Bosnia and Herzegovina wasn’t a nice place in the early 1990s. What became known as the Bosnian War concluded in 1995 with a stalemate, more than 100,000 soldiers and civilians dead, and a blurred line between civil and inter-state conflict splintered into various states. Simply put, it was a mess. Many people were dying due to the lack of food, water and medical treatment, and supply trucks from other countries had stopped being sent due to them rarely reaching their destinations as they were targeted by bandits and other civil forces. But the people of Yugoslavia would receive a savior of sorts, but he wouldn’t be driving a supply truck; he would be driving what became known in Yugoslavia at the time as the “Ghost Car”.
Helge Meyer was a former Danish Special Forces soldier and had learned Guerrilla warfare training with the US Green Berets. Along with his excellent military training he was a deeply religious man. During the Bosnian war, he felt a calling to help relieve suffering and provide humanitarian aid for the victims of the Yugoslavian civil war. So Meyer came up with a plan so crazy that the European forces denied the idea, so he then contacted the US Army commander on the Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany about using a special vehicle to provide aid in Bosnia, but he would need help from the US Army engineers and a donor vehicle to use.
The US Army gave Meyer the green light to give his plan a shot; he purchased a donor car from a US serviceman, a 1979 Chevy Camaro (An early 1990s Mustang was also considered but never used). Now, the building of this Mad Max and Knight Rider mixed muscle car would commence. First, the Camaro was completely stripped. Armor plate was welded to certain exterior areas and also to the underside. In the front, a mine-clearing device was welded to the frame. The tires were special run-flat rubber. A steel plate was also welded in place of the rear window. The whole car was painted with a special matte-black paint that was applied to absorb infra-red light.
Inside, heat detectors and night vision cameras were attached both inside and out. The 5.7-liter V8’s power was increased from 185 hp to 220 hp. Meyer installed a nitrous system to allow for fast power increases up to 440 hp in case he needed to flee problems. A little testing showed that the Camaro could hit 125 mph in 13 seconds loaded with 400 kg of food and other supplies. To prepare for his efforts Meyer was provided with bullet-proof Kevlar armor and helmet. From his days as a member of Denmark’s Delta Force Meyer was familiar with Bosnian back roads; armed with that knowledge and his faith, he carried out all of his missions.
Finally, for fun, Meyer installed a cute rubber duck in the grill. This driver had a sense of humor to go with his sense of duty. Famously the only thing the Camaro didn’t carry was a weapon, and neither did Meyer. Going in armed with only speed and determination earned him the nickname “God’s Rambo.” Despite the weight and heft of all the vehicle’s modifications, Helge Meyer’s ’79 Camaro could still carry nearly 1,000 pounds of food and materials to trapped civilians and refugees who were starving or freezing as the war ravaged their homes and possessions. His mission, his vehicle and his hardcore special forces training meant Helge Meyer could go into the mouth of hell at the wheel of his Camaro, day or night, to save as many civilians as possible.
He would deliver goods and food to some of the ravaged areas of Bosnia. At the Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, US soldiers there were able to raise $12,000 that Meyer used to buy everything from clothing to diapers, toys to medicine. He then loaded it into his Camaro and handed all of it out to Bosnians in crippled regions, but would change into civilian clothing when he arrived as to not scare the children. Meyer’s and the Camaro’s missions were astonishing, making deliveries during night and day. When not on duty, the car was very good at hiding from the police and army. Meyer was involved in many car chases, but always managed to get away thanks to his nitrous shots into the V8 and great knowledge of back roads, and the Camaro’s ability to be invisible on radars worked perfectly.
To this day, he still has no idea how many people he helped or how many tons of goods he moved throughout the war zones. He was awarded multiple citations and earned the undying respect of all his NATO allies. He also lived what might be the most audacious war story of the entire Balkan Conflict. All he truly knows is that what he made happen required every fiber of his being. The car took bullets from snipers, dodged bandits, and evaded Serb patrols and aircraft to outrun the people trying to kill him and help the civilians around him. Soon enough, he learned his way and avoided the main roads while bombing down the back roads. No longer wasting time evading armies, he was able to help more and more people.
In one excerpt, he describes coming across a family in the ruined city of Vares, in 1994:
“In the middle of ruins I examined the surrounding area with my detector, which reacts to body heat. It displayed body heat in the opposite ruin. I saw candlelight through the boarded up door.”
“I knocked and the candle went out immediately. After knocking again and saying, “Mr. Meyer U.S. Army!” an old man opened the door and asked me inside. A young woman was present with her newborn baby.”
“Everyone was dirty and clearly malnourished, and I got soap, water, food, and baby food from my Camaro. The young mother washed herself and her child and gave the newborn something to eat. We sat around the candle silent for a while. The old man read carefully in his Koran and I in my Bible, which is my constant companion.”
“Then I pulled back into my car, was about to slip into my sleeping bag when someone knocked on my window. It was the young woman who put her baby on my bare chest.”
“I will never forget this moving moment in my life.”
In a 2018 interview with the Danish newspaper “Rinkoping Skjern Dagbladet”, he said that he doesn’t want to be thought of as a hero, but as someone who wanted to help children and the elderly. In his own words: “I want to tell you that it is useful to do something, even if you are alone and the circumstances are fatal, and you don’t have to drive a Camaro into a war zone filled with medicine and toys or children. I could do that because I had the military training and my special connections, it’s about helping out on a daily basis down to the smallest thing, we can all do something to help others.”
Also, there is footage on Youtube of Meyer and his Camaro, so feel free to look that up if you’d like.
These days, Mr. Meyer lives in Germany and the legendary Camaro still has most of the modifications made to it, save for the infrared-defeating paint job. Currently painted orange, the car now rests inside his garage. It comes out occasionally for a peaceful spin to car shows. He drives it often and has put over 100,000 miles on it, and I’m guessing these two are inseparable, like Mad Max and his Interceptor or Michael Knight and KITT . And if you can read German or Danish, Meyer has written a book on his experiences, called Gottes Rambo. The title, “God’s Rambo”. And yes, I used the same title because I think it’s fitting, and honestly I also think he is one of the best road warriors the real world could’ve ever received.