Anna Magnani: the First Lady Ferrarista

The first famous female Ferrari owner was an Oscar winner

Since the earliest days of Ferrari, Enzo’s cars have been sought by the world’s stars and celebrities. Those at the top of their game feel they should be driving a car that reflects their high achievements. That’s why famous people have been regular guests at Maranello since the 1950s – and female Ferrari clients have been welcomed since the earliest days of the company. One of the first stars to drive a Ferrari was Oscar-winning Italian actress Anna Magnani. In January 1951, she took delivery of a two-tone Ferrari 195 Inter, an evolution of the 166 with a longer wheelbase and an enlarged, more powerful 2,341cc Gioachino Colombo-designed V12 engine.

Magnani was a household name, a truly global film star. A famous picture of her with the Ferrari was taken on the set of the 1952 film La Carrosse d’Or – The Golden Coach, which was directed by Jean Renoir. She later won an Oscar for her performance in the 1956 movie The Rose Tattoo. Her 195 Inter was a Vignale-bodied version of the second road-going Ferrari.

Anna Magnani with her 212 Inter Coupè Vignale during the filming of La Carrosse d’Or

Enlarging the V12 engine made it more flexible at low speeds – important for period customers unused to the high performance of a Ferrari. However, it was also more powerful, giving it a high top speed for the time. Italian coachbuilders Touring, Ghia and Ghia Aigle also produced body variants of the 195 Inter. Anna Magnani owned her Ferrari until 1959, when it passed into the hands of collectors. It was later believed to have been converted by the factory to 212 Inter specification. In 2016, Magnani’s former Ferrari won the FIVA Preservation Award at the Argentinian Autoclasica event.

Ferrari has long welcomed female clients, with ownership gradually increasing over the years. In key markets such as China, around 20 percent of those buying Ferraris are female. This year the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena has celebrated female and Ferrari with a special exhibition Il Rosso & il Rosa – Women and Ferrari, the untold story. The story of Anna Magnani, the original female Ferrarista, is among those explored in the exhibition, which runs until December 2018.