Last night I was searching for a NASCAR-style Hurst Shifter, similar to one that I have packed away in storage somewhere. So I googled “NASCAR SHIFT KNOB” and that’s when I discovered that you can buy a shift knob that looks like Osama Bin Laden’s head:
For $18.45, you can shift gears using the likeness of the Saudi-born terrorist who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3000 people in 2001 and set in motion a series of events that continue to define our era.
In the years immediately following the attacks quite a few enterprising capitalists rushed to meet market demand for Bin Laden merchandise. Of course in the US, the shirts, hats, paper targets and ties mostly expressed anti-Bin Laden sentiment, but in parts of the world where US empire was unpopular, pro-Bin Laden merchandise was available as well. It’s hard to say how long this particular product has been on the market, I’ve certainly never seen one in the wild.
Whether or not you or your passengers find the Bin Laden shift knob tasteful, or funny or whatever, it seems ergonomically sub-optimal. In this review photo from definitely real Wish customer Keith Nugtidy it looks quite a bit larger than I would have expected. Now that I look, it’s listed at three and three quarter inches tall—make sure you take your measurements before you order.
That said, it does carry a 4.5 star rating after 37 reviews, with customer Lochlan saying “It a great product 10 out of 10.” I assume Wish has stringent standards for verifying these reviews.
It comes with the necessary hardware to mount the knob on a variety of shift levers and a hex key for those who plan to make a DIY project out of it.
You may recall another more grotesque Bin Laden shifter that was one of many macabre souvenirs produced in the delirious wake of Bin Laden’s killing in 2011. Though they were limited to 5000 units, they’re still available a decade later for real sickos.