Although this appears to be a ‘shock value’ list of bloodthirsty maniac’s cars, it is actually quite a fascinating subject. I’m very interested in the psychology behind these killers. My first thoughts considered their egos and narcissistic tendencies, and wondered if this had any influence over their vehicles. Will they be sensible vehicles or will they be pimped out killing machines?
Charles “Charlie” Manson
I’ll start off with this guy, as he’s one of the – if not THE – biggest name when it comes to serial killers. Manson is a convicted serial killer whose notoriety has made him somewhat of an icon of evil. The late 60’s (ironically around the time of “free love”) Manson founded a hippie cult group called “The Family”. Although he looks terrifying, he had charm and could easily manipulate members into brutally killing others on his behalf.
Manson drove a 1935 Army surplus Power Wagon. After Manson’s reign was over, a family member spoke out to OUI magazine: “One time Charlie and I drove two trucks through Death valley, just for the hell of it…We took two 4-wheel drive Army surplus Power Wagons…We wanted to hell raise and it was a blast.”
Manson also drove a cool 1959 Ford – this was used during the Tate/LaBiancha murders.
“The Family” travelled in a black school bus, although here it’s losing a battle with the dessert.
This mummies boy was obsessively devoted to his mother, who was a real religious nut and fanatic. Her death sparked off something inside of her son, turning him into a grave-robbing necrophiliac, a body parts collector and an experimentalist in human taxidermy. This led to murder, where he killed at least two women in 1957. Gein inspired many film characters such as Norman Bates in Psycho, Jame Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs and my favourite, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ed Gein drove this 1949 Ford sedan.
Ted Bundy was one of America’s most prolific serial killers, murdering, raping, brutalising women and causing terror in many States. In 1975, Bundy fled police that were attempting to pull him over. When the police caught him and searched his VW Beetle, they found some rather suspect objects: a crowbar, a box of large green plastic garbage bags, an ice pick, a flashlight, gloves, torn strips of sheeting, knit ski mask, handcuffs, and a strange mask made from panty hose. They also saw that the passenger seat had been ripped out and placed in the back. Although he was arrested for evading the police, Bundy was released later on his own recognizance.
In 1970s, Deputy Lonnie Anderson bought Bundy’s death mobile at auction for $925. In 1997 Anderson ran an ad in the New York Times seeking to sell the infamous bug.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer perfect for the movies and galvanising the fact that clowns are actually scary – he dressed up as a clown as a children’s entertainer. He murdered 33 people, mostly teenage boys. The bodies were eventually discovered rotting in the crawl space under Gacy’s middle-class home in Chicago. He led a double life, engaging in charitable and political activities and often dressed up as a clown for parties, whilst his other side liked committing sadistic murders. His method was to entice young men to his home for homosexual liaisons, tying or handcuffing them before strangling them. His last words were: “Kiss my ass.”
As much as I wanted him to drive a clown’s car, Gacy drove this 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88.
Fred and Rose West
In 1994 a normal three-story house – 25 Cromwell Street – would be dubbed the “House of horrors” as police discovered multiple corpses hidden under the patio and inside of the walls. As this is a car site I’ll go as far as only saying the discoveries told a tale of incest, rape and murder.
I know Fred drove a van but couldn’t track it down. I did, however make this grim discovery: Fred once drove an ice cream van, which gave him unlimited access to many young girls. For someone obsessed and addicted to sex, Fred was in paradise. He was polite, ostensibly trustworthy, and his ability to tell exciting stories made him attractive to the youngsters who flocked around his ice cream van.
The picture isn’t that great, but you only need to look at Fred’s face and imagine him serving ice-cream from a brightly-coloured van to get the gist of it.
Serial killer, necrophile, paedophile and cannibal – is that enough for you? One investigating officer in Dahmer’s home discovered gruesome photos plastered to a refrigerator and, on opening it, let out a loud scream. After getting himself together, he called to his partner, “There’s a f—king head in the refrigerator!” The head’s eyes and mouth were open, and the baking soda used didn’t touch or absorb the stench. The freezer contained three more heads, a human heart and human meat – Dahmer drew sexual gratification from eating human flesh.
I couldn’t find a picture of Dahmer’s actual van, but I knew the era and colour, so it would’ve been something like this:
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
The moors murderers Brady and Hindley were pure evil in the form of child killers. They ended up taking the life of 5 children.
Brady became Myra’s first lover and she became besotted with him, listening and taking in all of his distorted philosophical theories. All she wanted to do was please him. She even went as far as changing her appearance: Germanic style, with long boots and mini skirts, and bleached blond hair.
Their plan for “the perfect murder” was for Hindley to drive a van whilst Brady followed on his motorbike, searching for victims. Once he’d spotted one, Brady would blink his headlights and Hindley was expected to pull over and ask if the victim needed a ride. Brady would then catch up and the rest isn’t worth writing about.
Another murder saw Hindley enticed a boy into a rented car. This is the Ford Zephyr used in the movie adaption, See No Evil.
John George Haigh
John George Haigh showed incredible audaciousness in his acts of fraud, impersonation and murder. He befriended the rich, killed them and threw their bodies into barrels of sulphuric acid. His way of thinking was: “No body, no conviction.”
He was eventually arrested after body fat and teeth (unaffected by the acid) were discovered in the drain. Haigh implied he was a vampire and liked to drink the blood to try for the insanity plea, but he wasn’t convincing enough, and on the 6th of August 1949, Haigh was hanged at Wandsworth Prison for six murders. This all took place in Sussex, not too far from where I live.
Haigh adored cars and when he left school he took a job as an apprentice in a firm of motor engineers. He eventually found success as an underwriter for advertising and insurance and earned enough to buy an expensive red Alfa Romeo like to the one below.
After murdering a few more victims and cashing in their belongings, Haigh bought a lovely Alvis – the actor Martin Clunes in the movie A Is For Acid drove the one pictured below, so is most likely the same model.