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Features - Lake County

Car of cop-slap fame on exhibit

VOLO — The 25th anniversary of the slap heard around the world is nearly here, and the Volo Auto Museum has brought out of hiding the Rolls Royce which sparked the infamous celebrity squabble.

Who of a certain age can forget the headlines dominated the news after B-movie glamour queen Zsa Zsa Gabor slapped Beverly Hills cop Paul Kramer? It happened June 14, 1989, after Kramer pulled Gabor over for driving with an expired registration on her 1979 Rolls Royce Corniche convertible.

The white convertible with its blue leather interior, still titled in Gabor’s name, has been brought out of the Grams family’s private vault and placed on display to coincide with the anniversary, which also is Father’s Day weekend.

“People who are younger won’t remember it, but their dads sure will,” said Brian Grams, director of the museum at 27582 Volo Village Road in Volo. “Why not bring dad out to see it?

“We have a lot of formerly celebrity-owned cars, and they’re all cool,” he continued. “But none are as cool as the ones that developed their own claim to fame … the story surrounding this car landed Zsa Zsa on the talk shows of Johnny Carson, Phil Donahue and Larry King, among others, not to mention landing her in jail.”

Gabor, whose smiling mugshot became a familiar sight in 1989, was found guilty in September of that year after a highly publicized trial. She was ordered to spend three days in jail and perform 120 hours of community service.

A curvaceous blonde once predominantly well known for her multiple marriages (nine) and for calling everyone “Dahling,” the now 97-year-old Hungary born actress forever will be remembered for the slap, Grams predicted. 

“That incident and this Rolls are part of the fabric of Hollywood history,” he said. “We hope folks will come out to see it and enjoy the rest of the collection, too.”

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