By on February 27, 2013


A few days ago, I was at the International Defense Expo here in Abu Dhabi. It prides itself as “the most strategically important tri-service defence exhibition in the world.” Many tanks were on display, among them an armored Audi A8. I wanted to inspect that car a bit closer, when a man approached the white-haired product specialist of Audi. The man had a gold lame jacket, and he needed a haircut. They gave away free parabolic mikes at the AVIC booth, but being Chinese, it would only pick up the voice of the salesman. Here is the transcript.

Product specialist: “Mr.Baruth! Welcome to Abu Dhabi! If you are tired of lightweight cars, you have come to the right place!”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Angry husbands and ex-girlfriends…I see. Really? An entire PR department? Interesting. I understand how that could be a problem. An Audi A8 Security could certainly address your safety issues. Please, this way.

This is the 2013 Audi A8 Security; it is equipped with our famous W12 engine with just under 500 horsepower. We offer a V8 as well, that engine is rated at 414. The V8 gets 21 miles per gallon, but the W12 consumes slightly more at 17. We feel the W12 engine is perfectly matched to the armament.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “As a Phaeton owner, you certainly are very familiar with the W12, excellent. If I may show you some of the security features.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Of course the A8 Security offers protection to BR7. In the luxury “hard car,” or non-tactical armored vehicle market, no one has exceeded this rating. As you can see from the demo, the windows are multi-layered, polycarbonate, ballistic resistance class 10. The door utilized hardened steel and ceramics to achieve bullet resistance 9; so any pistol-wielding PR intern can be casually dismissed as you comfortably listen to your ironic Burt Bacharach. The entry and exit areas have layered features, so there are no seams for a jealous ex-lover to penetrate with a nail file, ice pick or even the standard NATO 7.62 round.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Additionally, the underside of the A8 Security is blast resistant, and is built with anti-magnetic plating. You can rest assured a frustrated former track day student will be unable to pull an Alexander Haig on you en route to Summit Point.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Other items of note include armor plating for the vehicle’s electronics and an optional emergency air system. This would be particularly helpful on your next drive to Los Angeles or even Cleveland. You may also enjoy a smoke extractor system should one of your future threats lady guests insist on smoking in your cabin.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Of course each of our A8 Security vehicles is manufactured in a separate location, guarded and secure. So should you encounter a Carrie Fisher-esque threat, she will be unable to research the weak points on your car, of which, as you can see there are none.”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “With your experience behind the wheel of many luxury vehicles, I can imagine that on occasion you might enjoy being chauffeured. If I may call your attention to the interior of the A8 Security; the exterior dimensions make it the longest vehicle in the high-security segment and this translates to more interior room. The seats have available heat and massage options, as well as a footrest made available by moving the front passenger seat forward and folding it from the back. Should you reconfigure the seat for more …um-hem, shall we say…’rambunctious’ activities with one of your lady friends, there is a memory function. Very popular in the Saudi Arabian market … who has time to remember all the positions, right?”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “Did you say flash bang? Very funny! Speaking of which, the price is …”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “… of course, of course, how gauche of me. I you had to ask and all that. We will settle with your assistant. Excellent! A perfect choice! If I may escort you to our reception area we can set about the process of customizing your new A8 Security to your specifications…”

Baruth: [Unintelligible.]

Product specialist: “…I am sorry, this is quite embarrassing, but I do need to take this phone call…

…Hello…mmmhmmm…I see…Yes, he is right here…but he…it’s just… Wie bitte? Natürlich, ich verstehe. Alles klar. Kein Problem. Machen wir. Tschau mit au. Tschö mit ö. Wiedersehn mit iedersehn.”

Product specialist: “…Mr. Baruth, this is a bit embarrassing, but I was unaware it was the Porsche PR department. I am sure you know about our tangled management roots, I am afraid I will be unable to sell you a secure vehicle today. Perhaps the folks at Lincoln can help you out.”

Baruth: [Redacted.]

Product specialist: “Now, now, Mr. Baruth. How do they say? Panther love, ja! Have a safe trip home, a very safe trip.”

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14 Comments on “Abu Dhabi Dispatches: How I Nearly Met Jack Baruth At The International Defense Expo...”

