OJ and the Bronco - is there any other vehicle that has notoriety in this manner?

I do photography for a classic car dealership and the most recent shoot I did was for a mid-90s Ford Bronco. I posted a picture of it on FB and someone made a joke to the effect of that he would never be able to see a Bronco without thinking of O.J. Simpson. I replied by saying that I can’t think of any other vehicle that has the same kind of effect on people.

It’s not like the Ford Pinto or the Edsel - its notoriety doesn’t come from any problems with the vehicle - it comes solely from having been highly publicized as part of a notorious and newsworthy incident.

Does any other such vehicle exist? Where, when you hear its name, you associate it only with one particular thing?

I’m excluding cars like the DeLorean or the Gran Torino which became part of pop culture because of their deliberate placement in a movie or show.

About the only thing I can think of offhand would be pictures of old-time gangsters’ (think Bonnie and Clyde, etc.) cars all riddled with bullet holes. There are probably dozens of such things in photo history.

I can’t think of any vehicles; but as far commercial products go, I don’t think there is anyone above a certain age who doesn’t think of Jim Jones and the mass suicide in Jonestown when anyone mentions Kool-Aid.

Bonnie and Clyde’s death car?

ETA: Ninja’ed of course!

This is an interesting question. I can only think of one sorta related example, and I may well be wrong about even that one. In 1996, Ryder sold its consumer truck rental business and rebranded itself, shedding its recognizable bright yellow paint scheme. I don’t know this to be true, but I’ve always suspected this was because a yellow Ryder truck was used in the Oklahoma City bombing. At least I recall a period in which the yellow Ryder truck immediately brought the bombing to mind, and I think that was alleviated somewhat by the rebranding.

Not quite what you were looking for, but it’s all I got.

ETA: When the hell did the mid 90s fall into “classic car” territory. :frowning:

Probably more because of its driver, but James Dean’s Porsche has received much press over the years since 1955. Damned beautiful car!

The first Trade Center bombing was also carried out with a Ryder truck. I wonder if you’re on to something.

The corvair is another example, which is still considered “unsafe at any speed” due to Ralph Nader’s book.

While proper tire pressure was critical for the best safety it’s handling was not significantly worse or less safe than other contemporary cars, and this was demonstrated by a study conducted by the NHTSA in the early 1970’s well after production was halted.

Yet the perception still exists that they are somehow uniquely dangerous while other cars of the era often have a misguided trust of safety. While the book did target the industries failure to address safety in general, cars with suspension build when the limiting factor was bias ply tires are actually typically far more dangerous with radial tires because they lack the correct camber. Radial tires require more static negative camber than bias tires and often this earlier suspension has no ability to even adjust the values to a safe value.

While the industry did need a wakeup call the perception of the Corvair as being particularly unsafe is persistent even among owners of cars like the Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, or Volkswagen Beetle which were shown through empirical data to be no more or perhaps even less safe.

While not an individual highly publicized as part of a notorious and newsworthy incident, this is directly traceable to that newsworthy book.

Some possibles, but I don’t think any of these top OJ’s white Ford Bronco:

  • James Dean’s Porsche Spyder, as mentioned.
  • Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 with the wild paint job; gImages, https://goo.gl/7e7g5s
  • Thelma and Louise’s 1966 Ford Thunderbird

Those are some iconic cars but not infamous like OJ’s because that car ‘chase’ was one moment in time covered so widely on live TV.

Classic doesn’t need to mean “old.” The movie Pulp Fiction is considered a classic, despite being made in the 90s. In the world of cars, classic can have many meanings, but one is simply that the vehicle’s design and ‘personality’ set it apart from any current production models.

This Bronco is sufficiently distinctive in its design and its standing apart from most other vehicles on the road, to be called ‘classic.’

A Lincoln Continental Convertible instantly makes me think of the JFK assassination.

Rotar - Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s air car is most famous for exploding at a car show.

That was the 1934 Ford Fordor Deluxe V8, which would have been my response as well. The next is the SS-100-X which was a modified Lincoln Continental convertible that President Kennedy was assassinated in, which amazingly remained in service (with many more modifications intended to prevent the same think from happening again) until 1978. Others associated with death are James Dean’s 1955 Porsche 550 (not the 356 Super Speedster, although that is often stated) and the Amilcar CGSS in which Isadora Duncan was strangled by her scarf being caught in the rear axle.

Oh, I almost forgot the 1981 Cadillac Eldorado “8-6-4” which Frank Rosenthal survived an assassination attempt because of a ballast plate beneath the driver’s seat as famously fictionalized in Scorsese’s Casino.


I wonder how badly they’re triggered if they hear Flavor Aid!

The Volkswagen and Hitler?

How about Lady Godiva’s horse?

Magnum P.I and his Ferrari GTB? You may not conjure him with any current models, but whenever I see THAT model I always think of Magnum P.I.

(Selleck) Thomas Magnum drove a 308 GTS (GTS QV in later seasons), not the berlinetta even though how impractical a targa top would be in Hawaii.

I think the distinction should be made between vehicles associated with fictional characters, and those with actual people like O.J. Simpson and Bonnie & Clyde.


Probably just me, but VW bugs always remind me of Ted Bundy.

Anton Yelchin was crushed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee backed down his driveway and pinned him against a brick pillar. The car had been recalled, but the fix-it kits didn’t get to dealers until the week he was killed. I really liked him in the Star Trek re-boots.

I admit I had to look up which car it was.