John Dillinger's getaway car in Richmond, Virginia

Treats for the Mind - Museums & Exhibitions

Lock up your wallets! Infamous gangster John Dillinger’s getaway car is “hiding” in the Greater Richmond Convention Center

John Dillinger 1933 Essex TerraplanexRICHMOND, VA – Notorious Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger is no longer on the loose, but his 1933 Essex Terraplane getaway car is still on the road during this 77th anniversary of the infamous outlaw's death. After departing Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), where it resided for 18 months, the car is now on display in the 3rd Street corridor of the Exhibit Hall Building at the Greater Richmond Convention Center next to the Visitor Center. The car, valued at about $150,000, is on loan from the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, D.C. The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, the museum that is loaning the car to Richmond, provides guests of all ages with insight into the issues of crime, crime fighting, and the consequences of committing a crime in America through interactive, entertaining and educational experiences. 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 Dillinger's 1933 Essex Terraplane getaway car was displayed there from 2008 until early 2010.

“The Dillinger car display is a treat for convention attendees and other visitors to the Richmond Region Visitor Center,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Guests to the Richmond Region can gather information from the Visitor Center and also learn about an exciting time in American history. We invite area residents to join in the fun and come to the Convention Center to see the car and the accompanying historical information.”

“Whether visitors are here for a convention, meeting, wedding or any other type of event, they’ll enjoy this relic from a tumultuous time in our nation’s history,” said Michael Meyers, general manager of the Greater Richmond Convention Center for private management firm Global Spectrum. “We are excited about the opportunity to offer Convention Center guests and Richmond Region residents a chance to see the John Dillinger car up close and personal throughout the next year.”

Dillinger was an infamous bank robber during the early years of the Great Depression. His criminal activities and the hunt for 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, Minnesota, 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 police 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 Convention Center until late 2012.


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