Inside Cocaine Kingpin Pablo Escobar’s Amazing Car Collection
Evidently, El Señor’s thirst for blood didn’t interfere with his taste in cars.
The world’s largest drug dealer met a spectacular, bullet-riddled demise 22 years ago today. As you’d expect of a murderous cocaine czar, Pablo Escobar lived fast and aggressively. Luckily for avid collectors, Pablo was seventh wealthiest man in the world, and had ample scratch (he once burned $3 million in cash to keep his daughter warm) to globally source an impeccable fleet of wheels that embodied similar attributes. Dude put the car in cartel.
Here, our favorites from his eclectic collection:
10. 1972 Mercedes S600 Pullman
There’s no better way express opulence and class than a stretched Merc. Back in the day, this 6.3-liter V8 powered limo was the preferred means of transport for innumerable heads of state. Since Escobar fancied himself the unofficial president of Colombia, it’s no surprise he snagged one of these. Destroyed by the rival Cali Cartel during a bombing of his Medellin home in 1988, the blackened shell was shipped to his next estate, Hacienda Napoles, where it was displayed as a sign of defiance to his foes.
9. 1964 Porsche 356
Rumor has it this coveted German speedster was Don Pablo’s most beloved car, despite initial complaints about an insufficient engine. It didn’t take long for Escobar to warm up to the rear-engined coupe’s 75 ponies. Demolished in the aforementioned Cali bombing, the rusty 356 still resides at the Hacienda Napoles, as part of a macabre museum, near a plaque inscribed: “Escobar’s luxury car collection was a symbol of ostentation and his leadership in the underworld. It was the first to suffer the consequences of multiple wars. Only these scraps remain.”
8. Toyota Land Cruiser
Unrepentant, bloodthirsty psychopaths seem to gravitate towards Toyotas and Escobar was no exception. He outfitted his private militia with a fleet of FJs, their stellar off-road capabilities adept at navigating the unpredictable terrain of Colombia’s preferred smuggling routes. Netflix’s Narcos, based on Escobar’s rise and downfall, accurately shows these workhorses in action often, and makes another interesting note. Land Cruisers were too expensive for the average, impoverished Colombian, so cartel soldiers rocking them stuck out like a sore thumb. The DEA grew wise and sicced a surveillance plane on any FJ they encountered, able to connect more dots between traffickers as a result.
7. Mercedes 190SL Roadster
While it’s reputed Escobar had a 300SL, the remains instead look to be a 190, given the lack of side vents behind the front fenders. Another victim of the Cali Cartel explosion, this drop top probably didn’t handle undulating Medellin back roads well, but must’ve been a dream on the asphalt.
6. 1928 Cadillac V8 Town Sedan
Escobar picked up this classic piece of Americana in homage to Al Capone, who famously owned one. The drug don took great care to refute speculation he’d purchased the infamous bootlegger’s very ride, though he did want an authentic 20’s mobster patina in the form of bullet holes. Escobar is purported to have personally pumped lead into the side of the Caddy to achieve the desired effect.
5. 1946 DeSoto
This American marque was brought to market as a sub-division of Chrysler, named for and marketed via an image of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. There were two variants, the entry-level Deluxe and the more lavish Custom, though both used an L-head 236.7 V6 powerplant that generated 109 horsepower. Safe to assume Escobar opted for the upscale Custom.
4. 1978 Renault 4
This no-frills French-designed hatchback was manufactured, in part, in Envigado, Colombia and was (and still is) rather omnipresent in Colombia. With 1,100cc, a hot hatch this wasn’t. Still, Escobar used one to campaign in the 1979 Renault Cup, his first foray into racing. He may have been good driving 80% of the world’s cocaine distribution but Escobar was shit behind an actual wheel. His paltry results didn’t deter him from continuing on, bringing a little drug war mindset to the race track. Allegations abounded that he sabotaged competitors’ cars and had tacks thrown on the course.
3. 1978 Simca 1000
This rear-engined, rear-wheeled little French number was actually born in Italy, under guidance from Fiat. The gas tank was tucked in the back, giving this little baguette a 35/65 front/rear weight distribution. That meant a delightfully agile and responsive front end, capable of handling oversteer on twisty roads. Like Fiat, rally and race variants were tuned by Abarth, and Escobar used one of these with cousin Gustavo Gaviria and their team Deposit Cundinamarca to lose in the Marlboro Cup.
2. Porsche 935V
Tired of piloting diminutive French matchbox cars, Escobar decided to focus on powerful coupes that could handle a hillclimb as adroitly as they could an endurance race. After the German champion that is the slant nose 935 took top honors at the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans, Escobar picked up the precise model, a 3.0 liter turbocharged flat-six which churned out 560 horsepower. His first order of business? Slapping his name on the windshield.
1. 1974 Porsche 911 RSR
This may be the finest auto Escobar owned because it comes with pedigree papers. One of 15 in existence, this is the very racebomb F1 and Indy darling Emerson Fittipaldi used in the inaugural International Race of Champions (IROC). Fittipaldi took pole in qualifying, though was docked ten positions for a late arrival to a driver’s meeting. Later it would be DQ’d after Fittipaldi ran off and punctured the fuel tank. Repaired, it was a reserve IROC car until Konrad Racing ultimately sold the 3.0L Butterfly-powered yellow bee to Escobar, who promptly added a sizeable front splitter and massive wing. Upon re-emerging in America, it was restored to original IROC specs and sold at auction in 2012 for $875,000.