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Auto titan's Bel-Air estate sells for $19.5 million

Neal J. Leitereg
The longtime Bel-Air home of late automobile titan Lee Iacocca listed in January for $25.999 million and sold in April, amid the coronavirus pandemic, for $19.5 million.  (Tyler Hogan)

The longtime Bel-Air home of Lee Iacocca, the late automobile titan who brought Chrysler Corp back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1979, has sold for $19.5 million.

Owned by the Iacocca family since the early 1990s, the gated estate came up for sale in January for $25.999 million and entered escrow in March — just as the coronavirus threw a wrench into L.A.’s real estate market. But unlike the many pending sales that have fallen out of escrow during the pandemic, the multimillion-dollar transaction closed Wednesday, according to listing agents Rick Hilton and David Kramer of Hilton & Hyland.

Kramer declined to identify the buyer but said they intend to live in the Italianate-style residence, which was built in 1990.

“People still need a place to live,” he said. “Real estate is still relevant in the sense that, rich or poor, people still need a place to live.”

Set on more than an acre, the two-story home has a grand foyer with arched ceilings, a wood-paneled den and a great room. There are five fireplaces, including two in the expansive master retreat. A total of five bedrooms and eight bathrooms includes an apartment for staff.

French doors lead out to a stone pavilion, a swimming pool and formal gardens. A lighted tennis court lies elsewhere on the grounds.

Kramer and Kevin Anderson, also with Hilton & Hyland, represented the buyer.

Iacocca and his family were the original owners of the property, The Times previously reported.

The former Ford and Chrysler executive, who died last year at 94, helped pioneer the Mustang and Pinto lines while at Ford in the 1960s. In 1979, Iacocca joined Chrysler as its chief executive and helped stabilize the auto manufacturer that been left in ruins by previous finance-trained chairmen.

He was featured last year as a character in the Oscar-winning film “Ford v Ferrari.”