Pablo Escobar’s cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.

Share this article

Pablo Escobar wasn’t just any drug lord, he was (probably) the richest ever and it’s not a secret that Pablo Escobar’s cars were expensive and his collection was massive. Pablo was so fond of four-wheelers that he even became an amateur race car driver taking part in Copa Renault where he finished 4th in the championship. There were many race cars in his collection like the 1974 Porsche 935 IROC RSR which Pablo Escobar bought in 1978.

Oh, and his criminal career started with vehicles as he used to sell stolen cars. In 1974 he was caught with a stolen Renault and detained but the charges were dropped as he had convinced the police he had instead bought the car in good faith. While detained he met Alfredo Gomez who was in the smuggling business and jumpstarted Pablo’s career.

The Pablo Escobar car collection

  • Porsche 911 IROC RSR (1974) with a 935 body
  • Porsche 911 Targa (1973)
  • Porsche 356A
  • Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
  • Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan (1928)
  • DeSoto S8
  • Rolls Royce Phantom I
  • Renault 4
  • Simca 1000
  • Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, FJ60, FJ62

+ tens if not hundreds of other unidentified vehicles

The Toyota land Cruisers were very popular in the drug business during the 70s to 90s and were known as “Narcoyotas” during that time. It was common to spot a whole fleet of them in muddy Colombia driving in sketchy areas which in turn actually helped police as they became easy to spot.

Out of all the vehicles in the Pablo Escobar car collection, the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman is the most extravagant. This model was especially popular with dictators as well and suited Mr. Escobar well.

Pablo Escobar also shot his Cadillac to make it look like Al Capone’s.

Today, the value of Pablo Escobar’s cars would be tens of million of dollars, 40+ sports cars were found in one of his properties and most of them were burned down by rival cartels. The lion’s share comes from the RSR which goes for around 2 million dollars and was recently put up for an auction by Sotheby’s. The other expensive cars would be the 300 SL Merc’s which were around 70-100 thousand dollars new but would be well into the millions today as well. Also, the Cadillac and Rolls-Royce would fetch a huge dollar. Pablo Escobar is also rumored to have owned a Lamborghini LM002.

Mr. Escobar also loved motorcycles and he was a fan of Harley-Davidson and bought one which was previously owned by Frank Sinatra himself.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Pablo Escobar in a motorcycle

Other types of transport Pablo owned were submarines, boats and planes mainly for drug smuggling but he also occasionally flew with a private plane, sometimes to vacay or to do business.

The 911 RSR that looked like a 935

The most widely know car of Pablo is the 911 which was raced by the Brazilian F1 champ, Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974 at the IROC then with a Safari Beige body paint.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Porsche 911 IROC RSR raced by E. Fittipaldi

IROC – Internation Race of Champions was an event where 12 invited drivers competed with an identical stock car. Drivers were invited from series such as Formula 1, IndyCar and Can-Am. In 1974 they raced with the 315bhp 3.0-liter 911, fifteen of them were made in Germany specifically for the event.

After IROC the car was sold to a private collector who used it in different races and later sold it to Pablo Escobar.

Pablo Escobar's cars and Porsche 911
Pablo’s 911 before he owned it in Sebring 12 hour endurance race

In Pablo’s hands, the car was modified to look like a 935 with the Martini livery. His cousin’s company’s “Bicicletas Ositto” stickers can be seen plastered on the car as well.

pablo Escobar 911 iroc rsr
The infamous 911 IROC RSR owned by Pablo Escobar with a 935 body kit

Pablo Escobar’s racing career

Pablo’s racing career started in the late 70s when the Renault 4 became very popular in Colombia. This little unassuming 24 horsepower car was adopted by the people and it became the most popular model. The racing series Copa Renault 4 was made for it and Escobar was one of the competitors in the 1979 season in the amateur division. Since many other participants were also related to drug traffickers, the series was jokingly called the “Coca Renault”. Escobar supported the development of local race tracks and drivers as well.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Pablo Escobar’s Renault 4 on the grid

Pablo’s highest position in the championship standings was 2nd, but typically for Pablo, he had some unfair advantages. Pablo Escobar’s car was more powerful and while he lost time in corners he was still able to catch and pass people in the straights. Pablo also had unlimited spare parts and would pull up to events with 4 cars, one for himself, one for his cousin (who was also in the team), and 2 other cars just in case something would happen.

