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1967 SEAT 850 Coupe ?

Seat 850 Coupe - AKA The Spanish Flea
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History and Documentation of a Billionaire’s Folly
11-20-99
In the early nineties, one of the world's 200 richest men purchased this tiny Spanish-built  4 seat coupe in Madrin, Spain and had it shipped halfway around the world. He then spent a king's ransom to have the little car restored to showroom condition at one of the world's most respected and expensive automotive restoration facilities. When the car was completed, he presented it to his fabulously rich and sophisticated wife as if it were the only jewel that her marvelous collection lacked. It is assumed that she was non-plussed. 

Built in Barcelona in 1967, this simple Seat 850 Coupe was originally purchased new by Maria Fernanda Fernandez Posada of Madrid, Spain, who held on to her registration permits, warranty coupon booklet, manuals, and technical inspection documents throughout the life of the car. Ms. Posada registered & inspected the car yearly during her 26 years of ownership, and travelled only a little over 89,000 kilometers (55,000 miles) in that time, an average of less than 2200 miles per year. In early 1993 Ms. Posada sold the modest coupe to an agent of billionaire media mogul Emilio Azcárraga “Tiger” Milmo, for reasons best understood only by  “The Tiger” himself. 

The Coupe was subsequently imported to Los Angeles, where it was delivered to an eager Mr. Azcárraga. Tiger's agent dropped the car off at the Hollywood Chevron at 1934 Cahuenga Boulevard on March 9th 1993 for a smog test, where station personnel recorded an odometer reading of 89,200 kilometers on the invoice. Perhaps Mr. Azcárraga decided then and there that the car needed mechanical attention of a higher level, because the car was soon parked & disassembled inside the renowned automotive restoration facility of Hill & Vaughn in Marina Del Rey, California for a thorough cosmetic and mechanical restoration. At least 377 documented billable hours and possibly many more undocumented ones were spent on the humble coupe by Hill & Vaughn specialists, who normally work their magic on such Pebble Beach Concours icons as Hispano-Suiza, Delahaye, Bugatti, pre-war Cadillacs, and the like. 

The completed coupe was inspected and released by Hill & Vaughn on May 23rd, 1993, and ownership was officially transferred to Mr. Azcárraga by the California DMV on that same day. Soon afterward, as the story goes, the multi-billionaire gave the car to his current wife Paula Cussi as a present.  A Latin-American celebrity in her own right, Ms. Cussi had risen to fame and popularity via her appearances on popular Spanish language variety shows which aired throughout the Latin-American world. At the time of her gift, she was in the midst of a highly regarded second career as the Managing Director of the Cultural Center for Contemporary Art in Mexico City. It is not known why The Tiger would present the car to Paula Cussi, a rich and worldly woman who one would assume would have little time or interest in such a modest vehicle. Did he do it as an elaborate joke? A romantic reminder of simpler times? What we do know is that Paula Cussi did register and insure the car in her name as a daily driver for the next five years. The car remained hers past the date of her divorce from Mr. Azcárraga and his later marriage to Adriana Abascal, Miss Mexico and 5th runner up in the 1989 Miss Universe pageant. Indeed, Paula Cussi remained the registered owner of the diminutive Spanish coupe beyond the date of  Mr. Azcárraga’s untimely death of cancer in 1997. As might have been expected, Paula did not use the car regularly, as it has only covered 600 kilometers (373 miles, or about 2 tanks of gas) between its arrival in the United States and its eventual sale to a balding yet curiously pointy-haired Network Engineer in late1999. Said engineer was only looking for a cheap and fun daily driver, and did not know the history of the lovely Coupe until after he had purchased it. He is quite surprised about the car's unique and unexpected pedigree, and enjoys the car regularly, but only on special jaunts, not as a daily driver. The car is fantastically reliable, and is literally as new as it was in 1967. A 550 kilo, 50 hp time machine, and likely to be the only one in the world in this condition.

Pur Sang - The Spanish Flea
  
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Comments? Questions? Disbelief? 
Please email: craig@howell.net