A dictator is an autocratic leader who rules the country with an iron fist and disregards human rights, democracy or public opinion. He gets his control from pure force, terror and the oppression of everybody who dares to think or act differently. During the 20th century, the world has thoroughly changed.
New political concepts, such as communism and the fall of colonialism, as well as the founding of new countries and two world wars, have produced many local political and military leaders who forced their way to power and became dictators. On nearly every continent, there were at least a few leaders who declared themselves lifelong presidents and de facto, were absolute leaders of their countries.
As the defining invention of the 20th century, cars have always been a big part of a dictator’s protocol. It was important to show power and authority through the careful choice of automobiles in those motorcades. Besides that, a lot of dictators were true car enthusiasts; some of them were so influential that they helped start car companies. Since they had unlimited funds to spend on their passion, their private garages were the stuff of dreams. Even today, decades after angry mobs overthrew them from power, legends and myths continue to circle the automotive world.
Today, you are going to learn more about the rides of some of the world’s most famous dictators. Not all of them were bloodthirsty megalomaniacs who lived lavish lives on behalf of their tax-paying citizens, although most of them were. But all of them had absolute power and had a serious car addiction, which made them famous in the car world.
1. Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, Haiti
The story about “Baby Doc” is a common one. Jean-Claude was the son of “Papa Doc,” the Haitian dictator who died in 1971. So, his 19-year-old son was promoted to president of this tropical island. The teenage president didn’t have any formal knowledge about ruling the country or previous experience.
However, he stayed in office until 1986 when an angry mob of poor Haitian people overthrew his government, forcing him to flee to Paris. During his time as president of Haiti, “Baby Doc” allegedly stole over 500 million dollars from government funding and led a notoriously lavish lifestyle.
Since he was the youngest president in the world, Jean-Claude was fond of sports cars, especially Ferraris with the 356 GT 2+2 being his model of choice. Interestingly, this was the first car he bought, the day after he became the president in 1971.