The ex-President Tito of Yugoslavia 1960 Cadillac Series 75 Convertible Limousine Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia Chassis no. 60S107172
The name Cadillac has for years been associated with celebrity, being the car of choice for movie stars, pop singers, royalty, gangsters, captains of industry and politicians. Presidents of the United States have for decades favoured the marque; as far back as 1919 President Woodrow Wilson rode in a Cadillac on his return home from the post-WWI peace talks. The car offered here though, is a rare - possibly the only - example of one favoured by an Eastern Bloc leader: President Tito of Yugoslavia. Born Josip Broz in 1892 in Croatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he fought in WWI and was wounded and captured by the Russians. He escaped and took part in the Russian Revolution, and on his return home in 1920 joined Communist Party of Yugoslavia. His post-war political activities saw him end up in jail and it was around this time that he adopted the nom de guerre 'Tito'.
Tito's partisans led the successful Yugoslav resistance to German occupation during WW2 and at the end of hostilities he was appointed Prime Minister and later President. He famously broke with Stalin in 1949 to pursue policies free of Soviet influence, and headed the Non-Aligned Movement for many years. After Tito's death in 1980 it became clear that his finest achievement had been maintaining the peaceful co-existence of the nations that made up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which barely ten years after his death would be embroiled in a bloody civil war.
This particular Cadillac is on the Series 75 chassis reserved for the company's largest models, which usually carried nine-seat sedan (6723) or limousine (6733) coachwork by General Motors' in-house prestige coachbuilder Fleetwood. A '6733' chassis, 832 of which were built during 1960, this example being number '828', it has been extensively customised by Carrozzeria Ghia to create a one-of-a-kind convertible parade car (see Thomas A McPherson's 'Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five Limousines 1937-1987'). After Tito's break with Stalin, who made several attempts to assassinate the Yugoslav leader, the US government had begun to cultivate him as a possible ally and presented him with the Cadillac, knowing that he was a keen car enthusiast. As Tito once famously remarked: 'People enjoyed giving me decorations, I enjoyed it too...'
Powered by a 390ci (6.4-litre) V8 engine producing 345bhp, the car is equipped with automatic transmission, a refrigerator, electric windows (including division) and an automatic electrical/hydraulic convertible roof, the cylinders of which have been replaced recently in the vendor's workshop. Interestingly, it was originally also equipped with a portable Remington shaver. There are two large spotlights mounted either side of the windscreen and an altimeter, while it is possible to adjust the radio from the rear seats. The current odometer reading is 64,961 kilometres.
After Tito died in May 1980, the Cadillac was stored on government property and towards the end of the 1980s was offered for sale by one of Tito's close associates to a broker in The Netherlands. He offered the Cadillac to collector Hans Bezemer, who bought it and first registered the car in The Netherlands in 1991. The convertible hood was replaced around 2000 and there are photographs of this in the history file. Very few individuals get to be a State President, so this unique Cadillac represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to place oneself in the exalted position of one of the most controversial European statesmen of modern times, albeit without the onerous responsibilities.