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Nelson Mandela loved cars

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The champion for human dignity has been forever silenced.... Nelson Mandela the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader passed away peacefully at age 95 on Thursday night at his home in Johannesburg and there are so many stories now coming to light about the icon. One of the most little known facts about the Nobel Peace Prize winner is that he was a true car enthusiast.

When Madiba (a term of endearment for the man who was held in such high esteem in his native country and globally) was a young lawyer in the 1940's, he'd get a gleam in his eye, whenever he'd come upon a vehicle that caught his attention. According to Justin Chadwick, who directed the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (see the trailer accompanying this story) which opened last month in theaters across the country, Mandela could have been classified as a bonafide car "fanatic." Chadwick told USA Today, "If you knew Mandela as a young man, you knew he had a love of fine clothes, tailoring and these great vehicles."

Chadwick, who admits, that his own father was also a car aficionado, says that he cherry-picked period cars for his film that were not only eye-catching but really distinctive as well. Chadwick describes his car selection process for the film to USA Today, "I was obsessed about having the best cars available. And we kept unearthing these great cars. We had over 500 vintage cars in the movie, which has to be some kind of Guinness record for a film. They are in the background and the foreground throughout."

The filmmakers went on a quest to specifically locate the Chevy that Mandela drove when he was a young and struggling lawyer and when they stumbled upon one, it was an immensely satisfying moment for them all. The Chevy was in pristine condition which Chadwick says has something to do with the climate in South Africa that tends to not wreak havoc on a vehicle's exterior. According to Chadwick, seeing his old Chevy again would have probably warmed Mandela's heart to no end.

Peaceful warrior, rest now....

--Car Chick®

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