Uday Hussein's Ferrari F40 left to rust during conflict.
Abandoned exotics are no rarity in the Middle East, and in Dubai alone (where this correspondent is based) you'll find any number of dust-coated Porsches, AMG Mercs and even an ultra-rare Jaguar XJ220 languishing in underground car parks, with their owners having long since done a runner.
The effects of the GFC were so pronounced in 2009/10 that many Dubai-based expats drove to the airport, jumped on a plane and left their vehicles in the carpark with the keys still in them. Better to do that, they figured, then spend time in the slammer for defaulting on a loan repayment (that's what happens around here).
However, the subject of this story has far greater notoriety, as the dilapidated Ferrari F40 pictured alongside is part of the collection that belonged to Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday.
It's believed Hussein Jnr procured the F40 (arguably the fastest production car of its era) just before the first Gulf War broke out.
A quick recap – the F40 was powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (basically an enlarged version of the GTO's engine) that eked out 352kW under 16psi of boost. It was good for a 0-100km/h split of 4.1sec and top speed of 324km/h – numbers that were unparalleled until the ballistic McLaren F1 came along.
Getting back to Uday's car, it was apparently in a garage in Erbil having some work done before the US invasion of Iraq. In the chaos that ensued, the car was all but forgotten, and this is what it looks like nine years after Uday was put on ice by the US Special Forces.
The horrors of war are bad enough, but it seems an even greater crime for this F40 – as well as the other vehicles in Uday's collection, which appears to have included a Ferrari Testarossa and 1930 Mercedes 770K Cabriolet Limousine – to end up like this.
It almost justifies another top-secret extraction operation to rescue them…