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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 14:57 GMT
Dictator's car fails at auction
The Pescara Spyder
Dictator Benito Mussolini owned the car until 1939
A sports car once owned by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini failed to reach its auction reserve price, achieving a top bid of just 450,000.

The Spyder, which carried il Duce through the crowds, attracted just a few bids when it went under the hammer in Cheltenham on Wednesday.

The best offer reached just over half the expected 800,000, and the owner chose not to sell.

The blood-red two-seater was up for auction at the town's racecourse.

Archive footage

Damien Jones, a spokesman for H&H Classic Auctions, said: "The owner chose not to accept the bid because it failed to meet the reserve price, but we are now in negotiation with someone else."

Mr Jones denied the notoriety surrounding the vehicle's former owner had affected the sale price.

He said: "I don't think that was a factor. It is more that that type of Alfa is very rare, so the market is uncertain.

The vehicle was built in 1935 and archive footage shows the dictator saluting crowds as he stands in the passenger seat, with flowers and bouquets strewn on the bonnet.

The car only recently came to England from Italy.

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