August 25, 2011

Gaddafi's Green machine

(photo AP/Sergey Ponomarev)

Green has always been the color of choice for the wacky soon to be ex Libyan strongman: Green book, Green flag, lots of greenbacks stashed under the mattress I'm sure but, an electric car?

You have may have seen the wire picture of a green and gold pimped out Fiat 500 captured by rebels in Tripoli this week.
Gaddafi is known to have an extensive exotic car collection, including at least one Veyron. You would imagine the dictator of an oil rich country where most people live in poverty would but who knew he had a thing about electric cars? Apparently he had many and the green and gold FIAT is said to have been his favorite.

(1914 ALFA 40/60hp Aerodinamica "Siluro Ricotti" built by Castagna)

The car was built by the famed Milanese coach builder Castagna. In business since the mid 1800s, Castagna is known for building pretty much whatever you can think up and have money to buy. The Libyan leader had some very particular requests for his green machine. Find out more after the jump.

The 500 was commissioned anonymously in June 2009 but when the spec sheet came in, it did not take long for Castagna to figure out who the buyer might be.
Ordered with full options, nautical teak wood and cream leather interior with green stitching, sand colored top and a metallic green and gold paint job, it had to be ready by September.

It is said to be powered by a 34kW engine running on lithium batteries good for a top speed of 100 mph and a range of 160 miles.
As you would imagine, Muammar is a man who needs to get places fast so he specified that the car needed ultra fast charging. Castagna provided two enormous charging machines, sourced in Sweden, which cost as much as the car itself and can fully recharge the batteries in ten minutes (...yes and Quaddafi has not been defeated, he is simply lulling the rebels into a false sense of security!).

The car would not of course wear a FIAT badge but a custom made malachite emblem depicting Africa and Gaddafi's Green Book. Tasteful.

One last detail. The car has does have a gas tank, not for propelling the car but to power a generator for the oversized air conditioning compressor, Those Romanian nurses did not like the heat!

The car was delivered on time, final price, 100000 Euro for the car, 100000 euro for the charging stations.

Bad news for coach builders that eccentric third world dictators are on the outs...

(Corriere della Sera/Castagna Automobili)


  1. Wow, if he had bought a Tesla for that he still wouldn't have gotten delivery, embargo or not.

  2. LOL, Italian get it done, two months and boom ..oh wait :)

  3. A Veyron you say? Can't wait to see that being trotted down the street by a forklift, a la, Ben Ali's Ferrari in Tunisia.


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