What Happened To Ted Bundy's Car?

There are have been some notorious cars in American criminal history. There's the white Ford Bronco that O.J. Simpson rode in during the infamous low-speed chase in 1994, the bullet-riddled V8 Ford that had been commandeered (read: stolen) by Bonnie and Clyde (and in which they met their demise at the hands of law enforcement in a barrage of gunfire), not to mention many more. However, few carry a story as sordid as the car driven by Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy was one of America's most notorious serial killers. He admitted responsibility for 28 murders, but according to Britannica, some have estimated that he could have been responsible for hundreds more. Bundy is also noted for his multiple prison escapes and his ability to elude capture until he was arrested for the final time in 1978, sentenced to death in 1979, and executed in the electric chair in 1989.

Bundy had already committed murders in the Pacific Northwest when, according to All That's Interesting, Bundy relocated to Utah toward the end of the summer of 1974, where he would commit a series of additional murders. For these murders, he had an additional resource at his disposable: an unassuming, tan 1968 Volkswagen Beetle.

Ted Bundy's Rolling Torture Chamber

There's arguably no car less threatening than the Volkswagen Beetle. Even from a design perspective, its rounded, curved features are nothing like those typically associated with aesthetic appointments considered to be intimidating or scary — like sharp corners and jagged edges — but throw Ted Bundy behind the wheel of anything and it becomes exponentially scarier.

According to All That's Interesting, Bundy's Beetle was not just a means of transportation; he used it as a tool in his horrific crimes. He was known to have faked injuries to garner sympathy from victims, going so far as to don a sling or hobble around on crutches. Once an unwitting victim took his bait, he'd knock them out and push them into the car. This trait would inspire a similar methodology used by the fictional serial killer Buffalo Bill in the 1991 Oscar-winning movie "The Silence of The Lambs."

The interior of Bundy's Volkswagen Beetle was heavily modified to suit his deranged needs. The passenger's seat and the door handle were both removed, allowing Bundy a place to lay an unconscious victim out of sight and not giving them any means of escape should they wake up. It's believed that as many as 11 of Bundy's victims met the unfortunate fate of seeing the inside of one of history's most notorious cars, reports Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.

The Beetle helped to bring down Bundy ... then went on tour

Considering the role Bundy's car played in his crimes, it's all the more fitting that it was a major contributor to his downfall and eventually his execution.

Police pulled Bundy over in 1975 for driving without headlights. According to Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, police were immediately suspicious of the unusual modifications to the Beetle. They then found a series of items that would indicate to anyone that the person in possession of them was up to some kind of nefarious activities: handcuffs, a ski mask, an ice pick, and even pantyhose with eye holes cut out of them. Bundy was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Bundy would escape from prison twice — committing more murders while on the lam — before being apprehended for good in Florida in 1978, and while the story of Ted Bundy the bloodthirsty serial killer ends with his execution in 1989, the story of his Volkswagen Beetle continues to this day.

In 2002, the car was purchased by Arthur Nash, a collector of macabre historical artifacts, with a collection that consists of a lot of gangster-related pieces, per the The New York Times. The car would then made an appearance at the National Crime And Punishment Museum in Washington D.C. While still listed as a part of that museum's collection, it has been loaned to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee's Alcatraz East Crime Museum.