5 Famous Death Cars — Where Are They Now?


Hank Williams' Cadillac

Hank Williams, death car
The car in which Hank Williams passed his last few hours and died on New Year's Day, 1953 is exhibited at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. YouTube screen shot

Country music legend Hank Williams left Montgomery, Alabama, on December 30, 1952, in a baby blue Cadillac convertible with an 17-year-old college student whom he'd hired as his driver to take him to performances in Charleston, West Virginia and Canton, Ohio. Though he had a beautiful new car, the singer was in rough shape. His career was on the decline, and he had gone from performing at the Grand Ole Opry to playing small clubs in an effort to make a comeback. Physically, he was in poor shape, relying upon morphine shots to deal with pain from back surgery and using chloral hydrate, a sedative, to help him sleep. He also was drinking [source: Tharpe].

On the morning of New Year's Day, 1953, near Oak Hill, West Virginia, Williams' driver stopped to check on his passenger in the back seat, who had been quiet for a while. He then rushed the singer to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead at age 29. The official cause was heart failure [source: Tharpe].

Today, Williams' car is on exhibit at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, along with a collection of memorabilia that includes his 1937 Gibson guitar and the microphone and stand used during his last performance [source: Hank Williams Museum].

Learn more about Hank Williams in "Sing a Sad Song: THE LIFE OF HANK WILLIAMS" by Roger M. Williams. HowStuffWorks picks related titles based on books we think you'll like. Should you choose to buy one, we'll receive a portion of the sale.