At other times Pablo would come up with ways to sabotage his rivals. One time he used his connections in the police to hold up the fastest driver Alvaro Mejia. The police stopped Mejia to perform checks on him so he would be late to the race. Another thing they would do was throw nails and spikes on the tracks to stop other racers.

He ended the season placed 4th but he didn’t take part in the last 3 races. Had he done so, he could’ve contested for the top place in the championship. When asked by journalists about his success on the track Pablo replied: “I can’t deny it, life smiles at me, I’m a lucky man“.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Championship positions, Pablo 4th with 40.5 points
Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Poster with Pablo’s car (70) and his cousin Gustavo Gaviria’s (71)

Pablo was sponsored by his brothe’s company “Bicicletas Ositto” as well as “Depósitos Cundinamarca” and wore the number 70. Fun fact, before races Pablo would smoke Marijuana, he felt it enhances his performance. He was also the only driver that would arrive with a helicopter and after the race offer everyone meals and champagne.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Pablo Escobar with a trophy from the Copa Renault

Pablo later used his Porsche to take part of hillclimb events as well. His cousin Gustavo also has a race-spec Porsche (number 23 on the picture) which looks identical to Pablo’s but there’s no information about that car.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Pablo Escobar and Gustavo Gaviria in Porsche 911s

He also raced in the Marlboro Cup with the Simca. Read about the Marlboro livery.

Pablo Escobar Simca car
Pablo Escobar nexto to his crashed race car.

Sponsoring Ricardo Londoño

Ricardo, nicknamed “Cuchilla” (Blade) was a talented Colombian racing driver with dreams of racing in Formula 1. Because getting funding for a racing career was very hard at that time Ricardo befriended the Medellín Cartel alongside Pablo Escobar. Since Pablo had a passion for motorsports the relationship was very good. As a friend of the cartel Ricardo’s international career had a better outlook thanks to the drug money.

Ricardo Londoño started in the USA, with the first race being the Sebring 12 hour race with a Porsche 935. It was part of the IMSA GT Championship and he raced there during the 80s as well. Another series he took part in was the 1980s Can-Am season. Later he moved to europe to compete in the British Aurora series from which he made connections to get into Formula 1.

Formula 1

In 1981 Ricardo got the chance to drive for the British Ensign Racing Team. The team was in dire financial troubles and didn’t say no to drug money. It was the 2. round in Brazil on the Jacarepaguá track. But since he lacked the superlicense, his eligibility to race wasn’t clear and he had to show in the track acclimatization test that his times are competitive to even have a chance in official practice. The car which he drove was slow, Ensign finished the season in 11th place but Ricardo proved fast nonetheless with times almost as fast as Villeneuve and Rosberg and faster than Arnoux, Piquet and many others.

During the test, he hit Keke Rosberg and this was marked as the reason he wasn’t granted the superlicense and couldn’t compete. Though the real reason was the source of his money which was found out about and the people who ran F1 didn’t want to be affiliated with criminal cash as it would tarnish the reputation of the sport.

Ricardo Londono
Ricardo Londono in the British Aurora series

Besides racing Ricardo Londono would earn illegal money as a drug trafficker as well and was later in life shot dead. Tens of millions were confiscated which was earned illegally along with $10 million in vintage cars.

Pablo’s first work car and life on the run

Funnily enough, Pablo Escobar’s main car towards the end of his life was disguised to look like a taxi since it was the most effective way to travel unnoticed. That’s because every time Pablo Escobar’s personal cars were used they became a target for other gang members, police, and the army. He also had a professional driver as a chauffeur to drive him around.

After death, some of Pablo Escobar’s cars were destroyed but a few of them can still be seen in his house museum.

Pablo Escobar's cars and weird racing career: $2M Porsche and sabotaging rivals on the track.
Escobar house Museum

In the picture, there’s a blue Wartburg 311. It’s the first car that Pablo bought for his cartel to be used in their illegal business. The red Chevrolet is made in the 90s and it’s not known if he personally drove it as well but it has bulletproof glass and some other James Bond like gadgets installed.

While Pablo Escobar’s cars were cool, he also had other awesome toys like the 007 jet ski from “They Spy Who Loved Me”.

Pablo Escobar’s cars after death

When Pablo died his car collection was burned down. Only a few of them have remained intact, the scraps remaining are displayed in the house museum.

Pablo Escobar cars
Pablo Escobar’s cars
Share this article
Default image
Karl Aleksander Kivimägi
I like learning about the history of motorsports, watching F1 and occasionally WRC. My favourite cars are old, red and Italian. By trade I'm a designer but my passion is writing.

Leave a Reply