Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Became of Gaddafi's "Rocket Car?"

The current world's most famous dead guy, Muammar Gaddafi, was not only an eccentric fashion icon for much of his 40-years as ruler of the Libyan Revolution, but also for being bat-shit crazy as evidenced by his Fuhrer-like interest in creating a "people's car" for the oppressed Libyan population. Dubbed the "Saroukh el-Jamahiriya" (Libyan Rocket), the prototype was said to have been designed by Gaddafi himself but built by the European firm, Tesco TS, and cost close to $3-million to produce just this one example. Unlike the vehicle Hitler was responsible for, the Volkswagen Beetle, which went on to become one of the most important automobiles in history, the Libyan Rocket seems destined to remain an automotive footnote at best.

Pitched as a state-of-the-art transport that is suspiciously also claimed to be "the safest car in the world" because of features like "numerous airbags, an inbuilt electronic defense system, and a collapsible bumper", you know, like every car made since 1995 has. Well, I'm not so sure what is meant by "electronic defense system," I assume it means electronic nannies for traction, braking, etc., but then again, maybe the big evolution in car design was placing surface to air missiles under the hood; not likely but certainly not out of the realm of possibility for a tainted brain like Gaddafi's.

Choose for yourself, would this vehicle have been the next big thing ready to rival Volvo, Saab and Mercedes-Benz for safety achievements, or simply the delusional dreams of a madman bent on spending as much of his people's financial resources on bringing his own whims and pleasures to life at any cost? It seems the people of Libya have made up their minds and answered that question with absolute clarity. But what about the car? Where is it today and what will become of it? We know that Gaddafi's Fiat 500-based electric car, coincidentally painted "electric green," was looted when Tripoli fell to the rebel forces and is undoubtedly the centerpiece in some lucky bastard's living room right now, so did the Rocket Car meet the same fate?

"Libyan Rocket" at introduction.

Gaddafi's custom modified electric Fiat 500 being "liberated" by rebels.

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