Cold War

Helge Meyer, ‘God’s Rambo’ & his ‘Ghost Car’

Helge Meyer is one of the those special people in the world who stands out, simply for being an incredible human being. In 2022 I spent the summer in the Balkan’s researching the war.

I had a picture of his car ‘somewhere in Yugoslavia’, took a while but I tracked down the exact location where Helge Meyer parked up his car while on humanitarian run in the city of Vukovar, Croatia, which is on the border of Serbia. It was a special moment to find it.

Know as ‘God’s Rambo’. Former special forces soldier felt a calling from God to go to Bosnia and provide humanitarian aid during the Bosnian War.

With the help of the US Army, he was able to fulfill that mission, driving through dangerous conditions to deliver relief to citizens of the war-torn country with only his Bible and a tricked-out Camaro – the Ghost Car.


This vehicle featured Kevlar paneling, bulletproof windows, a steel-reinforced undercarriage to safeguard the drive-train , infrared-resistant paint, and puncture-resistant tires. Equipped with heat detection technology, night vision capabilities, and a nitrous boost system, it was a marvel of engineering. Additionally, it boasted a mine-clearing blade.

The then and now of the exact location in Vukovar, Croatia

The initial 5.7-liter V8 Camaro, originally at 185hp, was enhanced to 220hp, and with the nitrous activation, its power surged to an impressive 440hp. It’s an incredible story and I was so pleased to find one of his locations in town of Vukovar in Croatia.

Background and Context

In the 1990s, the Balkans descended into a brutal conflict, a direct consequence of Yugoslavia’s disintegration. This period in history, particularly the war in Bosnia, was notorious for its ethnic violence and resulting humanitarian crisis.

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International aid efforts frequently faced immense challenges due to the high risk of attacks and the region’s difficult terrain. Amidst this turmoil, Helge Meyer, a former Danish Special Forces operator and a trained U.S. Air Force pilot, decided to embark on a remarkable mission. His objective was to deliver humanitarian aid in a way that would navigate the dangers of the war zones effectively.

Located in Eastern Croatia, Vukovar is considered a martyr city of the last war in the Balkans.
Located in Eastern Croatia, Vukovar is considered a martyr city of the last war in the Balkans. I took this in 2022, it still looks like a battlefield.

Meyer, leveraging his military background and understanding of the dire situation, saw an opportunity to make a difference using unconventional methods. Recognizing the need for a vehicle capable of safely traversing the conflict-ridden zones, he proposed a unique solution to the U.S. military.

Helge Meyer Former Special Forces

This proposal laid the foundation for what would become the “Ghost Car,” a specially modified Chevrolet Camaro designed for stealth and resilience in the harsh conditions of war-torn Bosnia.Meyer’s initiative emerged not just from his military expertise but also from a profound sense of humanitarian duty.

Helge Meyer was a former Danish Special Forces Jagercorps operative.
Helge Meyer was a former Danish Special Forces Jagercorps operative.

He understood that traditional aid delivery methods were insufficient in these extreme conditions. Thus, he envisioned a vehicle that could operate ‘under the radar’, both literally and figuratively, to bring essential supplies to those most in need.

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This context sets the stage for the incredible story of Helge Meyer and his Ghost Car, a narrative that intertwines military ingenuity with a deep commitment to humanitarian aid, playing out against the backdrop of one of the most challenging conflict zones of the late 20th century.

The Genesis of the Ghost Car

The creation of the Ghost Car began with Helge Meyer’s vision to aid war-torn regions in a manner unprecedented at the time. In the early 1990s, faced with the harrowing realities of the Balkan conflict, Meyer recognized the urgent need for a new approach to deliver humanitarian aid.

Traditional methods were perilous and often ineffective amidst the chaos of war. Meyer, with his background in the Danish Special Forces and as a U.S. Air Force trained pilot, understood the importance of stealth and resilience in such hazardous environments.

Helge Meyer modified a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro for his missions, known as the “Ghost Car.”

