Once again, it was the Presidential Lancia Flaminia that accompanied the new Head of State on the day of his second oath. Sergio Mattarella, together with Prime Minister Draghi, had himself immortalized on one of the four-wheeled symbols of Italianity which, however, has an… English origin. History tells us that the convertible was built in 1960 at the request of President Gronchi, who wanted it to receive Queen Elizabeth II, on an official visit to Italy the following year. Since ’61, therefore, the Flaminia has accompanied all the first offices of the state.
This prestigious convertible limousine was created by Pininfarina from Turin who, starting from the 1957 Flaminia, extending its wheelbase up to 3.35 meters and its length up to almost five and a half meters, created a passenger compartment capable of accommodating seven people.
Four examples were made, renamed with the names of some thoroughbred horses of the Quirinale Stables: Belfiore, Belmonte, Belvedere and Belsito. However, the car was so liked by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip that legend has it there is a fifth example, jealously preserved inside Buckingham Palace; even if there are no official confirmations on the matter.
The unique feature of the model is the rigid, foldable canvas hood. However, the Belsito was built with a non-opening canvas top above the driver’s seat. All are painted in the characteristic midnight blue, have black Connolly leather upholstery, intercom to communicate with the driver, five rear seats with a large sofa and two folding seats.
To enjoy the elegance of the Presidential Flaminia, in addition to the sovereign of England, were also personalities of the caliber of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Charles De Gaulle. In 2001 the cars underwent a careful restoration and, currently, two of the specimens are entrusted to the Quirinale Stables: Belfiore and Belvedere are in fact the cars for the great occasions of the Head of State and the highest offices of the Republic.
The Belsito, on the other hand, can be seen at the historical museum of the Military Motorization in Rome, while the Belmonte has been exhibited since 2001 at the Turin Automobile Museum.