AMERICA - ZERO, FRANCE - ONE
The Federal government has seized an antique automobile bought by a Sun Valley, Idaho collector because the French government considers the 1919 Turcat-Mery, once owned by a descendant of the royal Bourbon dynasty, to be a national treasure.
A Special Agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wrote in an affidavit, "Historically and scientifically, this vehicle is completely unique being built in 1919 at the request of the Duc de Montpensier (which one? There were a ton of them), descendant of the Orleans branch of the Bourbon Dynasty, which reigned in France from 1589 to 1848 and owned the French Castle of Randan." The Duc de Montpensier had the vehicle customized on the Turcat chassis by Henri Rougier, a famous cyclist and later race car driver who won the first Monte Carlo rally.When the Duc died in 1924 without children, his wife inherited the Turcat. She married Alberto de Huarte, who inherited the estate upon her death in 1958, according to the affidavit.
In 1991, a French ministerial order classified the royal estate at Randan, including the Turcat, as historic monuments. Which means that the French government stole their property to make them monuments. Now the U.S. government has stolen his property to give to the French. The U.S. put this guy between a rock and a hard place over this.
The Turcat changed hands twice before it was exported to classic car dealer in Utrecht, Netherlands, according to the affidavit. They, in turn, sold it to the guy in Sun Valley. He wants to get paid for it. No big deal….just the $927,500 he has in it.
Seems like he should get something since the car had been out on the market several times and he wasn’t hiding it. It had won first place in its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
I guess the old adage still applies. “BUYER BEWARE!”