Meyer approached the U.S. military with a bold proposal: to modify a vehicle that could stealthily navigate through the war zones to deliver essential supplies. His choice of vehicle, a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro, was deliberate. The Camaro, known for its robust build and powerful engine, provided an ideal base for the extensive modifications necessary for Meyer’s daring missions.

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The transformation process was as innovative as it was challenging. Meyer envisioned a vehicle that could withstand small arms fire, navigate through rough terrains, and avoid detection by enemy forces. This vision required not only mechanical alterations but also a strategic design to maximize the car’s survivability in a war zone.

Meyer personally oversaw the modification of the Camaro, ensuring that every addition served a purpose. He equipped the vehicle with Kevlar armor, bulletproof windows, and a steel-reinforced undercarriage. These modifications were crucial for protecting both the driver and the vital supplies from the prevalent dangers in the conflict zones.

Helge Meyer Drove at Night

Furthermore, Meyer added cutting-edge technology to the vehicle, including heat detection systems and night vision capabilities. These features were essential for navigating through hostile territories at night, significantly reducing the risk of detection.

The underside of the car was reinforced with steel plating to guard against landmines.
The underside of the car was reinforced with steel plating to guard against landmines.

The most striking modification, however, was the application of infra-red-absorbing matte black paint. This paint was crucial for reducing the vehicle’s visibility to enemy forces, especially during night operations.

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Meyer’s attention to detail in the vehicle’s stealth capabilities underscored his understanding of the importance of invisibility in such high-risk missions.

Engineering the Ghost Car

Helge Meyer embarked on a meticulous engineering journey to transform the 1979 Chevrolet Camaro into the Ghost Car, a vehicle uniquely suited for covert humanitarian missions in the perilous terrain of war-torn Bosnia.

This transformation required a blend of automotive engineering prowess and a deep understanding of military technology.Meyer began by reinforcing the Camaro’s body with Kevlar armor. This decision was crucial to protect the car from small arms fire, a frequent threat in the conflict zones.

The Ghost Car had a mine-clearing blade at the front for path clearing.
The Ghost Car had a mine-clearing blade at the front for path clearing.

He also installed bulletproof windows, ensuring that the vehicle could withstand direct attacks without compromising the safety of the driver or the integrity of the humanitarian supplies.

The car’s underside received a layer of steel plating. Meyer recognized the threat of landmines and other explosive devices commonly encountered in such war zones. This steel plating was a strategic addition to protect the drivetrain and other critical undercarriage components from blasts and debris.

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Matte Finish

For stealth operations, especially at night, Meyer applied infra-red-absorbing matte black paint to the car’s exterior. This innovative paint played a critical role in reducing the vehicle’s visibility to enemy forces using infrared detection equipment. The paint’s matte finish further minimized reflections, making the car nearly invisible in low-light conditions.

Meyer equipped the Ghost Car with state-of-the-art technology to enhance its operational capabilities. This included heat detection systems and night vision, allowing him to navigate through hostile territories under the cover of darkness.

The car was equipped with Kevlar armor for bullet resistance.

The inclusion of these advanced systems turned the car into a veritable stealth machine, capable of evading detection while traversing dangerous landscapes.

To ensure the car’s mobility even under fire, Meyer fitted it with run-flat tires. These tires were capable of sustaining damage yet still functioning, a crucial feature for maintaining momentum during high-risk situations. The ability to continue driving even after tire punctures was vital for the success of Meyer’s missions.

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One of the most dramatic modifications was the addition of a nitrous oxide system. This system provided a significant boost in power, essential for quick escapes and high-speed maneuvers in emergency situations. The nitrous system transformed the Camaro from a powerful vehicle into a high-speed transporter, capable of outrunning potential threats.

Meyer also installed a mine-clearing blade at the front of the car. This addition was a strategic decision, recognizing the need to clear paths in areas where mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were a constant threat.

The Ghost Car became a symbol of resilience and humanitarian aid.
The Ghost Car became a symbol of resilience and humanitarian aid.

