Can You Help Michigan Man Identify 'Death Car'? May 13, 2018 17:14:07 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on May 13, 2018 17:14:07 GMT -5
Can You Help Michigan Man Identify 'Death Car'?
BEULAH, Mich. – Have you ever heard of a “death car”? It’s a vehicle that instantly becomes infamous for the well-known people who died in them.
Among the best-known death cars are the 1961 Lincoln in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the Gräf & Stift touring car in which the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, James Dean’s 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, and the 1994 Mercedes-Benz S280 that wrecked in 1997, killing Diana, former Princess of Wales. Most such vehicles are in museums, where people pay to see them. Others have vanished, taking their grisly stories with them.
A Michigan man believes he is in possession of a death car (above), and is hoping citizen sleuths will recognize the car and help him put the puzzle pieces together of what may have happened. In 1990, Bob Lucas, 93, purchased a 1960 Lincoln convertible from a farmer living in East Jordan, Michigan. “The car appeared to have been inside a barn for many years,” Lucas said. “It was in pretty rough shape.” He doesn’t recall anything about the farmer or what the two said to each other, but it didn’t take long for him to realize the vehicle had some disturbing damage. “There was a bullet hole in the middle of the windshield,” Lucas continued, pointing to a photo he took of the car soon after he bought it. “[The bullet hole] was the size of my little finger.”
When he checked the interior, he saw what appeared to be a gigantic blood stain on the front seat, and additional blood on the floorboards. “Blood had seeped through the seat,” he added. “I realized something happened, but I didn’t have enough sense to follow-up on it then.”
His initial thoughts on the car’s condition turned to theories about what appeared to have happened inside it. “As far as I was concerned, somebody was killed in that car and bled to death on the front seat,” he declared.
Soon after Lucas took possession of the vehicle, he began restoring it. He replaced the windshield and had the interior reupholstered, but never completed the job and the vehicle has been sitting in his garage ever since.
Almost three decades have passed since Lucas purchased the mysterious vehicle. But in recent years, what may have taken place in the vehicle began to weigh on his mind. “I had the FBI and the local sheriff over and they looked at the car,” he continued. “One of the FBI agents said, ‘Can we haul this in and get some DNA?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ but then I never heard any more about it.”
A few years ago, Lucas contacted a man by the name of Ross Richardson, an author who investigates unsolved mysteries, shipwrecks and disappearances in Michigan. Richardson found Lucas’s theory concerning the 1960 Lincoln fascinating and wanted to dig into the history of the car and see if he could use his resources and figure out what may have happened, if anything. “It’s definitely a curiosity,” said Richardson, who wrote a book about Michigan mysteries in 2014. He took the vehicle identification number (VIN #: OY8SH417924) and attempted to follow the trail of the car’s previous owners, found no prior owners listed anywhere. The only registered owner of the vehicle is Bob’s wife, who passed away in 2009. “I contacted local historians from the area and law enforcement again, but they knew nothing of any missing people,” he added.
Even though the front seat was reupholstered 28 years ago, both Lucas and Richardson believe some blood stains could still be present inside the car, in particular on the foam cushion. “There’s a chance [blood and DNA could still be extracted], Richardson admitted. “During the restoration process, we don’t know how much was repainted under the carpet or seats.”
With all directions leading to a dead end for Lucas and Richardson, they began to theorize who might have died in the car. The two men zeroed in on a well-known individual who disappeared 43 years ago and the mystery that has surrounded this man’s disappearance ever since – Jimmy Hoffa.
“Jimmy Hoffa died around this time frame,” Lucas said. “I sent a letter to [Hoffa’s son] James Hoffa with a picture of the car and never heard anything from him.”
Jimmy Hoffa was the American Labor Union leader who served as President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1958-1971. He vanished in July 1975 and was declared legally dead in 1982. He was never seen or heard from since.
“It’s pretty interesting that time period, the 1960s and early 1970s, there was a lot of organized crime in Michigan,” Richardson explained. “One can’t help but consider Jimmy Hoffa, or former furniture mogul, Joshua Doore, whose murder in 1974 remains a mystery today as well.”
Lucas and Richardson are convinced if this rough-looking Lincoln could talk, it would have a grisly tale to tell. They hope someone will recognize the vehicle, consider coming forward and be able to help. “There’s a story behind who died in the car, we just don't know what it is,” Richardson continued.
“I’d like to know what the story is,” added Lucas. “Somebody knows. If they’re not dead.”
Lucas and Richardson have created an email account and ask that anyone with information about the 1960 Lincoln convertible contact them at email@example.com
Source: Brent Ashcroft, The Detroit Free Press, April 20, 2018.