When you're in charge of a whole country, you're entitled to a nice set of wheels. As Jalopnik readers discovered, some heads of state take that a little far when they go car shopping on the government dime.
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The world's leaders have ridden in many, many unexpected vehicles, from Eisenhower's bubbletop Lincoln to Putin's offroad Lada to Putin's racecar. Often, the citizens were starving while these leaders filled up another tank of high octane. What do we learn from all of this? It's good to be the king.
Photo Credit: AP
Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag
What's unbelievable: You can't write about the cars of heads of state without mentioning the crackpot dictator car of choice, the Mercedes 600 Pullman. They are massive, hugely expensive even today, unbelievably luxurious (power everything, baby), and way too good for the despots who owned them.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Suggested By: MoRphine-2
What's unbelievable: In 1962, a group of assassins tried to kill the French President. They fired 140 bullets, killing two motorcycle guards and puncturing between two and all four tires of the DS (sources vary). De Gaulle's Citroën DS, however, had self-adjusting hydropneumatic suspension and the prez fled to safety. Read the full story of the amazing getaway here.
Photo Credit: UK National Archives
Suggested By: For Sweden
What's unbelievable: Australia didn't just come up with the word ‘hoon,' they banned hoonage. But because Australia is Australia, the prime minister gets taken around in the supremely-hoonable rear-wheel-drive Holden Commodore.
Photo Credit: lowyat.net
Suggested By: NixTheWiz
What's unbelievable: Despite being a complete enemy of the United States, North Korea's now-dead Head Looney loved American cars. A 1976 Lincoln Continental carried his corpse in his funeral parade this year.
Photo Credit: DPRK
Suggested By: stuntdriver
What's unbelievable: If you didn't already know, the Sultan of Brunei has one of the biggest collections of cars in the world, many of them custom cars made by manufacturers just for him. And he lets them sit and rot. Now that's crazy.
Suggested By: Blue_Villian
What's unbelievable: Laugh all you want at the recent batches of popemobiles, which all look like they're wearing tophats, but John Paul II's was totally badass. It's a FCS, a Polish-built firetruck that JPII designed to have an open platform on the top.
Suggested By: lowellfb
What's unbelievable: The longest-serving ruler, Omar Bongo, died in 2009. What car did he use to tour his nation of independent Gabon? A 1977 Stutz Royale, built off a Caddy chassis at the height of Stutz's superfly period. It is the best car imaginable for the "last of Africa's big men." Oh, and Bongo was 4'11". Read more about him and his car in our obituary.
Photo Credit: Stutz
Suggested By: McLarry
What's unbelievable: Boxer-turned-Chechen president Ramzam Kadyrov owns a $1.3 million dollar Lamborghini Reventon. His country is bitterly poor. Let that sink in for a second.
Photo Credit: DesignYouTrust
Suggested By: Senna MP4
What's unbelievable: We can imagine Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, Turmenistan's not-so-democratic president pounding on a table shouting "Chechnya has a Reventon? Get me A Veyron and get it fast!" We know he has a Veyron because he turned up to a car race in one, entered himself in the race, and then somehow won.
Photo Credit: AP
Suggested By: Telumektar
What's unbelievable: You kind of expect crooked presidents-for-life to buy up hypercars while their peasants starve. You don't expect a president to donate 85% of his salary, live in his own home and drive an old VW Beetle. That's what Uruguay's José Mujica does, having upgraded from his days as a senator. He rode a Vespa then. We would totally vote for a president who daily-drives an old Bug. He just seems trustworthy.
Photo Credit: Clubedofuscarn.com