Al Capones car gets FDR to Capitol Hill for Day of Infamy speech

Al Capones car gets FDR to Capitol Hill for Day of Infamy speech

With all the chaos after Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941, few people were thinking about what kind of car President Franklin Roosevelt should ride in the next day to make his Day of Infamy speech. But the Secret Service was. How could they transport him safely from the White House to Capitol Hill? After all, who knew, with World War II then looming, if another attack on America was in the offing, this time on Washington and maybe the president? But Federal law banned the purchase of any car costing more than $750.

A Secret Service agent remembered that the U.S. Treasury had seized Al Capones bulletproof getaway car when the gangster went to prison in 1931. Mechanics worked through the night cleaning it up and making sure everything was working properly for the president.

The result was unprecedented and spectacular as it was remarkably ironic. Capones 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan was painted black and green to match the Chicago police fleet with which the gangster regularly interacted. It had a siren, flashing lights and police scanner. The car also featured 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thick bulletproof windows. The presidents safety was pretty much assured (at least from would-be assassins).

The car sold at auction in 2012 for $341,000.

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