Some people might say that he was a dictator, but that's not the truth. At least, he wasn't a dictator in a way you'd think. He was a leader that everyone loved, from almost all of citizens of former Yugoslavia to many other country leaders.
Marshal Josip Broz Tito was a very nice person, but more importantly an amazing politician, who always stood his ground and made Yugoslavia one of the most connected and strongest countries in the world. So, there's a good reason why many old people here today refer to him as "the greatest son of Yugoslavia".
Now, you might wonder where I'm going with all of this. Well, I just wanted to say something about our former leader, so that I can come to the most important part of this article, which is...Marshal Tito was a petrolhead.
In his collection, there were 85 cars in total, including: 13 Zastavas, 12 Cadillacs, 11 Mercedes, 8 ZIS models, 5 Fords, 2 Rolls-Royces (one was a gift from the Queen Elizabeth II), a Maybach, Lincoln Continental, Range Rover, Horch 951A, Packard Twelve (a gift from Joseph Stalin), few Chevy Bel Airs, bikes Tomos and Pretis, and many more. But, his most beloved beast was a very rare (and a very long) Mercedes.
An ultra rare Merc. Not for everyone
Tito entered history by having more Mercedes 600 Pullman models than anyone else in the world. Apart from the 6 "regular" ones, he had an ultra rare version of the Pullman, the 6-door Landaulet (also known as the "Presidential Landaulet"). Only 59 saw the light of day, but Mercedes made only 9 of them with 6 doors, which were usually bought by country leaders. Other notable owners were: Idi Amin, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul VI, Shah Reza Pahlavi...
The 1971 Pullman Landaulet was tailor made for Tito, and it had everything he needed when going to his official visits. Apart from a little fridge, in which he kept some of his fine scotch, Tito requested that Mercedes puts a shaving kit in, so that he could look good when he arrives at his destination. At that time, this Landaulet was one of the most comfortable cars in the world, and Tito used it often until his death in 1980.
Marshal Tito going through a street that carries his name (Tito's street in Sarajevo). Credit: Fokus.ba
Even though the car was quite big and heavy, its 6.0-litre V8 was producing 250 HP, which was enough for a top speed of 205 km/h (127 mph).
What happened to the car later?
In 1979, Tito wanted to order another Landaulet, but with a hidden side bar for an easier entrance (he was trying to hide his severe mobility and bad health). Unfortunately, that Mercedes was never delivered, since Tito died on 4th May 1980. But, his precious Landaulet had a nice owner history.
In 1989, the car appeared on sale in Norway, where it was a bought by a car-loving family. Later, in 2003, it was acquired by a lady in Munich, who drove it very often, showing it to the public and media. She held on to it until 2012, when she sold it to a collector Graham Dacre who imported the car to the UK a year later. He took it to the 2014 Salon Privé, where it won the "Fit for a King" class.
However, Dacre realized that this amazing car needs an owner who will have more time to take it to events. So in 2017, the Landaulet was offered at an auction for a staggering $3 million, making it the most expensive Landaulet in the world (similar examples from other dictators were going for around $250.000).
After the auction, the final price wasn't revealed, but I assume it wasn't far away from the asking price. However, the new owner didn't just get the car. He also got the Yugoslavian flags on the front wings, chauffeur's hat, and a coin of 395.000 Yugoslavian Dinars with an image of Tito on it. Mind due, whoever bought it didn't just buy a car. He bought an incredible piece of history, a car that represented power and style. Hopefully, the new owner is not keeping it locked up in some garage, but driving it as it was meant to be.