Mar 092004
 
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1934, where they began a

two-year crime spree that ended in their deaths along a highway

near Sailes, La.

“In the early daylight (May 23, 1934), Bonnie and Clyde appeared

in an automobile and when they attempted to drive away, the

officers opened fire,” according to the Federal Bureau of

Investigations’ Web site, www.fbi.gov. “Bonnie and Clyde were

killed instantly.”

Their “death car” sits, full of bullet holes, in Whiskey Pete’s

bar in Las Vegas. A 100-percent replica, minus the bullet holes,

rests in Fort Collins resident Sandy Jones’s garage.

The car is a 1934 Ford Fordor Deluxe Sedan, cordova gray and

replicated down to the hand-painted molding in the glove box.

Jones bought this car in the early 1990s when it was in need of

full restoration. The car has undergone six years of repair.

Jones visited the original in Las Vegas and took around 300

pictures of the car to make his an exact replica. He took four

original dealer color chips, matched them to the inside of the

trunk and the door jams. He then used a computer to match the

colors and did a test swab on the car. Everything matched and he

went forward with the painting.

“This is how geeky I am about Bonnie and Clyde stuff,” he

said.

Jones said he began collecting rare cars about 30 years ago. “I

have always like cars,” he said. “(I’ve been interested) all my

life.”

Inside Jones three-car garage in southern Fort Collins it is

also possible to find a 1954 red Hudson Hornet, a 1958 BMW Isetta

and a 1933 Essex Terra Plane 8, previously owned by John

Dillinger.

In the early 1950s, the Hudson Hornet was known a racecar. It

was the “speed bomb of the day,” Jones said.

The car can go up to 120 mph. Jones can verify 110 mph. “That is

when we chickened out.”

Jones Hornet is a 51,000-mile original from Denver. He found it

stored in Longmont.

“This is way before its time,” Jones said about the Hornet’s

features. The car has an automatic transmission; sanders, tubes

that drop sand in front of tires on icy days; an AM radio with

adjustable antenna and curb feelers, flexible springs that stick

out the side of the car to feel for the curb.

“(1954) was the last year they really got it right,” Jones

said.

The very rare 1958 BMW Isetta gets 55 miles per gallon, is red,

a convertible and the only door opens out the front.

“It’s too bad they don’t have cars like that anymore,” Jones

said.

Jones bought the car for $200 in 1980. “My wife thought I had

lost it,” he said.

He managed to get the car running within about six months and

about three weeks ago decided to have it fully restored.

From September 1933 until July 1934, John Herbert Dillinger and

his violent gang terrorized the Midwest, according to www.fbi.gov.

During the time they killed 10 men, wounded seven, robbed banks and

police arsenals, and staged three jailbreaks.

“Dillinger, whose name once dominated the headlines, was a

brutal thief and a cold-blooded murderer,” according to the Web

site.

Jones owns a maroon 1933 Essex Terra Plane 8, previously owned

by Dillinger, and still encased in the frame is a bullet meant for

Dillinger. The bullets came from a St. Paul, Minn., shootout.

Dillinger and his brother wrecked the front right end before

they abandoned it outside Mooresville, Ind.

“It would pretty much run every car off the road,” Jones said

about why Dillinger liked the car.

The car eventually ended up in a museum in Missouri and then

went to a private collection in Indiana for 20 years. Jones

acquired the car when a friend in Nebraska called him when it went

on sale.

“I don’t drive it much,” Jones said. “It is too rare.”

Some of the parts, such as front lights, don’t exist anymore, so

if they were to break, new ones would have to be made.

Jones spends about four hours each week working on his cars.

“These are old cars, there is always something that has to be dealt

with,” he said. The new gas tends to eat out seals, and “parts are

hard to find and expensive.”

Jones said the hardest part of collecting and restoring cars is

the time and space they require.

“When winter hits I’m done,” Jones said. His collection goes to

bed until spring.

Stan Friesen, owner of Friesen Auto Center, 1110 S. College

Ave., restores car engines. He said 98 percent of the cars that

come in for restoration are older Fords and Chevrolets.

A 1930 Ford is Friesen’s favorite car to come in to get worked

on.

When Jones is not working on his restored cars, he drives a 2000

Dodge Durango to work each day.

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