Part 2: Legendary Women of Film and Their Extraordinary Cars
Our second installment featuring famous movie stars of the Golden Age, and their passion for automobiles.
The legendary women known from cinema's Classical Hollywood period are generally not affiliated with the cars they drove, collected, and were often chauffeured in. Instead, scandals, career downfalls, and in some cases their tragic deaths, usually take precedence and leave no room for real car talk. However, the movie star cars pictured here indicate they shared not only a passion for their careers but for some memorable automobiles. Click here to read part 1 of this series.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
If you want the best things in life, you have to earn them for yourself. -Jayne Mansfield
Before Jayne Mansfield signed a six-year agreement with Twentieth Century Fox, she worked various small gigs, including selling books door-to-door, as a restaurant photographer, model, dance teacher, and selling candy at a movie theater. In 1956 she starred in "The Girl Can't Help It," which interestingly enough earned more at the box office than 1953's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Despite her short-lived film career, Mansfield won a Golden Globe award for her appearance in the adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel, "The Wayward Bus."
How this pint-sized actress took flight in her lengthy Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz to cruise Hollywood's streets is a talent in itself. Among other cars Mansfield is rumored to have owned are a Buick Roadmaster convertible and a Jaguar XK120. Based on some plausible findings, her pink Cadillac Eldorado, now in white, resides on the East Coast.
1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic 98 Convertible
Getting into movies was a breeze, totally effortless, but it wasn't my dream at all. I was just making a living. -Doris Day
Doris Day didn't dream of being an actress, and she likely didn't expect to become the owner of what would become, thanks to her, famous movie star cars. Early in 1945, Day's "Sentimental Journey" played on the airwaves around the world and became an instant hit. Her soothing vocals comforted soldiers returning home from the war, catapulting the song to World War II's anthem. Day would go on to record more than 650 songs, and after that successful music career, she starred opposite James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's critically acclaimed "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956).
It is no coincidence Day drove her Oldsmobile Futuramic 98 Convertible with her fluffy black dog in tow, as Day was a lifelong animal rights activist. Her estate recently went up for sale on Julien's Auctions, and the items for sale included a 1930 Ford Model A Cabriolet sold for $96,000, the priciest item. All proceeds from the estate sale went to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
1932 Packard 903 Deluxe Eight Sport Phaeton
You have to be hard-boiled to get through life whether you're a shopgirl, a debutante, or a movie star. -Jean Harlow
For an actress whose career lasted less than a decade, Jean Harlow soared to the top to become one of the world's most famous movie stars. The Kansas City blonde took Hollywood by storm with starring roles in "The Public Enemy" (1931), "Dinner at Eight" (1933), and "Red Dust" (1932). Her chemistry with co-star Clark Gable proved to be the strongest, and they collaborated on six films.
Harlow may have loved her cars more than her acting job; just look up "Jean Harlow cars" in Google's image search and see for yourself. Of all the women on this list, Harlow appears to be the most excited about cars, and given the period in which she lived, she was ahead of her time. Harlow enjoyed driving her Packard 903 Deluxe Eight Sport Phaeton with the top down, and she always seemed her happiest behind the wheel. In this photo, she was captured outside of her home in Beverly Hills with her beloved Packard.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
My philosophy is that it's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe and not to explore at all. -Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren famously said she owed everything in her life to spaghetti. Honored on the American Film Institute's list of the 50 greatest screen legends of all time, Loren is the last surviving actress on the list. The Italian-born film star was the first person to receive an Academy Award in a foreign film for her performance in 1961's "Two Women."
This vivacious woman also had a soft spot for luxury cars, and owned some of the best movie star cars of all time. Among the stylish models were a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, a Ferrari 275 GTS, and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. She received the Gullwing from her film-producer husband, Carlo Ponti, and of all the cars in her stable, it attracted the most publicity as Loren was seen often in the driver's seat. In 1956, the stunning actress participated in Italy's "Rally del Cinema," a rally that featured Italian film stars.
1954 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she'll conquer the world. -Marilyn Monroe
Without a shadow of a doubt, Marilyn Monroe is the most iconic Hollywood legend, and there will never be another one like her. For most of her film career, Monroe fought tooth and nail to steer clear of sexy dumb-blonde roles but couldn't escape being typecast by studios. To evade the pandemonium in Tinseltown, Monroe once took an extended leave of absence and made a run for New York. Her versatile performance in "Some Like it Hot" (1959) made audiences across the globe laugh out loud.
Most people are probably in the know about the black 1956 Ford Thunderbird Monroe's photographer friend Milton H. Greene helped her acquire. However, no one ever talks about the fabulous 1954 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible she received as a payment for her appearance on CBS's "The Jack Benny Show" in 1953. Not surprisingly, Caddys were one of her preferred modes of transportation to be chauffeured in.
1934 Ford Roadster
I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door. -Joan Crawford
Of Joan Crawford's illustrious filmography from 1925 to 1972, no one could forget her performance in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Starring opposite Bette Davis, whom Crawford was known to have a rivalry with, the film was a box office success and earned her critical acclaim.
When it came to purchasing cars, Crawford wasted no time and quickly found comfort in the driver's seat of a variety of Ford models early in her career. Later on, though, she developed an inclination toward Cadillac, and part of her collection included a 1933 Cadillac V-16 Seven-Passenger Town Cabriolet by Fleetwood.
1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe
I've never sought success in order to get fame and money; it's the talent and the passion that count in success. -Ingrid Bergman
Three-time Academy Award winner and 1960 Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, Ingrid Bergman, starred in one of the greatest films of all time, "Casablanca" (1943). An interesting fact about the movie is that during the shoot, Bergman's co-star Humphrey Bogart wore platform shoes that made him look taller since he was shorter than Bergman.
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend, but Bergman would beg to differ. When Italian film director Roberto Rossellini was romancing the dazzling Swede, he went all out and bought her a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe. Known as the "Bergman Coupe," Rossellini commissioned the one-off Ferrari for his bride to be, but whether or not Bergman drove it herself is up for debate. One of only five built for road use, the Pininfarina Ferrari 375 MM made its debut at the 1954 Paris Salon Auto Show.