evokes spectacle and scandal for people of a certain age. It’s a reminder of one of the most famous cultural events of the ‘90s: the OJ Simpson trial.
Before 1994: OJ Simpson was known as a sports legend. A Heisman winner and a record-breaker in the NFL, he had spent most of his adult life impressing crowds with his astounding speed and strength. But by June of that year, his legacy would be forever tainted.
On a summer evening in June of that year: The bodies of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a man named Ron Goldman were discovered outside of Brown Simpson’s Los Angeles condominium.
OJ was quickly identified as the primary suspect in these murders, and his arrest appeared to be imminent. But there was one problem—he was nowhere to be found.
The infamous white Ford Bronco
Suddenly a sensational murder had a sensational suspect: an American folk hero, now hiding from law enforcement in a white Ford Bronco.
Helicopters buzzed above the 5 freeway in Southern California while police cars tailed the vehicle. Al Cowlings, the owner of the vehicle, drove while Simpson hid in the back.
This bizarre scene culminated in the Bronco pulling up to Simpson’s home in Brentwood, California, where he surrendered to the police. A wild trial ensued and ended in an acquittal that divided the country.
Fun fact: This became one of the most-watched car chases in history, with millions of people tuning in.
What happened to the Bronco?
Oddly, both OJ Simpson and Al Cowlings had white Ford Broncos:
Simpson’s Bronco was seized by police as evidence, then destroyed.
Cowling’s Bronco (the one used in the car chase) remained parked underground in a nondescript condo lot in LA until 2012.
In 2012: A company called Startifacts made an offer of $75,000 to Al Cowlings for the infamous white Ford Bronco. However, Cowlings and Simpson’s ex-agent Mike Gilbert discovered that Startifacts would lend the Bronco to another company to reenact the car chase (concluding at Nicole Brown Simpson’s grave) as a kind of tourist attraction.
Gilbert and Cowlings came up with a deal where they would co-own it with a third person instead. The car sat in a garage and enjoyed occasional drives and battery changes until 2017 when Gilbert attempted but failed to sell the vehicle for over $1 million.
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Melanie Krieps Mergen is an insurance writer who enjoys getting down to the nuts and bolts of all your burning questions. She recently received her MFA in creative writing (nonfiction) from Columbia University and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In the coming years, she's pretty excited about having more electric vehicle options to choose from.