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The Dilemma Of Buying A Dictator's Ferrari

The Dilemma Of Buying A Dictator's Ferrari
From Gizmodo - December 10, 2017

This 212 Inter has an extraordinary history. Not only is this car outfitted with tremendous one-off Ghia bodywork and gorgeous paint work, it was built as the 49th of just 73 examples, used as a Paris Motor Show display car, and was owned by infamous Argentinian dictator, Juan Pern. And now its for sale.

Because of all this, the gorgeous two-tone yellow over black car you see here is my pick for this weeks Esoteric Auction, and it can be found crossing the dais at RM Sothebys Scottsdale sale in January.

Every old Ferrari seems to have some sort of grand and typically excruciatingly boring ownership history. This one, however, is different.

Presidente Juan, along with being a noted protector of Nazis dodging their crimes against humanity, was well known for being an automotive enthusiast of the first degree, collecting everything from Ferraris to Packards during his time in power. He was also a proponent of Argentine drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Jos Froiln Gonzlez, providing monetary backing for their careers. When he saw this 212 Inter by Ghia grace the stage in Paris, he immediately contacted Ferrari to attempt purchasing the car for his own.

Pern was elected to power in Argentina in 1946 with populist support and through a bit of suppression of his opponents, though he was popular enough to have been re-elected in 1952, purchasing this car in celebration of his continued power. It was hardly hidden from plain sight that Juan ruled as little more than a dictator, if not in name, breeding oppression of the people and encouraging servility. He maintained a popularity, particularly among the poor, however, because of his beautiful and charismatic wife, Evita. And also, because people who opposed him tended to disappear.

While Pern ran his campaign on the backs of the working class, he instituted increasingly authoritarian policy throughout his rule. The early 1950s were not kind to Argentina, and the countrys economy collapsed. Juans policies had helped the working class before, but they were losing faith in him.

When Mara Eva Duarte de Pern died of cancer in 1952, Juans world, and by extension the world of the people of Argentina, was turned upside-down. His popularity sharply declined without Eva at his side. Argentina was a deeply Catholic nation, and the church was embedded deep within the government. When the Vatican refused to canonize Eva following her death, Juan began the processes of separating church from state, removing religious teaching from schools, and threatened to legalize divorce and prostitution. This was seen as not a really great move.

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