WWII relics fetch high prices at car auction

31st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

FONTAINEBLEAU, France, April 3, 2006 (AFP) - A French collector snapped up the only presidential car of France's Fourth Republic paying EUR 180,000 euros at an auction here and keeping the vehicle in the country.

FONTAINEBLEAU, France, April 3, 2006 (AFP) - A French collector snapped up the only presidential car of France's Fourth Republic paying EUR 180,000 euros at an auction here and keeping the vehicle in the country.

A second car, given by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to Germany's Adolf Hitler, was bought for the same sum by an anonymous US collector at Sunday's auction in Fountainbleau, southwest of Paris.

The auction got off to a good start when a historic Rolls Royce Phantom II last used for smuggling gold bullion, fetched 10 times its estimated price, selling for a total EUR 130,000.

"A high price like this relaxes people," said auctioneer Jean-Pierre Oseant, but voiced some surprise that "in a somewhat troubled political climate the passion for cars seems to remain strong."

The 1930 Phantom, in a pitiful condition after being almost completely dismantled by French customs in the late 1940s searching for gold bullion, was the first up at the packed auction.

Bidding rose quickly in an obvious tussle between three or four people whose discreet nods were barely visible, with the final buyer being an enthusiast in eastern Europe.

The last car, a 1950 Talbot Lago T26L, was introduced by Osenat as "the only presidential car I will probably ever get to sell."

It was built for Vincent Auriol, first president of the post World War II IV Republic and a great car racing fan, after seeing Louis and Jean-Louis Rosier win the 24 hour Le Mans car race on 25th June 1950 at the wheel of a Talbot Lago T26.

The car had disappeared after being bought in 1962 at an auction of state-held property. But it was found recently in a barn with only 21,653 kilometres (13,425 miles) on the clock as it was practically never driven by its new owner.

It was feared the car had gone abroad when the hammer went down on a 150,000-euro telephone bid from the United States, but in fact it was bought by a Frenchman travelling in the US and will stay in France. With the auctioneers' cost, the final sale was EUR 180,000.

Meanwhile, a 1938 Lancia Astura, one of four vehicles ordered by Mussolini as gifts for Germany's Third Reich government, went for the same amount.

The car was used by Magda, wife of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister before being requisitioned at the end of the war by French General Francois de Linares, commander of the 2nd Mountain Infantry Division.

A Los Angeles collector paid a total of EUR 180,000 for the car including the auctioneer's commission.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article