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"Which Vehicle Makes Did Prohibition Gangsters Normally Use?" Topic

20 Posts

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940 hits since 27 Sep 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Cacique Caribe27 Sep 2018 2:02 p.m. PST

Well, two questions really …

A) Of these HO vehicles (or any HO/15mm manufacturer you might know of) which were the year, make and model cars and trucks that "Prohibition Era" gangsters typically went for?


B) And what about the Feds and others who fought the gangsters? Which vehicles were the most popular ones with them?


PS. Hmm. I've always wondered if there was a database for this exact topic. Is there?

Winston Smith27 Sep 2018 2:19 p.m. PST

Besides the obvious Ford Model T, I would go with anything with a running board.
I've always pictured Elliott Ness driving a Packard. Don't know why. It just sounds right. Plus it sounds respectable.

Here's an article about greatest Mob Movie cars.
A lot of cars out of your period there. But some in.
I just googled "gangster cars prohibition" and got a lot of hits.

But I would get any from 1920-1935. Again, running boards were specifically designed for the Mob and G-men to stand on, firing their Thompsons.

Winston Smith27 Sep 2018 2:31 p.m. PST

I was wrong!
Eliot Ness drove a 1927 souped up black Cadillac V-16, SEIZED FROM THE MOB! grin

I'm still holding out for a Packard, though.
Can I come over and play? I will leave my moldy buildings at home.

Cacique Caribe27 Sep 2018 3:21 p.m. PST

Come on over anytime, but I just now placed my order for the gangsters and g-men. And I'm just now starting to research the vehicles issue.


Also, I don't have any city buildings (yet), but I do have a few pieces that might work for a "Last Man Standing" (1996)* setup for the Feds to "mix it up" a bit. :)

And I've got no idea what to do about rules either.

Wow. So I basically got nuthin' yet … other than a Desert mat and a few frontier town HO buildings. It's a brand new 6'x3' mat from UrbanMatz:


* I know I would eventually need to get my hands on a few Federales too:
TMP link
TMP link

dragon627 Sep 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

How do Khurasan and Rebelminis compare in size?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 4:59 p.m. PST

I am sure it varied but in the 1920's Ford made more cars and trucks than every other manufacturer combined – so I suspect a lot of Model T's (at least until 1927, when the Model A came out)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 5:00 p.m. PST

Hmm. Don't neglect that truck with the massively reinforced front bumper Ness & co used to break into breweries.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 6:15 p.m. PST

The 3.0's gangsters liked the Ford V 8 because it could run away from most other vehicles.

95th Division Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 7:10 p.m. PST

Yep, endorsed by Clyde Barrow.

mildbill27 Sep 2018 7:45 p.m. PST

Dussenbergs were the favorites of race car drivers in the 30's. Very powerful and fast. don't know if any are available as models though.

bsrlee27 Sep 2018 7:55 p.m. PST

Don't forget Reviresco, a fair catalog of vehicles in various scales from WW1 to WW2.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2018 9:38 p.m. PST

Takes a little bit of research to discover real life as seen in the movies.

Check IMDb for the list of best gangster films from the 30's. List here:

Then enter each title into the IMCDb.
IMDb's #1 is The Public Enemy, 1931.
Et voilą, the cars used in the film:

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2018 2:32 a.m. PST

John Dillinger always stole Fords & wrote a letter to Henry Ford extolling the Ford auto as his favorite.

DyeHard28 Sep 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

The work-a-day gangster and the mob boss would have very different cars, but here is a site about it:

Short list:
Ford Model T
Ford Model 18 V8
Cadillac 3414 V8
Packard V12
Chrysler Imperial sedan
Duesenberg J

The cars and trucks to move the booze would have been a mix of any available at the time. This would avoid being too conspicuous.

Cacique Caribe28 Sep 2018 11:22 a.m. PST


Wow! Those are some awesome links.


PS. And then there were, of course, a few gangsters who were absolutely awful behind the wheel of ANY car:


Winston Smith28 Sep 2018 11:34 a.m. PST

For rules and buildings, try these.
You can scale the building pdf files to 15mm.

Cacique Caribe28 Sep 2018 4:46 p.m. PST

Wow, good timing too!

TMP link


Dr Argent28 Sep 2018 5:49 p.m. PST

"And there was thunder, thunder over thunder road
Thunder was his engine, and white lightning was his
There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thirst
The law they swore they'd get him, but the devil got
Him first." Robert Mitchum

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2018 9:32 p.m. PST

The Thunder Road Special was a 1951 Ford modified with a 1949 hood and 1950 grill and front bumper as well as the rear 1951 taillight chrome trim removed and 1949/1950 taillights installed.

Moonshiner, not Prohibition, but super song and great movie!!!
YouTube link

Lion in the Stars01 Oct 2018 4:01 a.m. PST

Don't forget that NASCAR started out as the way to settle the argument of whose liquor car was fastest without having to pay off the law!

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