Official car for Italian king goes under the hammer
9 May 2009

A 1939 Fiat 2800 Torpedo that has ferried Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and General Franco is going under the hammer. It was the official car for King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Margherita of Italy, having previously been delivered to the Royal Italian Court in 1939 for use by the Prince of Piemonte and Countess Calvi di Bergolo. From 1941 to 1943 the car was used by the Princess of Pistoia, going on to become the official car for the first prime ministers of Italy, Einaudi and De Nicola.

It stayed at the Quirinale palace until 1963 and has more recently been showcased at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza. Chris Routledge, managing director of Coys, where the car is being auctioned, said: “The example that we are offering at our sale ‘The Legende et Passion’ is the most famous of them all. It is known that the car was used by Pope Pious XII, Benito Mussolini as well as his mistress Claretta Petacci and by Aldolf Hitler and General Franco when they visited Rome.” Launched in 1938, the Torpedo featured a six cylinder engine, independent front suspension and varying coachwork styles.

One of the most luxurious vehicles of pre-war Europe, a model was also produced for Italian military general staff. The car is expected to fetch between 240,000 to 270,000 euros (£215,000 to £240,000).

Tim Swietochowski

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