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February 2, 2020

Vintage Photos of Sophia Loren With Her 1955 SL300 Gullwing

Italian-French film star Sophia Loren was at one point in time, an owner of the Iconic Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. In 1955, she had received the car from her husband, the famous Italian film producer Carlo Ponti. Ponti wanted to buy a car for his Sophia that was in no way inferior in glamor and beauty – and found her counterpart in the elegant and sleek 300 SL Coupé.
“He presented me with a new car in our garden at home,” Loren recalled. “It was a Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing – with the doors open.”
The most famous moments of Loren’s ownership were publicized by Mercedes-Benz’s own PR department, including her participation in the III Rallye del Cinema, a three-day, 1000km regularity trial starting from Rome on April 14, 1956. The first stint took the drivers – all famous stars in the movies or on television – through Siena via Montecatini Terme and Varese to finish in Sanremo, with a glamorous gala dinner in the winter garden of the city’s famous casino. The overall winner was Italian actor Alberto Sordi (in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta), with Loren finishing quite some way behind. Judging by her smiles at the award ceremony, she didn’t seem to have cared too much.

Loren’s association with the car ended later that year. It was sold on December 10, 1956 to Mr Troa Rolando, a wealthy professional of Tivoli, Rome, for a declared value of 3,000,000 Italian Lire. He sold the car in September 1958 for a declared value of 1,500,000 Lire to a personal company, Sacma di Alvigni & C SAS of Rome. A new numberplate (Mi 612971) was issued when the fourth owner, Mr Pico Giuseppe Maria of Milan, bought the car in December 1961 for a declared sum of 700,000 Lire. He sold it on in April 1962 to New York-born Corradini Viviani Arthur of Milan, for a declared value of 400,000 Lire.

Corradini was a renowned exotic car dealer, buying cars in Europe and shipping them to the USA, and the car passed through several different American owners, all unaware of its early history, before it returned to Europe in the early 2000s. It went first to a Swedish collector before being bought by the Swiss Mercedes-Benz collector Daniel Iseli, in early 2019. He was well aware of the car’s past and asked Gullwing specialist HK Engineering to take care of his new purchase.


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