The White Ford Bronco that transported OJ Simpson on his “slow-speed chase” along LA’s 405 Freeway is getting another TV closeup — 23 years after that infamous journey.
The Bronco’s current owner Mike Gilbert — Simpson’s former sports agent — will try to strike a deal for the car on “Pawn Stars,” the series set at the Las Vegas-based World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. The episode, “If the Pawn Don’t Fit,” airs Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. on History.
“Not many people realize it’s for sale … and I just thought it was a really cool thing to put on the show,” says “Pawn Stars” personality Rick Harrison, who co-owns World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. “I never glorify gangsters or murderers on the show … and I think OJ is a douchebag … who did some really bad things. I’m a dad with six kids and I’m trying to teach each of them a little bit of morality.
“But I felt it would be good for the show and I figured I’d give it a shot.”
There’s that and the fact that interest in Simpson is, once again, at a fever pitch, now that he’s scheduled to be released on parole as early as October after serving nine years behind bars in Nevada for participating in a 2007 armed robbery.
“I’ve been offered some OJ stuff over the years and I always tell people to go someplace else,” Harrison says. “I hate stuff like that in my store. This is one of the most conflicted episodes we’ve done.”
The 1993 Bronco was driven by Simpson pal AC Cowlings during the infamous “slow-speed chase” on June 17, 1994 — five days after the murders of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and Ron Goldman.
[Simpson owned an identical White Ford Bronco, which was given to him by Hertz, for whom he was a TV pitchman. That car was destroyed.]
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Gilbert bought the Bronco from Cowlings for a reported $75,000 and it sat for over a decade in an LA basement before being displayed at a Las Vegas casino in 2003. A year later, it was put back in storage, according to reports.
“He contacted me and was interested in selling it,” says Harrison. “It was just a really weird day [when the Bronco was brought to Harrison’s shop] because everyone saw [the Bronco] and there’s a crazy fascination with it. The [slow-speed chase] had better numbers than the Super Bowl.”
In the episode, Harrison takes the Bronco out for a test drive with Gilbert and his “Pawn Star” colleague Chumlee (aka Austin Russell).
“It’s in amazing shape,” he says of the Bronco. “I drove it around and it felt a little odd, but it runs great. I think [Gilbert] was a little nervous that I was going to scratch it or wreck it.
“I’m a superstitious guy and I got a little bad mojo [from the Bronco],” Harrison says. “It felt odd and it was a little weird in the end and it made me feel weird … but it’s a strange market when it comes to OJ. I just don’t deal with [OJ memorabilia] that much.
“But it was an interesting day of filming.”