Arab sheikhs had open-top 6x6 Range Rovers for falconry. The Pope had an armored G-Wagen known as , while wealthy inhabitants of Springfield could buy a Canyonero. In a parallel universe in 1977, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu ordered himself a pimped ARO, otherwise known as the best 4x4 that never made it to America.
Because the ARO 24/32 Series could seat up to nine people with ease, the communist regime had no problem turning one into a suitable parade car. Interestingly, Ceaușescu's 2.5-liter ARO 304s were rear-wheel drive instead of four, and the list of upgrades included a leather interior, power sunroof, air conditioning, and a whole lot more chrome all around. Supposedly, only four units were built.
After ARO did a facelift in 1985, Ceaușescu also moved on to the 306, which had a revised grille with dual headlights. That's the SUV he used during Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to Bucharest in 1987. Ceaușescu was ousted and executed just two year later.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ceaușescu's original SUV was confiscated by the Romanian state from Ovidiu Tender, a businessman who now for fraud and money laundering. Romania's National Fiscal Administration says the 1977 ARO 304 will be auctioned off on Jan. 31, with 45,000 miles and a starting price of $34,000.