Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity: Imagine Being Driven in a Dictator-Spec Limo by Jay Leno

If you had the chance to ride shotgun or get chauffeured by an automotive personality, who would it be? That's a tricky question for most car enthusiasts. In another lifetime, I'd choose Colin McRae. Still, if the opportunity came up today, I'd pick Jeremy Clarkson – the endless unfiltered repartee and heedless idioms would make for a memorable cruise.
2004 Maybach 62 10 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
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That opportunity came recently for Hoovies Garage's ever-enthusiastic host, Tyler Hoover. He got to drive the car collector/comedian's Mercedes-Benz 600. And more recently, he jumped on another opportunity to get chauffeured by Jay Leno himself – in a 2004 Maybach 62.

As one commenter put it in the comments section, the bigger flex is not having Leno chauffer him around but having the big-time car collector open the door and proceed to drive him around his city.

Now, we all know what both these cars are famous for. Both good and evil. They are at the helm of plushness when it comes to luxury cars. They also hold a dark status symbol – we are talking about kings and successions, dictators and tyrants. The Mercedes 600, in some parts of the globe, holds a sinister reputation as the oppressor's steed.

Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin Dada was known for his love for status – his Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman was a sight to behold among poor Ugandans in the 1970s. Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu, Chairman Mao, and Kim Jong-il, among other menacing names, are part of the list of previous owners of the Stuttgart-built 600 (long-wheelbase).

A golden opportunity

2004 Maybach 62
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
In a recent YouTube episode of Jay Leno's Garage, Tyler Hoover, of Hoovies Garage YouTube channel, got to ride in the streets of Burbank, California, with non-other than legend car collector and comedian Jay Leno behind the wheel of his Maybach 62.

Hoover got this 2004 Maybach 62 for $44,000, courtesy of Barret-Jackson auctions (90% off the original price of a new unit).

If Idi Amin Dada were still commanding the army of the Pearl of Africa (Uganda), the 2004 Maybach would probably have been part of his fleet.

That's because, at one time, the Maybach 62 was considered the best in its class, enjoying almost the same level of success as the Rolls-Royce. According to Jay Leno, driving out of a dealership with one of these pretty boys meant parting with over $500,000 and change. Today, that's about $800,000.

But don't let its laid-back lavish character fool you. This isn't the stretched-out limousine your parents rented on prom night. It packs a ton of heat under its swanky exterior. When it comes down to brute forward force – it'll bolt from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in 5 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph (250 kph).

All that's possible thanks to a twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V12 good for 543 hp (551 ps) and 664 lb-ft (900 Nm) of torque. All that power is channeled to the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission.

The Maybach 62 is a worthy Mercedes-Benz 600 successor

2004 Maybach 62
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno is known for his love of vintage cars, but halfway through the ride, he confessed the 2004 Maybach 62 is truly a Mercedes-Benz 600 successor.

Here's the truth. Many people think buying a 2004 Maybach 62 or any other top-end luxury car worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with more than 100,000 miles (160,934 kilometers) on the odometer is signing up for psych ward. And as Hoover found out, there's some truth in this. Maintenance costs on this automotive beauty require someone with deep pockets – or, more loosely, access to a country's national treasury.

He painfully discovered, the Maybach has a 600-amp water-cooled alternator that costs about $7,000 to replace. The air structs cost $4,000, the electro-chromatic roof costs nearly as much as a Tesla Model Y ($50,000), $15,000 for the brakes, and about $5,000 for a tune-up.

Maybach 62 prices dip once you hit the 100,000-mile mark

2004 Maybach 62
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
Due to the high maintenance cost, the Maybach 62 doesn't perform well on the used car market, especially if they've hit the 100K mile mark (160,934 kilometers).

Leno has a different opinion. He doesn't believe in the automotive market conception that 100,000 miles wear out an engine. He argues that wealthy owners take good care of their cars, and are often serviced at the dealer. And for that, Hoover got an excellent deal on this luxury car.

"If you pulled this engine out and took it apart, I think you'd find minimal wear," he said about Hoover's Maybach 62.

Hoover didn't hold back flaunting the luxury accessories in his Maybach 62. He spent much time showcasing his toy's luxury amenities to Jay Leno. And as you'd expect, the comedian/car collector was visibly impressed.

The 2004 Maybach 62 might be viewed as a car from a different era, but judging from the video, it rides smoother and looks as comfortable as a modern car. Simply put, this dictator-spec luxury car was far ahead of its time.

If you had a ton of cash to spend, would you spend it on a dictator-spec luxury car like a 2004 Maybach 62?

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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