A classic car with close ties to the world war two dictator Benito Mussolini will be among the highlights of an upcoming auction in Paris.
The RM Auctions sale on February 3-4, held as part of the world-famous Retromobile Week, will offer an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta owned by the Italian leader's lover Claretta Petacci.
Built in 1939 and featuring coachwork by Touring, the car was one of the many luxurious gifts given by Mussolini to his mistress. Throughout the war she was chauffeured by driver Franz Spogler, until the Allied victory in 1945 forced her to flee the country along with her family.
Mussolini, his family, and numerous high-ranking members of the Italian Social Republic were apprehended while attempting to cross the border into Italy. Petacci was dragged from the Alfa Romeo and, along with her lover, met her grizzly fate at the hands of an angry mob.
Following the war the car was shipped to the US by a returning army officer, and was later discovered on a New York State farm in 1970. Having been completely rebuilt and restored, the car was recently voted "Best of Show" at the 2011 Salon Prive Concours d'Elegance and is estimated to sell for $2.4-3.0m.
"Few cars that have passed through our hands have had quite the important historical context that this Alfa Romeo can boast," said Augustin Sabatie-Garat, car specialist at RM Auctions Europe.
"It played a role in one of the most important moments of the Second World War, and is a fascinating footnote in 20th century history. That it is also one of the most desirable of all pre-war Grand Touring cars and beautifully restored by the world's leading marque expert, makes it an unbelievable prize for any serious collector."