Belgrade Phantom (Serbian: Beogradski Fantom) is a nickname of the guy who night after night repeatedly managed to run away in a white Porsche from the cops who were driving their Zastava’s in the late seventies. His real name was Vlada Vasiljevic, a small time crook apparently very good in stealing cars and with particular obsession with fancy and expensive sport cars such as Porsche. These stunts made him famous in at that time communisticaly boring Belgrade and the people would gather every night around Slavija square waiting for him to do his show and to escape Narodna Milicija one more time.
Here’s a short documentary film about the event by Jovan B. Todorovic, who is also preparing a movie about this event.
Cvijus has reminded me of this short documentary that i too found some time ago, but completely forgot about it because of the site redesign. Very interesting story, because of the events, political and cultural implications, but also due to the fact that there are so many interpretations of this event on the internet that nobody can really tell all the details. I am particulary interested if the movie makers managed to dig up the real facts so we can get a bit closer to the truth.
Here’s what i managed to find while browsing through the internet.
The stolen car in question vary from Porsche 924 to some versions of 911, and on some places people claim that he had several models during those 10 nights he made circles around Slavija.
Some say that he stole the vehicle from Goran Bregovic, others that he stole it from the Danish ambassy, some say the the car had German license plates and that the original owner was Croatian tennis player Nikola Pilic.
Reason for doing this is also unclear: some say that he hated the communist regime and wanted to beat it in this symbolic way, others that he simply hated cops and wanted to make them look bad, and some even say that he did it because he was bored. Best version say that he did it for a girl and that he would pick one rose every night from the center of Slavija square, while he was running from the cops.
Vlada died few years after he went out of prison, in an old Russian Lada – stolen.