The Best Turcat-mery Classic Car is Going Back to France

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I posted about this a while back and wondered what was going to happen in this classic car. The car is on its way back to France where it will be put up for sale. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it will not let the “French Historic Monument” be for sale to the highest bidder. Do you think that Charles Morse will get his $927,518 that he paid for it back?

Historic French roadster to be returned by Paul Shukovsky

P-I REPORTER

A Seattle antique automobile collector and federal prosecutors have settled a dispute over the fate of a classic car –considered by the French to be a national treasure — that the feds had planned to seize on behalf of the government of France.

Charles Morse has never objected to returning to France the 1919 Turcat-Mery — once owned by a descendant of the royal Bourbon dynasty. He just didn’t want to be out the $927,518 he paid for it.

Under terms a settlement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Morse retains ownership of the vehicle that was custom built for the Duc de Montpensier. The Turcat could be loaded aboard a cargo flight to France as soon as Wednesday night where Morse has agreed to sell it.

Morse, a connoisseur of classic cars told the Seattle P-I in December that he was resigned to the Turcat’s repatriation. “On a personal basis, I kind of had my fun with it,” Morse said.

The Turcat first arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands in July 2005. A few weeks later, Morse was showing the car at one of the most prestigious classic car events on the planet: the Pebble Beach Concourse elegance.

Which is held annually on the famous 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course south of Monterey, Calif. Among the cars being shown were Ralph Lauren’s 1938 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider, Bruce McCaw’s 1932 Alfa Romeo Zagat Monza and another Morse vehicle, a 1932 Deluge Chaperon Cabriolet.

The Turcat took top honors in its class

Morse, in the settlement agreement, noted: “that he wishes to amicably resolve this case in recognition of the importance of the vehicle in French cultural history.”

Morse agreed to pay for the cost of shipping the vehicle back to France where he hopes to show it for sale at the 2009 Paris Retro mobile, which ends Sunday. Morse also agreed that potential buyers would be informed that as a “French Historic Monument,” the vehicle cannot be exported out of France unless permitted by the French government.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Cohen said Wednesday that it has always been the government’s intent to return this piece of French history to France. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Leigh Winchell asserted: “It is a historical monument and its removal from France was illegal. ICE will continue to work closely with foreign governments to ensure that a country’s heritage is not for sale to the highest bidder.”

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