The blade enabled Meyer to forge paths through hazardous areas, further enhancing the Ghost Car’s capability as a relief vehicle.

Each modification and addition to the Camaro was a testament to Meyer’s ingenuity and commitment to his mission. The engineering of the Ghost Car was not just a mechanical endeavor; it was a carefully orchestrated process to create a vehicle that could defy the dangers of a war zone and deliver hope where it was needed most.

Helge Meyer on Operations

Helge Meyer, behind the wheel of his ingeniously modified Ghost Car, embarked on a series of high-stakes operations across the Balkans. Each mission he undertook was a solo venture, characterized by extreme risk and a profound commitment to delivering humanitarian aid to those caught in the crossfire of war.

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Navigating through the war-torn landscape of Bosnia, Meyer leveraged the stealth and resilience of the Ghost Car to its fullest. He traversed dangerous territories, often riddled with landmines and patrolled by armed factions. The Ghost Car, with its infra-red-absorbing paint and silent approach, became a shadow moving through the night, delivering supplies to besieged areas that were otherwise inaccessible.

Meyer’s operations were a blend of tactical driving and strategic planning. He meticulously charted routes that minimized the risk of encounters with hostile forces. Utilizing the night vision capabilities of the Ghost Car, he drove through the darkness, evading detection and navigating the perilous terrain with precision.

His missions highlighted the challenges of delivering aid in conflict zones.
His missions highlighted the challenges of delivering aid in conflict zones.

The missions were not just about delivering food, medicine, and clothing. Meyer’s presence brought hope to the isolated and desperate populations. In regions where violence and fear had become the norm, the sight of the Ghost Car and the aid it brought was a rare beacon of humanity.

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Meyer faced numerous challenges during these operations. He had to constantly adapt to changing situations, from navigating impromptu roadblocks to avoiding areas that had become flashpoints of conflict. The threat of ambush or getting caught in crossfire was ever-present, requiring Meyer to remain vigilant and ready to react at a moment’s notice.

Despite these dangers, Meyer persisted in his mission. His deep understanding of the terrain, coupled with the Ghost Car’s capabilities, allowed him to execute his operations with a high degree of success. He maneuvered through hostile environments, delivering critical supplies to communities that had been cut off from the world.

The Ghost Car, with its nitrous oxide boost, provided Meyer with the ability to make swift escapes when confronted with threats. The mine-clearing blade at the front of the vehicle enabled him to forge new paths through areas littered with explosive hazards.

Legend of the Ghost Car & Helge Meyer

The legend of the Ghost Car, with Helge Meyer at its helm, grew rapidly, capturing the imagination and respect of those who learned of its missions.

In the bleak and dangerous backdrop of the Balkan conflict, the Ghost Car emerged not just as a vehicle but as a symbol of daring humanitarianism. Its story, told and retold, resonated with people far beyond the war-torn regions it served.

1,800 v 38,000: The Battle of Vukovar was an 87-day siege of Vukovar.
1,800 v 38,000: The Battle of Vukovar was an 87-day siege of Vukovar.

Word of Meyer’s nocturnal missions in the stealthy, black Camaro spread, creating a near-mythical image. Amongst the local populations, aid workers, and even military personnel, tales of a ghost-like vehicle slipping through enemy lines, surviving hostile territories, and delivering aid where no one else could, became a source of awe.

The Ghost Car, a beacon of hope in the darkest of times, represented the triumph of ingenuity and bravery over adversity.

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Meyer himself, a figure of humility and determination, became something of a folk hero. His willingness to face extreme danger for the sake of others, to use his skills and resources for a greater good, was deeply inspiring.

The exact location in Vukovar with the iconic war torn water tower in the background
The exact location in Vukovar with the iconic war torn water tower in the background, the tower became one of the national symbols of Croatian War of Independence. Taken looking from the Franciscan Monastery.

In a conflict marked by violence and despair, Meyer’s actions were a stark contrast, highlighting the power of individual action and the impact of unconventional approaches in crisis situations.

