World's Most Notorious Vehicles
The Iranian President is often carried about in limos. But recently he auctioned his personal set of wheels off: a 1977 Peugeot 504.
The proceeds from the auction were to benefit some kind of housing initiative in Iran, his version of Habitat for Humanity.
The car looked to be in good shape. And he had been seen driving it in recent years on the campaign trail.
Ahmadinejad is generally reviled by every government leader except Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, and he is the sworn enemy of the United States and Israel. But you do have to admire how he kept a 32 year old Peugeot looking pretty clean.
The Libyan dictator, who is on the run as U.S. and NATO forces try to drive his regime into the sea, has an affinity for designing safer cars.
Back in 2009 when Gaddafi thought his biggest problem was whether to put the money he sucked out of the Libyan oil industry into a Hermes or Gucci wallet, he set out to design a safe car that could be manufactured in Libya. The dictator, responsible for such terrorist acts as the bombing of a passenger jet over Lockerbie Scotland, designed the car as far as he could take it before engineers took over. Called the Saroukh el-Jamahiriya (Libyan Rocket), Gaddafi's car seats five, has a 230-hp V6 and the nose and tail of a rocket?
Why did Col. Gaddafi design it? (and why hasn't he promoted himself to General?) Safety. It was in response to the high numbers of people killed and injured annually on Libya's roads. It seemed an odd solution since we think most of those people were actually shot while driving.
Mexican Drug Lords
Parts of Mexico, such as Juarez and parts of Jalisco (the home of Tequila) have become war zones. Drug cartels increasingly set up roadblocks to seize their favorite vehicles to heist: Full size pickup trucks and Chevy Suburbans.
The Suburban, the biggest SUV currently sold in the U.S. since Hummer stopped making the H2, has plenty of room for five, or even eight if you fill it up with henchmen. But they usually carry a few cartel soldiers with arms or loot in the back, according to border patrol and Mexican police reports.
Of course, the Suburban is also a favorite of the Border patrol and police for the same carrying capacity. They are also easily outfitted with bulletproof glass and armor. It makes it tough for honest folks to know if the guys are good or bad when they see those black Suburbans. Drug lords also outfit their Suburbans with armor and bulletproof glass, and often try and steal the armored up vehicles of the police.
Kim Jong Il
North Korea's leader is always crying poverty, and about not having enough food to feed his oppressed people. But he has a big appetite for luxury goods of all kinds. For his own wardrobe and lifestyle, he prefers Scabal cashmere ($300 a yard), Moreschi shoes ($600); Martel L'or Cognac ($3,600) and Mercedes-Benzes.
Il gets ferried around in a Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard limo. But since it is his favorite brand of car, it is not surprisingly also the favorite of the entire authoritarian regime.
Kim Il Sung's car, Mercedes-Benz SEL 500, was exhibited in the Mansoosan Memorial Palace where Kim Il Sung's body is laid in state.
Officers in the North Korean Workers Party get Benzes to drive, and when they are ready to flip them for a new one, they go to the Social Security Agency as patrol cars.
So, the people walk and take buses and subways, ride bikes and walk. The authorities mostly drive Benzes. Nice.
The Philadelphia Eagle quarterback is trying to rehab his image after spending two years in prison for running a dog-fighting ring in which dogs were mauled and even hung. Eagle fans may be forgiving, but don't ask animal lovers if he will ever get a Christmas card from them.
We'll say this for Vick. He has simple tastes when it comes to his own ride. According to bankruptcy records, Vick (why do big-time athletes always buy luxury wheels for their entourage?), had bought a Land Rover for his fiancee, a Cadillac Escalade for his fiancee's Mother; a Mercedes S Class for his "financial adviser," (who incidentally didn't advise him to stop buying luxury wheels for his entourage); a Land Rover for his brother Marcus (did Marcus have a job?); and a Cadillac DTS for his "pal," Rodney White.
What did Vick drive? A Ford F150 pickup truck. We guess it was more practical for hauling the dog carcasses off his farm.
Alexander Surin (Drug Lord "Don CARleone")
One of the biggest drug dealers of our time, Alexander Surin, was finally caught at the end of 2009 in Spain.
His collection, confiscated by drug authorities, included: Two Bugatti Veyron, totalling $3.36 million; Two Ferrari Enzos, totalling $1.226 million; One Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, priced at $491,000; One Rolls Royce Phantom, with a price of $421,000; One Ferrari 599 GTB, $318,000; One Ferrari California, tagged $220,000; One Porsche 911 GT3, of "only" $125,000.
Seriously…two Bugattis? Who the heck buys two Bugatti Veyrons. The company sells like 20 a year. We always wonder if guys like this buy the cars under their own name from a dealer or hot from a cohort? Is there a guy at a showroom who says, "The kid is bringing your Veyron around to the front in just a minute Mr. Surin. Can I get you an espresso while you wait?"
There is nobody in the financial world seen as scummy as Bernard Madoff, the ponzi scheme maestro who is doing life in prison after bilking investors for some $50 billion. Among his victims were Yeshiva University, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and his charitable foundation, not to mention The New York Mets and actor Kevin Bacon.
It's hard to peg Madoff's brand preferences, other than to say he liked them expensive. If he had to pick one set of wheels to drive to prison, it looks like the worst guy on the planet (seriously...you defrauded Elie Wiesel?) had a jones for Mercedes.
Madoff had a 2009 Mercedes-Benz S500-4, a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S55V, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL450, a 2006 Lexus LS400, a 2008 Cadillac DTS and a 2007 Range Rover. His brother, Peter, who is nobody's idea of ethical humanity, had a $235,000 Aston Martin bought for him by Madoff Securities. And we thought companies were cutting back.