Along with silly hats, cults of personality, secret police, rigged elections, grandiose titles and chests full of fake medals, dictators, military strongmen and ordinary despots have always had a fascination with powerful and expensive automobiles. Studebaker even marketed a car called the Studebaker Dictator from 1927-37, before guys like Tojo, Mussolini and Sacha Baron Cohen gave the dictator business a black eye.
Over the next few weeks we'll publish the favorite cars of heads of state who were as likely to win humanitarian of the year as they were a free election:
Number 1. The Shah of Iran (Iran, 1941-1979):
To the extent that people remember the Shah at all, they remember the feeble, unibrowed 1970s Shah who always seemed to sport a pair of comically large Swifty Lazar glasses. But from 1941 until his overthrow in 1979, the Shah ruled Iran with an iron fist that included a brutal secret police force and an explosive former beauty queen for an empress. Like so many others of his ilk, the Shah’s tastes ran toward expensive Italian exotics. His favorite was rumored to be his coachbuilt Maserati 5000.
Words by Marcus Atkinson, MD of Classic Car Insurances Specialists Hagerty
Check back tomorrow for Rafael Trujillo's favourite four wheeler.