September 14 marks a solemn anniversary for fans of Hollywood-starlet-turned-real-life-princess Grace Kelly. On September 13, 1982, Kelly suffered a stroke and lost control of her 1971 Rover P6 while driving along a familiar but treacherous stretch of road high above the Mediterranean coast of Monaco. Kelly careened off a cliff and plunged 120 feet onto an embankment below, and the following day the elegant Princess Grace died at the age of 53.
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In 1975 one of these Sunbeams was given to KCET (PBS-Los Angeles) for their pledge drive fund raising auction. We photographed it driving around the parking lot to show it drove. It did not get any bids. So, as the station did every year, they put it in their parking lot sale with other items that did not sell. They priced it for $450. One of my best friends and the station technical director, Rick Bennewitz, said to me what the hell and he bought it. He drove it around for a few years and then sold it. I have a suspicion that it may have been the stage process twin for the movie, but don't know that. It was identical to the European car. Rick raced a Super Seven and Techno formula car in vintage races as well. Both of these cars are stored in Jay Leno's garage and are owned by Jim Hall, one of Jay's very talented engineers and restorers, and a good friend of Rick's also. One of Jay's episodes is devoted to the Super Seven. Unfortunately Rick is no longer with us.
As Shelby said, one beautiful lady... but the scene editing, sound, engine sounds, and a CVT (?) transmission??? HA! Terrible, and actually frustrating to watch.
This very same car was on display in Connecticut in The Malcolm Pray collection... What a gorgeous little car... Our ct. Z car club advisor Bob Sharp arranged for our group to have a meet at the museum.. Beautiful collection of fine automobiles... Mr. Pray has passed since then, I believe the cars were auctioned off after his passing...