" pictures: RM Auctions Question: Can the ugly actually be beautiful? Answer: Yes. When that ugly beauty is encapsulated in the Ferrari 340 Mexico. Four of these stunningly original cars were built for the Carrera PanAmericana race of 1952 - and the proof "
Roberto Rossellini’s Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupé
Italian neorealist film director Roberto Rossellini had taste.
Not only was he one of the definitive auteurs of post-war European cinema, but he also commissioned a gobsmackingly beautiful car: a 375 MM spyder.
You can see by the cut of Rossellini’s suit that the man had style. But getting on the phone and getting Sr. Scaglietti to rebody your Ferrari?
That’s what we call panache.
It was a highly exclusive vehicle, which only added to its lustre; only five of the total 26 375 MMs that were made were used as passenger cars – the rest were used for what they were originally built for: racing. In fact, the MM in the vehicle’s name stood for Mille Miglia, the race that the vehicle was originally intended for (though it did go on to compete in other races).
The Rossellini-Ferrari story goes that the car the great director owned was originally a red 375 Pininfarina Spyder but was rebodied as a Coupé by Scaglietti and painted silver after a crash.
And you can see how the Coupé format works perfectly for those Northern European winters (Rossellini spent a lot of time in Paris). Notice those wonderfully scalped flanks similar to those on the 250TR, the pinched rear end that was such an inspiration for the E-Type, and of course that wonderfully long, elegantly scooped nose.
Whoever restored this beauty showed real attention to detail, as you can see from the beautifully rendered interior. And though you’d have to sell a small family’s worth of kidneys to afford even those wire wheels, there’s something of that spartan, post WW2 Italian aesthetic that’s reflected in its incredible presence.
The perfect car for the perfect creator. We’re in love.
Even after Rossellini parted ways with the vehicle, it continued going on an incredible journey. In the 1970s, the car was sold to someone in Paris. Its whereabouts was unknown until 1995, where the Ferrari 375 was found gathering dust in an underground garage – that is, until former Microsoft president Jon Shirley took it under his wing and commissioned a substantial restoration.
Since then, the vehicle has won a couple of awards, including First in Class at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1998 and, following another extensive restoration project, the top prize at Pebble Beach in 2014.
This wasn’t the only Ferrari that Roberto Rossellini commissioned either. The director also purchased another 375 MM – the Pininfarina “Bergman Coupé” – for his wife, actress Ingrid Bergman.
The vehicle was painted in a new colour – a champagne-gold that has now come to be known as “Grigio Ingrid”, and which is still available for production cars.
Images Via Life Archive/Conceptcarz/Supercars.net.
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