Sunday, December 3, 2023

The "BMW Flamethrower" was a car-mounted flamethrower designed to deter carjackings in 1998 South Africa

From the Wikipedia entry for "The Blaster":

In South Africa, it is legal to use lethal force in self-defence if in fear of one's life, and ownership of flamethrowers is unrestricted.

The invention came in response to the increasingly severe violent crime situation in South Africa, which in 1998 had already made the country (particularly Johannesburg) the per capita murder, assault, rape and carjacking capital of the world.

The device was controversial in South Africa


the high price tag at 3,900 rand ($655) limited its market

A 1998 CNN article:

Both sides flame at the same time, regardless of whether the attack is coming from just one side of the vehicle, or whether passersby are on the other side. But the breadth and depth of blast can be modified according to individual preference.


it offers a cheap, dramatic defense against carjackers


"Yes, there are certain risks in using it, but there are also risks in not having anything at all."

And a promotional video from the AP shows it in action: