Petain's last car sold to his godson

25th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 25, 2007 (AFP) - The last car owned by France's disgraced Vichy leader Philippe Petain has been sold at auction to a 65-year-old house-painter who was one of his hundreds of godchildren, the auction house said Monday.

PARIS, June 25, 2007 (AFP) - The last car owned by France's disgraced Vichy leader Philippe Petain has been sold at auction to a 65-year-old house-painter who was one of his hundreds of godchildren, the auction house said Monday.

The custom-made Renault Vivastella, built in 1939, went for 31,000 euros (42,000 dollars) at a sale on Sunday in Fontainebleau southeast of Paris, auctioneer Jean-Pierre Ozenat said.

The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, was born to an impoverished family in Brittany at a time when Petain's wartime personality cult was at its peak. A local benefactress recommended him as a godchild to the Vichy head of state.

"The prefect (departmental governor) represented Marshal Petain at his baptism. He himself never saw Petain. But he has spent his life-savings on his car," said Ozenat.

Petain, who had fled France in 1944 after the allied liberation, was driven in the car back across the Swiss frontier on April 26, 1945 and was promptly arrested by the French authorities.

He was condemned to death later that year, but the sentence was commuted and he died in 1951 in an island jail off France's Atlantic coast.

The black six-cylinder limousine was acquired after the war by a collector of automobiles who put it on display at a private museum in Rheims, east of Paris.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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