death car cutie

A google search for “death car” brings up some strange stories. China made headlines in 2006 with this:

image found here

Zhang Shiqiang, known as the Nine-Fingered Devil, first tasted justice at 13. His father caught him stealing and cut off one of Zhang’s fingers. Twenty-five years later, Zhang met retribution once more, after his conviction for double murder. He was put to death in China’s new fleet of mobile execution chambers that dispense capital punishment from specially equipped “death vans” that shuttle from town to town.

Makers of the vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights,” says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Automobile death van in which “Devil” Zhang took his final ride.

image found here

Along with the death vans, the company also makes bulletproof limousines for the country’s rich and armored trucks for banks.  “I’m most proud of the bed. It’s very humane, like an ambulance,” Kang says. He points to the power-driven metal stretcher that glides out at an incline. “It’s too brutal to haul a person aboard,” he says. “This makes it convenient for the criminal and the guards.”

The next result from Google took me here:

When Mrs. Ruth Warren arrived to claim her stolen car (after Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed in it), Sheriff Henderson Jordan refused to release it claiming that she would have to pay $15,000 to get it back. She had to hire an attorney to represent her before a Federal Judge who threatened to send the sheriff to jail, if he did not return the car to Mrs. Warren.

Bonnie and Clyde found here

The Death Car, recently displayed at “Terrible’s Casino” in Osceola, Iowa in August of 2007 is currently being displayed at Terrible’s St. Jo Frontier Casino in Saint Joseph Missouri. At the time of his death, Clyde Barrow was wearing a light blue western style shirt. It sold at auction for $85,000. A one inch swatch of the dark blue trousers he was wearing, can be purchased by you, and you need not mortgage your home to own this tangible piece of clothing.


image found here (click to enlarge)

And then there’s this article about Buckminster Fuller’s “charming death car”

Obsessed with sustainability, beloved futurist (and architect, designer, inventor, and all-around visionary) Buckminster Fuller spent his career dreaming of a Utopian future. He drafted plans and built prototypes of devices  that would fulfill his dreams, and two of them are on view at an installation going up in the Miami Design District’s pedestrian plaza.

Putting today’s Prius to shame, will be the Dymaxion 4 car, lovingly reconstructed by Norman Foster for a double dose of starchitectural magic. Fuller’s three-wheeler vehicle, which he intended to eventually give flight with jet engines, had a fuel efficiency far ahead of its time at 30 miles per gallon, while its aerodynamically efficient teardrop shape and rear-mounted Ford V-8 engine brought it to 120 miles per hour. With seating for 11, it would have been perfect for family road trips (had the safety precautions been more finely tuned — it unfortunately turned over and killed its driver at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair).

image found here

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45 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’d be nervous ordering a bulletproof limo from a company that also made death vans. What if they sent the wrong one?

    • I’d check their return policy carefully first

  2. Its quite ugly though.

    • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

  3. Dymaxion 4 looks like a time capsule 🙂

  4. Seems like every car in Miami is a potential death car with these suicidal drivers.

    • I watched an interesting documentary about Miami a couple of nights ago. Not somewhere I’d have wanted to visit in the 70s and 80s

  5. Talk about daddy issues! My dad was negligent but at least he let me keep all my fingers. Having my father chop my finger off wouldn’t have inspired me to commit more crime. Just seek some therapy, perhaps.

    • Or run away from home at a very early age

  6. Now if you’d Googled Death Proof, you’d have come up with the very wonderful Quentin Tarrantino. I’ve long been a fan of the Dymaxion, although I’m not sure I’d want to drive it..

    • I’ve seen that movie. and liked it too.

  7. i am intrigued at what random neuron fired off in your brain or what dream you had that caused you to google “death car” in the first place.

    • I’d read about the sheriff who wanted money to release the Bonnie and Clyde car. It wasn’t enough to hang a whole post on but I thought if I googled “death car” something else might turn up. Now you know how my mind works 🙂

  8. The design of the Dymaxion was later used by Oscar Meyer as the basis for the Weinermobile… which remains my dream car. especially if they’d put a V8 in the thing and give it wings.

    • I had to google it…..

  9. These Chinese vehicles are sickening. At least they do not use the exhaust fumes. Bastards.
    I really wonder whether this selling and keeping of relics of historical figures of the short European-American history is comparable to the catholic veneration of reliquiae? Maybe a closer look at the functions of these artefacts could help. Next would be a miraculous faith healing by Clyde’s sweaty shirt, Rocky’s glove or Kelly’s machine gun The re-mystification marches onwards, christian soldier.

    • I don’t think the religious right wingers in America would compare the two. It’s an interesting thought though

  10. Those 3 wheel “Gophers” that you see the oldies zooming up and down the footpath on are certified deadly. I’ve seen more that one of them tip over and almost kill the driver or unwary pedestrian… but I guess the drivers are almost dead anyway…

    • Ha! They don’t even need motors at the gimcrack. I’ve seen plenty of assaults with deadly zimmers in the elevators at work.

  11. Re: the death van (such an ugly term) – I really don’t think promoting human rights involves how one is executed – it’s more about the kind of society in which one lives. But, yeah, injections seem more humane than firing squads.
    (This story reminded me of Nazi Germany – such efficiency…)

    • Lethal injection doesn’t always provide a speedy painless death. I think firing squad would be quicker (if they were good shots)

  12. I wonder which has a faster top-speed…
    the bullet-proof limos or the death vans?

    • Put Sylvester Stallone in one and Kurt Russell in another and let them race it out

  13. Die, Maxion!!!!!!

    • I had to reread my own post to get the significance of your comment

  14. Mobile libraries are fine but mobile execution cars? I will pass on that one!

  15. The Nazis had a similar idea. It’s as nasty now as it was then. There is no defence.

  16. Why not just put a hose from the exhaust into the car?

  17. A shame Bucky was so obsessed with the fancy refinements of fuel efficiency he overlooked the basics like keeping the thing upright. Of course nowadays, with oil running out, he’d probably be designing a car that could run on stewed rhubarb.

    • I love rhubarb. With cream.

  18. OK, while I haven’t found the “cutie” bit here, I think I may have successfully out-creeped you dear nursemyra … read on

    The ‘random neuron’ firing in my brain wonders how it would have been if Bucky had been born in China a century later. He’d surely have wanted in on the groovy new capital-punish-mobile. He’d have designed the BioKombustor Regeneratormobile (totally accidental ly Nazi-sounding- honest!) to be towed behind deathcab for the purpose of rendering the criminal corpse into auto fuel. And to recover the lethal toxins for use in the next execution.

    And for bumper stickers on this rig, let’s see. How about …

    Helluva Ride
    Next Stop, Oblivion
    How’s My Dying?
    My Other Car Is Dead

    OK, that’s quite enough.

    • the “cutie” bit was a play on words. there’s a band called Death Cab For Cutie.

  19. Bucky is my hero! He was far ahead of his time, and his car and his Dymaxion house were just the tip of the iceberg.

    • He was a genius 🙂

  20. China’s idea of human rights and what’s humane is beyond belief!

    • Really? A look in the history of the western civilization may show that ideas of this kind are not that far away. It’s only a bit more than twohundred years that the human rights are publicly announced.

  21. It is always important to the executee that he be executed humanely! Yeah! Riiiight!

    • And to the executioner. It’s not about torture, but about killing. Fast and efficient.

  22. As long as it’s clean and quick.

  23. You know you have too much money when you can afford not only a limo, but a bullet-proof one at that.

  24. Now I can’t get Faye Dunaway out of my mind …… *sigh*

  25. Wow. Apparently death car has quite a few incarnations! The one involving Bonnie and Clyde would have to be my favorite though.

  26. That’s kind of freaking me out – sorry.

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