The legacy of the Ghost Car extended into the collective consciousness of the international community. It stood as a powerful reminder of the potential impact of private individuals in global humanitarian efforts.

The car’s innovative modifications and Meyer’s fearless navigation through war zones challenged traditional notions of aid delivery and showed the effectiveness of direct action and personal commitment.

The exact location in Vukovar, Croatia

Moreover, the story of the Ghost Car served as an educational and motivational tool. It inspired discussions about the importance of innovation in problem-solving, especially in situations of conflict and crisis. Meyer’s story was used to teach lessons in courage, resourcefulness, and the importance of thinking outside the box in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The Humanitarian Impact

Helge Meyer, through his daring operations with the Ghost Car, profoundly impacted the lives of countless individuals in the war-torn Balkans. Each mission he embarked upon was more than a journey through dangerous terrain; it was a beacon of hope and relief for those engulfed in the chaos of war.

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Meyer’s efforts directly addressed the acute shortages of food, medicine, and clothing in isolated and besieged communities. He reached areas that were often deemed too risky or inaccessible by traditional aid agencies. His ability to navigate through hostile environments and deliver essential supplies made a tangible difference in the lives of people who had been cut off from the world due to the conflict.

The arch was destroyed during war. Taken looking from the Franciscan Monastery.

Beyond the physical aid, Meyer’s presence brought emotional solace. In regions scarred by violence and fear, the arrival of the Ghost Car symbolized a connection to the outside world, an assurance that they were not forgotten. For many, Meyer’s bravery and commitment to his humanitarian mission provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak and desperate situation.

Meyer’s understanding of the local needs was evident in the way he tailored his deliveries. He listened to the people, understood their most urgent necessities, and adapted his missions to meet these specific requirements.

This personalized approach to aid delivery was a stark contrast to more conventional methods and significantly enhanced the impact of his assistance.

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Moreover, Meyer’s actions had a ripple effect, inspiring others to think creatively about solutions to complex problems. His innovative approach to humanitarian aid in a conflict zone demonstrated what could be achieved with courage, ingenuity, and a deep commitment to helping others.

It is the sad symbol of Croatia for the Yugoslav war of 1991-1995 and is the largest massacre and worst war crime in Europe after WW2. I took this in 2022, it still looks like a battlefield.

The Ghost Car’s missions became a powerful example of how individual initiative and unconventional thinking can lead to substantial impacts, even under the most challenging and dangerous circumstances.

Helge Meyer’s humanitarian operations in the Balkans, carried out through the Ghost Car, were not merely about delivering supplies; they were about bringing hope, restoring dignity, and forging a sense of connection for those who felt abandoned and besieged by conflict. His work in the Ghost Car remains a poignant reminder of the profound difference one person can make in alleviating human suffering during times of crisis.

Challenges and Controversies

Helge Meyer’s humanitarian missions with the Ghost Car, while noble in intention, were not without their challenges and controversies. Operating independently in the volatile environment of the Balkan conflict, Meyer often found himself navigating a complex web of legal and ethical dilemmas.

One of the primary challenges Meyer faced was the legal ambiguity of his operations. His missions, though humanitarian at heart, were unsanctioned and unauthorized by any official body.

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This lack of formal approval put Meyer in a precarious position, as he often crossed international borders and entered active conflict zones, actions that could be interpreted as violations of international law or even as acts of intrusion by the warring parties.

Vukovar water tower after the Croatian War of Independence. I took this in 2022, it still looks like a battlefield, if you get the chance, visit it
Vukovar water tower after the Croatian War of Independence. I took this in 2022, it still looks like a battlefield, if you get the chance, visit it

Moreover, Meyer’s presence in the conflict zones occasionally drew suspicion from various factions. In an environment rife with mistrust and misinformation, a lone foreigner driving a heavily modified vehicle could easily be mistaken for a spy or an operative for an opposing force.

This suspicion sometimes hindered his ability to deliver aid and could have put him in dangerous situations, potentially leading to confrontations or detentions.

