Saturday, September 05, 2009

Libyan Rocket: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi designs a "safe" car

This is one of the more interesting newsworthy pieces I have read (Saab aside) in automotive news for months (article below).

Couple things going on here.

How did a government official of Libya design a car that is this capable and looks this good?

More importantly, road traffic deaths account for 2.2% (1.27 million) of the worlds deaths (with an even higher percentage occurring in middle income countries). According to the article "the leader spent so many hours of his valuable time thinking of an effective solution" to this problem. The "Libyan Rocket" car is his solution. But is there not something fundamentally wrong with this solution?

A safer car can only save so many lives when it is cars causing the deaths.

After doing some more research, these deaths car related deaths in Libya are largely attributed to the high number of old and poorly maintained cars on the road. I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say this is the case because people cannot afford to buy new cars much less maintain the ones they own. For a country that has had no railroads in operation since 1965, I think that would be a better place to start.

Maybe my views are tainted because we have such a great public transit system and are so bicycle friendly in Portland.

Libyan Rocket: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi designs a "safe" car:

Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Rocket - Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been a big month for Libya. First, convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was returned to the northern African nation by the new Scottish government because he's dying of prostate cancer. Second, Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution (aka Muammar Gaddafi) designed a car. Called the Saroukh el-Jamahiriya (Libyan Rocket), Gaddafi's car seats five, has a 230-hp V6 and the nose and tail of a rocket. While different, it's not entirely terrible. Kinda like how the 2024 Honda Civic might look. Hey Muammar, quit your day job.

Launched at
a conference called the Organization of African Unity and organized by Colonel Gaddafi, the Rocket is set to be be produced in Tripoli, Libya's capital where a factory is set to be built next month. Why is Libya building a car, and why did Col. Gaddafi design it? Safety. In response to the high numbers of people killed and injured annually on Libya's roads, Gaddafi had to act. Says a spokeshole, 'The leader spent so many hours of his valuable time thinking of an effective solution. It is the safest car produced anywhere.'

How so safe? We're not entirely sure, the Libyan Rocket does come with airbags, an 'electronic defense system' (
no idea) and collapsible bumpers that supposedly help out in a crash. Somehow we don't think Volvo's losing any sleep. However, the spokeshole goes on to say, 'The invention of the safest car in the world is proof that the Libyan revolution is built on the happiness of man.' We were wondering. Hat tip to Peter



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