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This Is Surely the Most Exciting Car Driven by a German Diplomat

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author photo by Doug DeMuro April 2017

Readers of Oversteer, I've found the single most interesting automobile currently driven by a German diplomat anywhere in the world. It's a Buick Roadmaster station wagon, and it's the last car I'd ever expect a German diplomat to drive.

I'll start from the beginning. When you're walking around Washington, D.C., you often encounter vehicles owned by diplomats. You can tell these apart from normal vehicles owned by normal American humans because they have "Diplomat" license plates, issued by the State Department, which are a very distinctive shade of light blue.

Now, the cars typically owned by diplomats are tremendously dull and uninteresting, because these people a) are usually low-level members of the diplomatic staff, with a job title of something like Macedonian Ambassador for Corn and Corn Products, so they don't make that much money, and also b) don't want to be seen driving around in flashy cars, since they're usually government employees. There are exceptions to this, but this is the general rule, and you typically see diplomatic plates on Toyotas and Hondas and Volvos and Chevys -- and maybe some Mercedes-Benz models when it's actually the ambassador's vehicle.

So imagine my surprise when I'm walking down the street the other day in D.C., and I stumble upon this: an enormous, old, uniquely American Buick Roadmaster that's approximately the size of a private airfield...bearing diplomatic license plates. This is not your usual Hyundai Elantra used by the Korean Ambassador for Toothpick Relations. This is a big, honkin', V8-powered muscle wagon, with a cargo area that could swallow a patio umbrella.

The other cool thing about these diplomatic license plates is that you can look up what country they're from using various websites that "decode" the plates. Since I'm down in D.C. fairly often, and I'm constantly encountering these things on the road; I've downloaded this list to my phone so I can play "guess the country" when I see a diplomat driving around. So in this case, I pulled out my trusty list, I looked it up, and...Germany.

Now, I worked with German people for many years, and I have to admit this surprises me. Normally, they drive well-engineered, highly efficient vehicles almost exclusively manufactured in Germany. They're usually silver. They're usually small. A silver, impeccably maintained, diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf is almost like the German calling card.

And yet, here we have this one: a German diplomat bucking the trend, with a giant mid-'90s Buick Roadmaster wagon with wood paneling down the side. I chuckled when I discovered the country, and I'm still laughing about it. Kudos to the one crazy German diplomat here in America: the kooky, crazy, V8-drivin' German Ambassador for Western Hemisphere Ceiling Fan Awareness.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This Is Surely the Most Exciting Car Driven by a German Diplomat - Autotrader