The state car assigned to Fidel V. Ramos when he was still the country’s chief executive must be getting special attention at the Presidential Car Museum since news of his death broke Sunday, July 31.
Here are a few things we found out about Ramos’ presidential car, a 1986 Mercedes Benz 500 SEL—the master tactician’s personal choice and the preference as well of his predecessor, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino during her time at the Palace. The car was also previously assigned to Aquino’s VP Salvador “Doy” Laurel, adds the write up that accompanies the display at the QC car museum.
Dignified but grand at the same time, an elegant entrance-maker, the vehicle reflected the kind of character the Philippines’ 12th President, a former military man, possessed: he meant serious business and dealt with issues with the least bit of fuss (and with his trademark rolled up sleeves).
While the Mercedes Benz 500 SEL Guard is the first production armored car from the German automotive company, it is said to be not as heavily armored as Aquino’s S Class model—outfitted as it is with a thinner bulletproof glass. The 500 SEL is, however, equipped with an exclusive switchboard feature for lights and sirens, plus a button for fuses and control modules.
Once a trusted vehicle of Germany’s counter-terrorism contingent, units of the luxury car model are said to have been built from 1979 to 1991. Perhaps testament to the car’s understated glamour and its image as protector extraordinaire is the fact that the Mercedes Benz 500 SEL has figured in two James Bond movies—“A View to A Kill” (1985) and “Golden Eye” (1995)—albeit not driven by Bond himself.
If you want to see the other state cars of former Philippine presidents, visit the Presidential Car Museum at the Quezon Memorial Circle.