In 1960, Federico Fellini, the famed Italian filmmaker, released a film that would change European cinema forever. La Dolce Vita — which translates into English as ‘the sweet life’ — followed a journalist spending a week in Rome searching fruitlessly for love and happiness. The film’s female star was Swedish screen siren Anita Ekberg, and this is her car.
Four years before Ekberg shot that iconic scene in front of the Trevi Fountain with Marcello Mastroianni — but after romances with Errol Flynn and Frank Sinatra — the former Miss Sweden bought this car new. A Jaguar XK140 SE Roadster, she picked out this exact model in Jaguar’s London showroom.
Similar to, although more refined than its sensational XK120 predecessor, this 1956 Roadster was upgraded with stiffer torsion bars, telescopic shock absorbers and rack-and-pinion steering. It no longer just looked the part, it played it as well.
The engine remained Jaguar’s well-tried, 3.4-litre twin-cam six and this Special Equipment model also came equipped with striking wire wheels and Lucas fog lamps. Road tests at the time recorded a top speed of 120mph — a staggering achievement and one that made this Britain’s fastest production sports car at the time.
Now thoroughly restored, and presented in immaculate condition from Bonham’s, this is one star of a car that heralds back to a time of glamour and sophistication in world cinema. And, with curves to rival those of Miss Ekberg herself, it’s no wonder she fell in love with it…