Maranello, 11 March 2021 – The new exhibition at the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena brings together the one-off cars built by Ferrari for Gianni Agnelli and meticulously customised in close collaboration with him. This unique collection is a testament to the symbiotic relationship that developed between two of the most charismatic and authoritative figures of the 20th century and endured for over 50 years.
“Gianni Agnelli and Ferrari. The Elegance of the Legend” is an homage by the Maranello marque to one of its greatest touchstones, first and foremost as a loyal client and later as close confidant and partner, on the 100th anniversary of the latter’s birth tomorrow. The official online opening of the exhibition takes place on March 12 on the Ferrari Museums’ social media channels and website. As we wait for new government regulations to allow us to reopen the MEF’s exhibition halls to the public, we will be organising two free virtual live tours of around 30 minutes each day until April 1. These can be booked starting tomorrow at the Museums’ website (Ferrari.com/it-IT/museums).
A Prancing Horse enthusiast from a young age, Gianni Agnelli was consistently courteous and respectful in his proposals for highly customised special versions of certain models. For his part, Enzo Ferrari was aware that the influence, aesthetic tastes and personality of a client who was both very close to the factory and familiar with working on exclusive projects, might lead to successful and farsighted choices. The duo’s close relationship produced a collection of peerlessly beautiful and seductive cars, which Gianni Agnelli drove with rigorous understatement.
One such car as the essentially elegant Ferrari 166 MM. Agnelli was so captivated by it at the 1948 Turin Motor Show that he coined a whole new term to describe its sleek lines. The word “barchetta” (little boat) has ever since been used in the sector to describe open-top racing cars. Finely customised in green and blue and with a bespoke cabin, the 166 MM was Ferrari’s first one-off for the Avvocato (the Lawyer) as Agnelli was affectionately known.
The next car to be tailored to the personality of this very special client was the 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter, which was given sophisticated detailing and styling cues that set a whole new trend. Two-tone “family” 456 blue was paired with a magnolia white roof, while two imposing headlights were designed to make high speed driving a pleasure at night as well as during the day.
The exhibition continues with the stupendous and timeless 375 America, a coupé built by Ferrari in 1955 thanks to its symbiotic creative relationship with Battista “Pinin” Farina. The Avvocato was instantly smitten and customised his car with uniquely sophisticated interior trim that included a beautifully- made clock at the centre of the tunnel.
The now well-established relationship between Agnelli and Enzo Ferrari produced yet another masterpiece in 1959 in the form of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica. Bodied and fitted out by Pininfarina, this one-off on show at the MEF opened a whole new chapter in Ferrari grand touring styling.
Also exhibited at the MEF is the 1966 365 P Speciale, the lines of which had been sculpted by the racing world. Pininfarina brilliantly interpreted the car in two three-seater prototypes with a central driver seat. The version commissioned by Gianni Agnelli sports a uniquely elegant silver livery with a slender strip of black moulding running along the belt line.