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The very nature of Meyer’s operations also raised ethical questions. While his intentions were to provide aid, the unorthodox approach of a single individual taking on such a mission was a departure from the more controlled and coordinated efforts typically employed in humanitarian crises.

This approach could be seen as undermining the broader, more organized aid efforts or as setting a precedent for other uncoordinated interventions.

The Ghost Car's stealth capabilities were crucial for mission success.
The Ghost Car’s stealth capabilities were crucial for mission success.

Furthermore, Meyer’s choice of a military-grade vehicle, though practical for his purposes, was a point of contention. The Ghost Car’s modifications, while essential for Meyer’s safety and mission success, blurred the lines between a humanitarian vehicle and a combat vehicle.

In a region where distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants was already challenging, the Ghost Car could have inadvertently escalated tensions or become a target itself.

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Despite these challenges and controversies, Meyer persisted with his missions, driven by a firm belief in the necessity of his work. His commitment to delivering aid where it was most needed often outweighed the potential risks and criticisms his methods attracted.

Technical Marvel and Tactical Ingenuity

Helge Meyer’s transformation of the 1979 Chevrolet Camaro into the Ghost Car stands as a remarkable testament to technical marvel and tactical ingenuity. Meyer meticulously engineered the vehicle to meet the specific challenges of navigating through war-torn Balkans, demonstrating a profound understanding of both automotive technology and military strategy.

At the core of the Ghost Car’s design was its armored body. Helge Meyer reinforced the Camaro with Kevlar armor, a material known for its bullet-resistant properties. This upgrade was crucial in safeguarding the vehicle—and its precious cargo of humanitarian aid—against small arms fire prevalent in conflict zones.

Vukovar blown up building
He operated solo, navigating through hostile and dangerous territories.

Meyer also installed bulletproof windows on the Ghost Car. This addition was more than just a defensive measure; it was a strategic decision to ensure visibility and safety while maintaining the car’s impenetrable facade. The reinforced windows protected Meyer and the supplies from potential attacks while allowing him to maintain a clear view of the hazardous roads.

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The underside of the car received a significant upgrade with steel plating. Meyer foresaw the risk of landmines and improvised explosive devices and countered these threats by reinforcing the vehicle’s undercarriage. This steel plating protected the car’s vital components, ensuring that it remained operational even in the most perilous conditions.


In a stroke of tactical brilliance, Meyer chose infra-red-absorbing matte black paint for the car’s exterior. This unique paint significantly reduced the vehicle’s visibility to infrared detection, a common tool used by opposing forces. The matte finish also minimized reflections, enhancing the car’s stealth capabilities, especially under the cover of darkness.

The Ghost Car was also equipped with state-of-the-art technology for its time. Meyer integrated heat detection systems and night vision equipment, tools that were crucial for navigating through hostile territories at night.

These technological enhancements turned the car into a veritable stealth machine, capable of moving undetected through dangerous landscapes.

Vukovar blown up building
Helge Meyer and the Ghost Car’s legacy continue to inspire in the fields of engineering, humanitarian work, and individual initiative.

Additionally, Meyer installed run-flat tires on the Ghost Car. These specialized tires were designed to remain functional even after sustaining damage, a critical feature for maintaining mobility under enemy fire or when navigating through debris-strewn areas.

Perhaps the most dramatic modification was the addition of a nitrous oxide system, providing a significant boost in power when needed. This enhancement was essential for quick escapes and high-speed maneuvers, crucial for evading potential threats or rapidly covering long distances to deliver aid.

Mine Fields

Meyer also fitted a mine-clearing blade at the front of the Ghost Car. This practical addition allowed him to clear paths in mine-infested areas, further cementing the vehicle’s capability as an all-terrain, all-purpose humanitarian aid vehicle.

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Through these modifications, Meyer transformed a standard Chevrolet Camaro into a vehicle that combined the agility and speed of a sports car with the defensive capabilities of a military vehicle.