  • avatar
    The Doctor

  • avatar

    And why would anyone in the civilized world care what happens in Abu Dhabi?

    As soon as the oil runs out these countries will return to their cave roots.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Would those cave roots be anything like blind jingoism and angry racism? I ask because from what I understand, UAE is a clear regional ally, and Abu Dhabi a progressive, multi-cultural, modern city and a center of finance, business and culture.

      • 0 avatar

        OK, lets try to ignore my angry racist, jingostic post and look at in a clear minded logical way.

        And why would anyone in the civilized world care what happens in Abu Dhabi?

        1. Abu Dhabi is a center of automotive design?
        2. Abu Dhabi is renown for its automotive innovation?
        3. Abu Dhabi is a world class automotive manufacturer?
        4. Abu Dhabi is a breeding ground for world class drivers?
        5. Abu Dhabi is home to oil rich men who have somehow convinced ($$$) TTAC
        that they are “just like us”?

        I vote for #5.

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          Perhaps we should care about the people of Abu Dhabi because it seems they’re trying their best to care about us.

          “When a mile-wide tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., in 2011, 161 people died and the town was left in ruins.

          “Two weeks after the tornado, the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, D.C., contacted Joplin school officials asking how the UAE could help rebuild Joplin’s high school and its main hospital, which were both torn apart by the storm.”

          You can read more about how these cave-dwelling oil-rich men convince us they’re “just like us” by visiting this website…

          By the way I have a question for Bertel…Eggshen seems to think TTAC was convinced ($$$) the oil rich men of Abu Dhabi are just like us, and implied that perhaps TTAC received some funds for good press. So how much money did you get?

    • 0 avatar

      The middle east/gulf region has had progressive, democratic governments, but they’ve been overthrown by the US and replaced with puppet dictators.

      E.g. (why I don’t like Ike):'%C3%A9tat

    • 0 avatar

      We shouldn’t . But you americans might be interested.

  • avatar

    I think if we got Baruth and Charlie Sheen in the same room, the raw masculinity combined with the power of Tiger Blood would turn the whole area into a beer commercial (complete with scantily clad babes) for at least a three block radius.

  • avatar

    Free booze for the press in Abu Dhabi?

  • avatar

    I knew light armor was an option for the big Germans, but for serious protection it got outsourced to specialist firms. Is this still true?

    Also, I wouldn’t mind hearing about those tanks; in some ways the world of tanks is a lot like the world of cars. At Abu Dhabi are they still flogging aftermarket kits for T-72s, or is everybody just shopping for modern western tanks?

  • avatar

    Did the golden hoodie just get called lame?

  • avatar

    Well, I enjoyed that. It was pretty funny. Can’t wait to see Baruth’s reaction :).

    I’m not sure if I understand the resentment towards Dubai as a country. It has no oil. It is the closest thing the Middle East has to a Westernized counry. You can buy alcohol, and drugs, and pretty much anything else. Fortunes have been made and lost there. And many automakers near and dear to TTAC members get a healthy chunk of their sales from Dubai residents.

    And they do a lot of cool, over the top stuff. As shown in this video, created by a few of my Facebook friends who are filmmakers. Filmmakers sponsored by the Crown Prince of Dubai. If you wanted to think the Crown Prince of Dubai has pretty much unlimited resources, well, this video is not going to disillusion you. The fireworks display lovingly filmed in the first half of the video cost about US$10 million to produce, and was celebrating the opening of the $1 billion Burj tower.

    I asked my friend how much it would cost for me to have a similar trip, and the answer was that the access to the various resources needed to produce the video would be very difficult to arrange for anyone not in that elite group already. But obviously tens of thousands of dollars a minute is probably a low estimate of what that cost to produce.

    I suppose that lifestyle is why people are so negative about the place, but again, bear in mind that it helps to keep a lot of automakers we all care about in business. If my memory serves, Aston Martin was rescued by some folks in Dubai who subsequently sold it. Ferraris, Mercedes, Lamborginis: All of these cars are bought at enormous (by their standards) volumes in Dubai, and that helps keep these companies solvent so they can make everyone great cars.

    So I’m happy to see a glimpse into a very different, strange and wealthy world. I’d love to visit there someday, even if I’m unlikely to skydive. A fascinating place, and I personally want to see more of it.


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