Sunday, July 19, 2015
10 Incredible Rides Chauffeuring Heads-of-State
The President of the United States of America is the VIP to end all VIPs. The Leader of the Free World is such an important person that his daily driver, the Beast is a custom-built, heavily fortified limo, based on a General Motors truck chassis. It is one of the most impressive cars that a head of state has ever ridden in, but it does not stand alone.
While the POTUS Beast might stand out for its security measures, but the anonymous Cadillac shell is kind of bland when it comes to other outlandish cars that heads-of-state have been driven in (or driven!) through the years.
France: Citroen DS
Citroen has always been a brand that walked to the beat of its own drum. Just look at the DS, one of their most iconic cars. It looks like a duck, has deformable body panels, and has an oil-based pneumatic suspension that gives it one of the smoothest rides on the road. So smooth, that it became the ride-of-choice for French President Charles De Gaulle in the 1950s and 1960s.
Supposedly, the unique suspension setup allowed De Gaulle’s driver to take evasive maneuvers during an assassination attempt, saving the French President’s life.
Brazil: Ford Fusion Hybrid
The president of Brazil has been chauffeured in the past in the back seat of a Rolls Royce silver Wraith, but as of late, the presidential motorcade is highlighted by a 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Yes, it is an armored Ford Fusion Hybrid, but it is still a Ford Fusion Hybrid. Perhaps that is how one connects with their populace as a “man of the people.”
Cambodia: Mercedes 600 Pullman
King Norodom Sihamoni is shuffled around Cambodia in a vintage Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman. This car is in the stable of more than a few heads-of-state, and with good reason. It oozes classic diplomat (or despot) style.
While the Pullman might ooze international class, an American head-of-state (even if it’s South America) needs something from the Big Three. This 1966 Ford Galaxie XL Convertible is still used for special ceremonies.
China: Hongqi L5
Many countries have an indigenous car company or two, but China has dozens. Chinese diplomats have typically ridden in cars from the Hongqi company. Former leader Hu Jintao was previously seen riding around in the comical Hongqi HQE limo. In 2014, General Secretary Xi Jinping was spotted riding in the more retro-inspired Hongqi L5. Don’t be fooled by its throwback exterior, the cabin is very high-tech and modern.
The Vatican: Jeep “Pope-mobile” Wrangler
For years, the Pope has traveled in the safety of a Mercedes-Benz G-Class (later an M-Class), with a bulletproof glass booth so that he can wave to–and be seen by–the throngs of Catholics eager to see him. But with the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Il Papa has the option of a Jeep that from an Italian company. How soon before we get a Holy Roman Empire edition Wrangler
Italy: Lancia Flaminia, Lancia Thesis
The current centerpiece of the Italian presidential motorcade is a very boring Lancia Thesis, but for more formal events, they turn back the clock. The Italians have some serious options when it comes to presidential rides (Maserati Quattroporte or Lamborghini LM002, for instance), but the Lancia Flaminia used for important occasions has a custom laundalet body style to take in the fresh air.
Morocco: Laraki Fulgura
King Muhammed VI typically rides around in a vintage Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman when in Morocco. He also has a vast collection of sportscars, including a Laraki Fulgura. Laraki is a Moroccan car company, and the Fulgura is based on a Lamborghini Diablo. The engine is a quad-turbo Mercedes-Benz 6.0-liter V12 that makes 730 horsepower, allowing the King to reach a claimed top speed of 217 mph.
Monaco: Venturi Fetish
Since 2011, Prince Albert II has been whisked around in a custom-built Lexus 600h L Laundaulet, but that is not nearly his most insteresting ride. Hist stable includes a number of eco-friendly cars, including the Venturi Fetish–a two-seat electric sportscar that has been produced in Monaco since 2006.
Nepal: Hulas Motors Mustang
The current president, Ram Baran Yadav rides in a fortified Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but the former prime minister used a Nepali-made Hulas Motors Mustang 4×4. It looks like some G-Wagon/Wrangler/Defender combination. We applaud him for sticking with an indigenous automaker.