A Date With a Princess of Monaco
Photography by Afshin Behnia for Petrolicious
Pete (not his real name as he prefers to remain anonymous) had recently discovered Petrolicious and wrote us a complimentary email after binge-watching a year-and-half’s worth of Petrolicious films. His email signature had a Monte Carlo address, and since Kika and I were about to start a road trip from Milan to Cassis the next day with our trusted ‘Ludovica’, the 1968 Alfa Romeo GTV, we got in touch with Pete right away and made an appointment to meet up, have coffee, and talk cars.
The next day we set out on our road trip, driving through charming seaside towns in Liguria with a stop for an excellent lunch featuring the local specialty trofie al pesto. Back on the road and arriving in Monaco, we made the descent into town through the windy one-way roads and after several wrong turns finally spotted Pete’s early, bright-red Porsche 911E parked in front of a cafe.
Pete and his wife were both extremely welcoming and friendly, and both share a passion for vintage cars. Over coffee, Pete tells me the story of his 911E, the bittersweet experience he had with a 912 he had prior to that, and the Lancia Aurelia B20 that he’s currently restoring. But he was most eager to take us to his garage to show us the jewel that he had gotten for his wife. We got in our cars and Kika and I followed them to a condominium garage. There, in a corner, was the 1973 Princess Vanden Plas 1300 in an unusually beautiful pea green.
This rare specimen has had only three owners and just 17,000 km on the clock. Its rarity, extraordinarily well-maintained state, and original color, Pete tells me, are what inspired him to buy this Princess as a present for his wife. His wife instantly fell in love with the car and now uses it as a daily driver. In Monaco supercars can be a dime a dozen–all it takes is money and there’s lots of it here. To find and daily-drive such a rare beauty, however, takes something money can’t buy: taste.
Thank you, Pete and your wife for the hospitality and treating us to your Porsche and Princess.