CARS

How much would someone pay for Merkel's old VW Golf? You'd be surprised

The Globe and Mail

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a debate before a parliamentary vote on a Greek bailout package in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, in Berlin , February 27, 2012. (THOMAS PETER/THOMAS PETER/REUTERS)

A 22-year-old white Volkswagen Golf with more than 190,000 kilometres on the road – and the German eBay seller wants at least $13,000?

You would have to be a real VW sentimentalist or a devotee of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who owned the car from 1990 to 1995, to be interested. The car is on sale through an eBay classified ad instead of auction.

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The car has generated more than 150 bids with a BBC report suggesting that bids are 200 times the car’s book value.

If the car goes for above the asking price, that’s because stranger things have happened. In 2005, a 1999 VW Golf once driven by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, sold for nearly $250,000.

Chancellor Merkel’s VW Golf can be seen photographed outside her official office in Berlin. The accident-damaged car was purchased a year ago by the seller, fitted with new body panels and freshly painted.

Ms. Merkel reportedly ordered a Trabant car, which is designed and built in East Germany. Upheaval and the collapse of the East German regime meant that her Trabant car never materialized.

Lucky for her.

“Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals,” according Time magazine, which ranked the East German car among the “worst cars of all time.”

Last year, a white 1977 Peugeot 504 that was driven by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he was mayor of Tehran reportedly received a bid of $1-million from an Arab country. Even with its sky-blue seats and a mere 37,000 kilometres on the road, that would have been considered an outlandish bid. The car eventually sold for $2.5 million with the money reportedly donated to charity.

Just imagine what Moammar Gadhafi’s turquoise Volkswagen Beetle would fetch today?

The former dictator drove the VW Beetle in the 1960s and it was among the few objects vandalized in Libya’s National Museum following the fall of Tripoli last year.

Perhaps the biggest fail in attempted celebrity car sales, as reported by the Huffington Post, happened earlier this year when an Illinois man posted – for a second time – President Barack Obama’s 2005 Chrysler 300C. Mr. Obama traded in the car, which had clocked just over 30,000 kilometres, for a Ford Escape Hybrid. The seller was looking for a minimum bid of $1-million. That was way above the book value of about $14,000.

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