- May 20, 2006
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Hussein-y Benz?*
First Sgt. William von Zeal did a little shopping while stationed in Iraq with the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion-- he picked up what is believed to be Saddam Hussein's 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL for around $5,000 from a private owner in Baghdad.
The white Benz in question was fitted with armor plating, loudspeakers, hidden microphones, and... wait for it... flame throwing side pipes. Likely one of three such white Benzes, Von Zeal has yet to definitively prove that his car was Hussein's, but he does have some clues, including a sales receipt listing "the Iraqi government" as previous owners.
But the reservist may not get the chance to prove its provenance once and for all, because he no longer has the car in his possession-- Federal customs agents seized it in New Haven, Connecticut, and are treating it as a "possible war trophy." The car is being held by the government because of potential infringement upon federal smuggling law violations, along with possible breach of an executive order banning the importation of items owned of the former Iraqi government.
Federal agents were holding the car while investigating possible violations of federal smuggling laws, as well as an executive order barring the importation of property from the former Iraqi regime.
Von Zeal has not been charged with any crimes, but the future of the car and the case is uncertain. At least one Autoblogger hopes he gets his ride back... or better yet, CNN officially declares it will never to use the word 'Pimped' in another headline ever again. Ever.
[Source: The Associated Press via CNN; LyricsFreak]
*(With sincerest apologies to Janis Joplin and Keith Barry, our tipster who came up with the reinterpreted ditty that we can't get out of our heads. Because our friends all drive Porsches, we must make amends)