Mussolini's car sold for half a millionPrivate buyer pays record for Alfa Romeo

18 March 2008

Mussolini's car

An Alfa Romeo once owned by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has sold for a world record price of £550,000.

The 1935 6C 2300 Pescara Spyder, which was used to drive the Italian leader through crowds, attracted only a handful of bids at auction in February and its owner decided to look elsewhere.

Now a private buyer has paid over half a million pounds for Il Duce's Alfa - a record for that model.

Unique bodywork

Damien Jones, spokesman for H&H classic auctions based in Hatton, Cheshire, put the high figure down to the car's unique bodywork and racing history rather than the Mussolini connection.

He said: 'The price was more to do with the Touring bodywork, which was a unique design for this chassis, along with the fact that the car competed in the Mille Miglia race.

'The owner wanted guaranteed entry to a Mille Miglia retrospective and priority is given to cars that were actually used in the original event.

'Although the car is one of 60 first-generation models, the body is unique. We had four offers in total, but the car has gone to a UK collector who wishes to remain anonymous.'

Spyder

The Spyder was built in 1935, with its engine tuned from 68bhp to 95bhp. It had an extra out-board folding 'dickey' seat fitted.

It was driven in the 1936 Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile open road endurance race, by Mussolini's chauffeur and ex-Alfa Romeo test driver Ercole Boratto.

Archive footage shows the dictator saluting crowds as he stood in the passenger seat, with flowers and bouquets strewn on the bonnet.

When the car was offered at auction in Cheltenham in February it attracted a highest bid of £450,000 and the owner opted not to sell.

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved