrote Henry Ford a letter telling him how much he liked the Ford and how they had a great car with that Flathead V8. The 2 extra cylinders over the Chevrolet did the job for Clyde in many getaways, so we can’t blame him for his love of the Ford V8. Here is what the letter said and a picture of it below.

     Mr. Henry Ford

     Detroit, Mich.

Dear Sir:
     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.

Yours truly
Clyde Champion Barrow



What do you think Clyde would think of the Ford’s today? The modest 75 horsepower output of the 221 Flathead V8 is nothing compared to the new Voodoo flat-plane crank V8 sitting under the Shelby GT350‘s hood. 526 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. The new Voodoo V8 puts out SEVEN times the horsepower. The compression ratio is 12.0:1, compared to the Flatheads 6.33:1. The rev limit is 8,250 while the Flathead was dangerous to get near 4,000. With twice the compression, twice the rev range and seven times the power, what would Clyde think about the latest from Ford. I think he would have hand delivered this letter to Henry Ford if that was the case.


Here are some photos of the ’34 Ford that they were ambushed and shot down in by six police officers when they resisted arrest. The car was owned by Ruth & Jesse Warren of Topeka, Kansas until Bonnie and Clyde decided that it should be theirs. A month later is when they had their last run in with the law in the car. The bullet-ridden car has traveled all over, but is now on display at the Whiskey Pete’s casino in Primm, Nevada, just south of Vegas on the California-Nevada border.


Check out this video about Clyde’s relationship with the Ford V8!

Check out this trike with a Flathead V8!


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