That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

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Thread: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

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    News Contributor Premium Member EJD1984's Avatar
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    That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    We Got Him: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein
    The legend of the special-order "Iraqi Taxi" Chevrolet Malibus—and Saddam's complaints about them.
    Drive
    By Peter Holderith
    July 27 2020



    The international reputation of American carmakers during the Malaise Era—the period of successive oil crises, regulation-choked engines and general crap quality lasting from 1973 to the mid-1980s—was, in a word, bad. So bad that former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein once nixed a deal to buy 25,000 specially-built 1981 Chevrolet Malibus from General Motors after the first 12,500 reportedly arrived in Iraq riddled with defects, inadvertently creating a now-rare piece of automotive history in the process.

    Unfortunately, the Iraqi government claimed the cars were total lemons. Between a litany of reported build quality issues and a notoriously sticky clutch on the Saginaw three-speed transmission, well... I think a reporter from the CBC put it best at the time: "They've been running so badly and breaking so often, that the Iraqis aren't much interesting in having 12,500 more." Saddam called off the deal.

    None of this is verified, but in the decades since there's been open speculation that Saddam simply axed the deal to save money as the horrific, eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War heated up.

    Back in Canada, the Iraqi Taxi Malibus were especially desirable to GM factory workers, who knew that there was actually little (if anything) wrong with most of the cars. Demand was high and the cars quickly sold. So what began for GM as a business nightmare probably ended better than the company expected.
    *Full Article at Link

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Interesting piece, thanks EDJ.

    The article mentions Saddam's budget issues. Another downside explaining "poor quality" might be poor maintenance issues from the low-tech Iraqi wrench-spinners.

    That GM factory rats themselves wanted these cars speaks volumes.
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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Would you like a ride in one with Saddam Goons driving?
    Last edited by mbukukanyau; 07-28-2020 at 01:16 PM.

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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    Interesting piece, thanks EDJ.

    The article mentions Saddam's budget issues. Another downside explaining "poor quality" might be poor maintenance issues from the low-tech Iraqi wrench-spinners.

    That GM factory rats themselves wanted these cars speaks volumes.
    I find the story kind of funny and yes I believe the Iraqi lack of know how probably was the achilles' heel in it all.

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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Probably a little of everything - quality issues, lack of maintenance skills and the need to conserve cash. Neat story! All the crazy things going on behind the scenes that we don't know about!

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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    I had one of them "iraqi taxis"
    it was a "great" car for a slow V6 with almost 4 to 1 gearing
    there was NO emissions on it and was designed for leaded petrol
    the speedo was in KPH only and at 100 and higher was printed in RED and a buzzer would sound going over 100 KPH

    it is one of the cars from my young driving time I wish I kept

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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    I had one of them "iraqi taxis"
    it was a "great" car for a slow V6 with almost 4 to 1 gearing
    there was NO emissions on it and was designed for leaded petrol
    the speedo was in KPH only and at 100 and higher was printed in RED and a buzzer would sound going over 100 KPH

    it is one of the cars from my young driving time I wish I kept
    100 KPH, man.. that is fast

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    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 richmond2000's Avatar
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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    100 KPH, man.. that is fast
    assume the national speed limit - and I doubt I want to "mess" with Iraqis "finest"

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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Terrible Malibus???? I thought Saddam died in 2006, there's no way he could've driven a 2013 Malibu if he were dead for 7 years
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    Re: That Time GM Sold 12,500 Terrible Chevy Malibus to Saddam Hussein

    Quote Originally Posted by sdotjeezy View Post
    Terrible Malibus???? I thought Saddam died in 2006, there's no way he could've driven a 2013 Malibu if he were dead for 7 years
    ?? + .

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