NEW YORK Oct 24 A 1941 custom Cadillac
limousine designed for Britain's Duke and Duchess of Windsor is
expected to fetch as much as $800,000 when it is sold next month
in New York, RM Auctions and Sotheby's said on Thursday.
The luxury car, one of the most famous Cadillacs ever made,
was known as "The Duchess." It was used to transport the Duke
and his wife, Wallis Simpson, while they stayed in New York,
where they spent much of their time in a suite at the Waldorf
Towers on Park Avenue.
The car, which the couple used for 11 years and was thought
to have been destroyed, has not been seen in public since 1952.
It will be sold in the Art of the Automobile auction on Nov. 21.
"This Cadillac is an exceptionally important part of both
automotive and social history," said Alain Squindo, vice
president, RM Auctions. "From front to back and throughout the
entire interior, it is a design statement unlike any other to
come from Detroit in those years."
The duke, formerly King Edward VIII, abdicated in December
1936 after less than a year on the throne to marry Simpson, a
divorced American. The decision triggered a constitutional
crisis in Britain and remains one of the most enduring love
stories of the 20th century.
The couple traveled extensively throughout their marriage,
and the duke served as governor of the Bahamas from 1940-45.
The car, which appeared in newsreels and photos of the
famous couple, includes hand-crafted doors and fenders, walnut
finishes in the interior, custom-dyed woolen carpet, power
windows, satin privacy curtains and four stainless-steel, velvet
lined cases to hold the duchess's jewels. The Windsor "W.E."
monogram and crown are featured on the door.
Records show the Duke of Windsor paid $14,000 for the art
deco design limousine, which was an extravagant price in 1941.
"It is emblematic not only of the grace and elegance that
characterized the couple, but it is a truly bespoke piece,
befitting its regal owners," Leslie Keno, senior international
specialist from Sotheby's, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Eric