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Remembering the cars of Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela, one of the most recognised names on the planet, a struggle icon, an inspiration to billions and a man who left a legacy worth preserving for our great nation. Madiba wasn’t the biggest car guy from what we’ve unearthed, but to be honest, during the time he was free from prison he had more important things to do than pursue a passion for the automotive. That didn’t mean that he didn’t ride in style though.

Mr Mandela was driven, in more ways than one, with pictures of the icon sitting in the backseat of various cars throughout the years. One of the more famous cars is of course the Toyota Cressida that took Madiba to freedom from the Victor Verster prison in Paarl back in 1990. The car was allegedly sold after that, at book value, meaning someone likely owns a piece of automotive history and doesn’t even know it.

Tata also received a gift from Mercedes-Benz South Africa when he was released from his 27 year stint in prison. The gift came in the form of a red W126 S-Class, built with pride by workers at the East London manufacturing plant, with parts donated by Mercedes-Benz. Apparently Mandela said that the colour of the vehicle would be a reminder of the blood spilled by South Africans in the battle. The car now stands at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

Being one of the most important people on the planet for a decade or so means that you’re likely going to need protection and that’s where the BMW 760Li Security Edition came in. Mandela was escorted around in this bullet-proof V12 monster between 2004-2009 while he was involved in an HIV/Aids campaign.

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