THE WEDDING GIFT FERRARI FROM ROBERTO ROSSELLINI TO INGRID BERGMAN
1953 FERRARI 212 INTER COUPE
COACHWORK BY PININ FARINA
Chassis No. 0265 EU
Engine No. 0265 EU
Ferrari red with biscuit leather interior with black piping
Engine: Ferrari V12, 2,562cc, 68x58.5 mm, 180bhp at 5,500rpm, triple 36 DCE3 Weber carburettors; Gearbox: 4-speed manual; Suspension; front - independent double wishbones, transverse leaf springs, rear - rigid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
The minute I looked at her, I knew I had something. She had an extraordinary quality of purity and nobility and a definite star personality that is very rare. But she acted like a movie-struck teen-ager. I remember having a party for her at my home. Spencer Tracy, Charles Boyer and a dozen other movie stars were there. She just sat in a corner staring at them in awe. She was so shy she couldn't stop blushing.- David O. Selznick
And so a star was born. It was May, 1939, when Ingrid Bergman first arrived in Hollywood and her first movie was "Intermezzo", A Love Story. The director was Gregory Ratoff. In later years, Ms. Bergman recalled that he was forever correcting her English, though his own accent was usually incomprehensible. On the other hand, her Swedish background gave her a natural flair for languages, and she conquered English speedily. The first movie proved to be an enormous success and she was hailed by most American film critics as possessing poise, intelligence, naturalness, and a unique aura.
She returned to Sweden in the late summer and vowed that she would return to the United States to star in Joan of Arc in 1940. However, her plans were changed when World War II broke out in Europe and delayed her ability to return. In the meantime, David Selznick had picked up Ms. Bergman's option and immediately upon her return loaned her out to Columbia Pictures for whom she made a number of highly successful movies. In 1944, she played opposite Charles Boyer in Gas Light for which she was awarded an Oscar for best actress at the Academy Awards securing her role as one of Hollywood's premiere actresses.
During this time, she had formed a good friendship with a brilliant photographer, Robert Capa, who talked much of the cinematic exploits of Italian film director, Roberto Rossellini, who was then age 43 and known as the 'father of the post-war Italian neo-realistic school of film'. Rossellini had created a sensation world-wide with Open City and Paisan. Ms. Bergman saw both films repeatedly and in early 1948 found herself so galvanized that she sat down and wrote Rossellini the 'famous letter' that explained her Swedish background and her command of English, German, French and Italian. She closed the letter by saying Ti amo, I am ready to come and make a film with you. Best regards, Ingrid Bergman.
Rossellini cabled back:
I HAVE JUST RECEIVED WITH GREAT EMOTION YOUR LETTER WHICH HAPPENS TO ARRIVE ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY BIRTHDAY. IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE THAT I DREAMED OF MAKING A FILM WITH YOU AND FROM THIS VERY MOMENT I WILL DO EVERYTHING TIL SUCH A DREAM BECOMES REALITY. I WILL WRITE YOU A LONG LETTER TO SUBMIT TO YOU MY IDEAS. WITH MY ADMIRATION PLEASE ACCEPT THE EXPRESSION OF MY GRATITUDE TOGETHER WITH MY BEST REGARDS. ROBERTO.
And so began a beautiful relationship. Ms. Bergman left Hollywood for England to make Under Capricorn produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and during the filming she met Rossellini in Paris where they worked out the details for Stromboli to be filmed in Italy. Rossellini returned to Rome in February of 1949 and Ms. Bergman followed him in March. Soon rumors of a love affair between the actress and the Italian director were spreading in the European and American press. Friends and relatives of both parties were soon expressing disapproval of the affair. In February of 1950, Stromboli was released and simultaneously Ms. Bergman gave birth to a baby boy, Robertino in a clinic in Rome. The news of her pregnancy had been broken by Louella Parsons in December 1949, and the scandal that erupted assumed major proportions. A week after her son was born, Ms. Bergman filed suit for divorce from her first husband and in May, she underwent a proxy marriage to Rossellini.
During 1950 and 1951, the Rossellini/Bergman thing continued to be the 'piece-de-resistance' of the international gossip sheets. When Ms. Bergman's twin daughters, Isabella and Issotta were born in June 1952, the dust had settled and Ms. Bergman's reputation had been regained. Meanwhile, she was completing Europa 51, We the Women and Viaggio, three Rossellini hits.
In April of 1951, Ingrid and Roberto Rossellini were visitors at the Turin Auto Show, where they viewed the new Ferrari 212's. Ingrid was impressed by the sleek design and outstanding coachwork. She convinced Roberto that he should purchase for himself a Ferrari Vignale Spyder. In return, Rossellini vowed to give Ingrid a Pinin Farina Coupe as a wedding present. They selected Pinin Farina as the coachbuilder because of Ingrid's friendship with the Pinin Farina family. The Ferrari was completed in early 1953 and was assigned the chassis number of 0265EU. Ingrid was elated with her new 212 and referred to it as her 'growling baby'.
The Ferrari 212 series was among the first collaborations between Ferrari and Batista Farina's world famous Carrozzeria Pinin Farina (later Pininfarina). It formed the basis of a successful relationship lasting more than forty years with Pinninfarina as the sole arbitrator of design for Ferrari.
The rolling chassis for the 212s were delivered by Ferrari to the old Pinin Farina works at Corso Trapani, Italy, where the bodies were expertly handcrafted. The entire plant production of Pinin Farina for 1953 was only 902 cars, a clear statement of Battista Farina's mandate of, and commitment to, quality.
0265EU was delivered on December 12, 1952 to Pinin Farina from Ferrari for mounting of the coachwork and fitting of the interior. The 'growling baby' was delivered to Mr. Rossellini in Rome prior to its presentation to Ingrid. Ingrid and Roberto were passionate about their Ferraris and Roberto enthusiastically supported the marque by entering into competitive events, including the 1953 Mille Miglia.
The 212 eventually migrated to California and, after a number of successive owners, was completely dismantled for restoration. After nearly four years worth of painstaking restoration, the 212 was shown at numerous concours and has won many laurels including: 1985 Pebble Beach Best in Class; 1985 Watkins Glen Best in Class; and has been documented extensively in Cavallino magazine no. 35. In 1996, Mr. Lee, the present owner, returned the 212 to have the restoration 'freshened up' by Smith Coachworks. This immaculate 212 has a wonderfully romantic history and would be a star attraction of any concours, or an historically important entry for events such as the Mille Miglia, Tour de France and Colorado Grand.