The Ghost Car’s design and features reflected Meyer’s deep understanding of the challenges he would face in the Balkans and his commitment to addressing those challenges with innovative solutions. His work stands as a striking example of how technical skills, when combined with tactical acumen and a drive to make a difference, can lead to extraordinary outcomes.

Legacy and Inspiration

The legacy and inspiration derived from Helge Meyer’s Ghost Car extend far beyond its immediate impact during the Balkan conflicts. Meyer’s daring missions and the ingenious modifications he made to the Chevrolet Camaro have left an indelible mark, inspiring countless individuals and organizations around the globe.

Vukovar blown up building
His approach challenged traditional humanitarian aid delivery methods

Meyer’s story, particularly his bold initiative and creative problem-solving, serves as a powerful example of what one person can achieve with determination and ingenuity. His approach to humanitarian aid, characterized by direct action and personal commitment, challenges conventional methods and demonstrates the effectiveness of individual initiative in crisis situations.

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The Ghost Car itself, a symbol of resilience and adaptability, has become a source of inspiration for engineers and innovators. Meyer’s ability to transform a standard vehicle into a stealthy, armored transport capable of navigating through war zones highlights the potential of technological innovation in addressing complex problems.

It underscores the idea that with the right modifications and understanding of a situation, ordinary objects can be repurposed to serve extraordinary purposes.

Moreover, Meyer’s actions have inspired humanitarian workers and organizations. His story is a testament to the impact of grassroots efforts in conflict zones, where traditional aid delivery methods are often inadequate.

The Ghost Car’s missions emphasize the importance of agility, stealth, and a deep understanding of local conditions in delivering aid effectively.

In the realm of education and motivation, Meyer’s story is frequently cited as an example of courage, resourcefulness, and the importance of thinking outside the box. His experience is used to teach lessons in innovation, tactical planning, and the power of individual action, especially in situations where traditional systems and practices fall short.

The Ghost Car has also had a cultural impact, capturing the public imagination and highlighting the human aspect of conflicts. The story of a lone individual braving dangerous conditions to deliver aid resonates with a wide audience, providing a narrative that is both thrilling and emotionally compelling.

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In essence, the legacy of Helge Meyer and the Ghost Car is multifaceted. It encompasses technological innovation, humanitarian aid, individual bravery, and the power of unconventional thinking. Meyer’s story continues to inspire and motivate, serving as a powerful example of how creativity, determination, and a willingness to act can make a significant difference in challenging situations.

The End of the Ghost Car’s Journey

The end of the Ghost Car’s journey marked a significant moment in the history of humanitarian efforts within conflict zones. As the Balkan conflicts began to subside and the immediate need for covert aid deliveries decreased, Helge Meyer’s daring missions in his modified Chevrolet Camaro gradually came to a close. However, the conclusion of these missions did not signify an end to the Ghost Car’s influence or the legacy it left behind.

Meyer’s decision to conclude his operations was in response to the changing circumstances in the Balkans. As the political and military landscapes evolved, and traditional aid channels became more secure and effective, the unique role of the Ghost Car in delivering humanitarian aid became less critical.

Meyer recognized that his unconventional method, while necessary during the peak of the conflict, was no longer the most effective means of support in the transforming environment.

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The retirement of the Ghost Car symbolized a transition in the region from a period of intense conflict to one of rebuilding and recovery. It also underscored the situational nature of Meyer’s mission – his initiative was a response to a specific set of challenges that, fortunately, were no longer as prevalent.

Stepped Back

Despite the end of its active use, the Ghost Car remained a powerful symbol. Its story continued to inspire and influence. The car’s journey had demonstrated the impact of innovative thinking and direct action in crisis situations, setting a precedent for future humanitarian efforts in similar contexts.

Meyer’s decision to end the Ghost Car’s missions was a testament to his understanding of the evolving nature of humanitarian needs. He had stepped in when the situation was most dire, adapting to the challenges with ingenuity and bravery. As the situation changed, he stepped back, acknowledging the role of larger, more traditional aid organizations in the new phase of recovery and rebuilding.

Helge Meyer still owns the car and often can be seen at car shows.