Shah's old car adds to Deco glamour

By Roger Moroney

Near the front of the great Geon Art Deco parade on Saturday will be one of the grandest cars ever to turn a wheel in the city.

It is a Hispano Suiza J12 - a grand car from the 1930s which, in the case of the one which motored into Napier yesterday, was once owner by the Shah of Persia.

It was first shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1931, and the captivated Shah immediately purchased it.

It was eventually sold to an American collector in the early 1960s and was brought to New Zealand by Roy Southward in the late 1980s for his personal collection.

The current owners, who said they wanted to remain anonymous, bought it in 2011.

It has done just 31,000km in its life, of which 6000km has been covered touring the South Island over the past four months.

The owners said they were keen to share it with other enthusiasts at events like the Deco weekend, and said they preferred to run it rather than consign it to a museum.

Only around 120 were ever built.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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