by Teddy Field
For those of us who own cars with a three-pointed star on the hood, there’s a certain feeling of superiority that comes with Mercedes ownership. Not only did Mercedes Benz invent the automobile, but their obsessive attention to detail can make you feel special just sitting in one. Maybe that’s why Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler both owned one…they had self-esteem issues.
While a 5-Series might handle better, and a Jag might be (slightly)
faster, they pail in comparison to the sheer magnificence of a Mercedes
Benz. And it seems that we’re not alone in our appreciation for the
marque. Many of the world’s infamous dictators have worked out their
power-plots in the back of a Mercedes. But why choose a Mercedes over
say, a Rolls Royce, or a Cadillac?
Let’s find out…
Worst known for: Trying to take over the world.
Adolf Hitler was the first head of state to roll onto the world stage in
a Mercedes Benz. After buying a mid-20’s 11/40 with his royalties from
Mein Kampf, Hitler was hooked on the brand. And soon after he took power
in 1933, he and his goose-stepping hate mongers at the Third Reich began
rolling around Germany in Mercedes Benz’s.
The best known Hitler Benz (there were several) was his 770K Parade Car.
This 1936 Mercedes Grosser 770K was massive (20 ft long x 6ft wide),
yet elegant. The fenders were painted black, and the body was a deep
blue. It had bullet-proof glass, doors, and the floor was reinforced
with extra thick steel. The car was menacing, yet somehow
attractive…oddly like its original owner.
Power came from a 7.6 liter straight 8, with a massive Roots-type
supercharger bolted to the side. Up to 3,000 rpm, the massive powerplant
kicked out a mere 155-hp. But if the Furor was in a hurry, the driver
could summon the supercharger to produce 230-horsepower (they were Arian
horses, of course). And that was enough grunt to propel the 10,000
behemoth to a top speed of a whopping 50 mph.
Worst known for: Killing 20% of the Cambodian population.
In 1975, a twisted little bugger named Pol Pot took control of Cambodia.
He had a crazy notion of “restarting civilization to Year
Zero”…whatever the heck that was supposed to mean.
In the 3 years that his Khmer Rouge ran Cambodia, they murdered an
estimated 20% of the population. However, Pol Pot was able to oversee
the chaos in complete comfort, thanks to his 1973 Mercedes W115
limousine, complete with the latest radio communications equipment. While the diesel-powered 115 limo didn’t have the panache of a 600
Grosser, its small chassis was ideally suited to navigating the
Roman-era roads of Cambodia. Making Pot’s executive limo decision quite
Kim Jung il
Worst known for: Bad hair, big sunglasses and a nuclear fetish.
North Korea isn’t known for having bustling metropolises…or anything
else remotely related to the 21st century. In fact, most North Koreans
aren’t even allowed to drive, which is why the few photos available of
the closed communist country depict eerily empty roads and highways.
They’re reserved for the ruling class, and their Mercedes Benz’s.
Kim Jung il is the Chia Pet-haired dictator in charge of North Korea.
Thanks to his version of communism, he and his compadres are able to
tool around the countryside, on their own private roads. It’s said that
the little dictator even buys loyalty from his ranks by giving them
“foreign cars” as gifts on his birthday.
Among il’s collection are a 70’s vintage 600 Landaulet, a 500 SEL, an
armored W140 limo, a newly added S600 Pullman Guard (shown above), and several
18-wheeler’s full of hair spray.
Worst known for: Being executed.
It’s a well known fact that many dictators have used communism to make
themselves filthy rich. And Romania’s former leader Nicolae Ceausescu is
a prime example.
In the 1980s, the charismatic dictator exported most of his country’s
food stock, in order to pay off the national debt. Meantime, he and his
wife Elena enjoyed the finer things in life…like their yacht, and
collection of luxury cars. Among those cars were Nicolae’s official
state limo: a 1968 Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet, complete with armor
plating, bullet-proof glass, a mini bar, and a TV in the driver’s
compartment (Richard Nixon rode in this car during his 1969 visit). His
wife reportedly had a Mercedes 450 “coupe” (an SLC maybe?).
Want to find out what happened to Sadam Hussein’s many Mercedes? Will
Emperor Hirohito’s 770K survive the war? Tune in next week to find out!
So, is it self esteem issues, or what? Why do so many dictators prefer Benzes? Voice your opinion here!