Dictators and Their Cars
by Andy Hemmington June 7th, 2012
Did you see the Queen last weekend? It was lovely wasn’t it? You can certainly tell she’s a goodie – she travels by coach. Evil people, especially Dictators travel by car. So I got wondering, Dictators and cars – what’s all that about?
I thought assembling this list would be a challenge. Dictators and cars? It sounded interesting, but were there really enough pairings out there for an entire article? It turns out dictators simply can’t get enough pimp rides to sate their appetite. Perhaps it’s the parallels between cars and power, or wealth and sexy automobiles. Whatever the reason, they love them. Here’s a few we found to give you an idea of just how much.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin – Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
As well as possessing the roundest head of any dictator, Lenin was a hot bitch for a Rolls Royce. Not just one of them. Seven. Whatever you think of Lenin’s credentials as a dictator, his choice of car did him no favours in the open democracy stakes. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost is as flash as it gets, the dictatorial equivalent of showing a bit of thigh.
Kim Jong Il – Mercedes Benz S500
Autocar called the S500 ‘arguably the most complete road car in history’. This still doesn’t explain why poison dwarf Kim Jong Il decided to order 200 of the things. He makes Lenin look, pardon the pun, conservative. Indeed, if ordering seven Rolls’ is showing a bit of thigh, 200 Mercedes’ is a full upskirt shot. When considering the motivation behind purchases like these, it’s always important to bear in the mind the megalomaniacal social profile of dictators. Jong Il must have had a four-way dipshit filter bypass too, because no one with any sense of style or decorum drives an S-Class Merc.
Admiral General Aladeen – Dartz Aladeen Edition Prombron
Okay, so he’s not real, but how could we leave this off the list? Sacha Baron Cohen’s most pernicious character nails the elemental zeal of dictators by buying what is, in essence, an SUV-shaped tank. If you think the craziness is confined to fiction then you haven’t read about Dartz’s recent attempt to kit out the interior of a custom-made Prombron using leather made from whale penises. Sometimes the line between reality and unreality is not as well drawn as we’d hope.
Teodorin Obiang – Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari 599 GTO, Bugatti Veyron (two, including one red chrome GrandSport), Aston Martin One-77, Aston Martin V8 V600 LeMans, Maserati MC12, Porsche Carrera GT, Rolls-Royce…
Teodorin is the son of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, a dictator who according to the 2008 Human Rights Report is responsible for ‘unlawful killings by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention’, among other atrocities. As well as this extraordinary list of despicable activities, the populace of Equatorial Guinea have to put up with his nipper tearing around in a list of cars that would make James Bond blush. Thankfully in Paris, where things are a little more progressive, the little bastard got his stash of wheels towed by the French police. In other news, it’s impossible to spell his name in a game of Boggle.*
Adolf Hitler – Mercedes-Benz 770k
The big kahuna, old Apocalypse Now himself, Hitler (unsurprisingly) had to absolutely positively have the baddest car on the road. His modified, armoured versions did an astonishing 5.9 mpg and had elevated floors to make him look taller as he paraded around like the latest winner of Big Brother. Also, if you’re going to ride around in a large, black, German car, lose the moustache.
Benito Mussolini – Lancia Astura
Even Italian dictators have style. This thing made Hitler’s Mercedes look like a manatee. It did a good job of distracting people from Mussolini, whose face had clearly been involved in a fight with an iron. In fact, if we were to see Mussolini trundling about in this beast these days, we might mistake him for the hidden fourth judge on Great British Menu. Nothing like a bit of mental imperialist to get the crowds going.
Joseph Stalin – 1937 Packard V12
Another drop-dead gorgeous piece of engineering, and another face for radio. Who was Stalin? Take your pick from: the missing hairy biker; Uncle Peco (Google it); the uncool Allman brother. It’s such a shame that with power comes wealth because someone so stupendously imposing should never have access to a car of such staggering elegance. Shame on whoever sold it to him. Even if it was at gunpoint.
Saddam Hussein – 1917 Mercedes, 1930s Packard convertible, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1970s Cadillac Fleetwood, 1960s Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, 1980s Zimmer (Lincoln Town Car chassis), authentic London taxi, Packard “woody” station wagon…
You can say a lot about Hussein. He was a despot, a war criminal, the catalyst for instigating some of the western world’s most dubious activities of our generation, a blaggard and, arguably, an idiot. Despite all of this he managed to accumulate the greatest collection of cars, classic and otherwise, this side of Chris Evans’s garage. The list above is only a sample. When found, most of these cars had done less than 2,000 miles, proving that Saddam was as good at ruling his cars with an iron fist as he was his people.