Ex Scuderia Ferrari
1952 FERRARI 340 AMERICA SPIDER COMPETIZIONE
Design by Vignale
Chassis no. 0196A
Engine no. 0196A
4,101cc Tipo 340/A SOHC V-12 Engine
Triple Weber 40 DCF/3 Carburetors
Approximately 280bhp at 6,600rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Independent Suspension
Tipo 340 'Doppia Balestra' Rear Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
*Campaigned in the 1952 Mille Miglia, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Targa Florio and other prominent races
*Raced in period by noted factory drivers Piero Taruffi, Maurice Trintignant, and Giovanni Bracco
*Factory prepared from new to 340MM Competizione Specifications
*Sensational Competizione Coachwork design by Vignale and Giovanni Michelotti
*Veteran of the Mille Miglia Storico, the Monaco Historic GP and the Monterey Historic Races
*Documented history by marque authority Marcel Massini and factory build sheets
*Stunningly unique and collectible example of Scuderia Ferrari history
*Retains matching numbers engine
*Eligible for the most prominent motoring events around the globe
THE RISE OF LAMPREDI'S V-12
The early history of Ferrari is overwhelmingly characterized by the evolution of one classic engine, the Giacchino Colombo-designed motor that is often referred to as the short-block V-12. Colombo had been a principle engineer for the Scuderia Ferrari prior to World War II, and his postwar 1.5-liter engine soon became the backbone of early Ferrari models like the 125S, 166MM, and the 212 series. Once the motor's displacement was enlarged to three liters in 1954, the Colombo V-12 became the unifying component of Maranello's road car development for the following fifteen years.
Considering the short-block V-12's longevity and significance to Ferrari's evolution, Colombo, himself, actually exited the company rather early, joining Alfa Romeo in 1950. His defection was ultimately prompted by some of the limitations in his engine's design, and the rise of one of his pupils, one Aurelio Lampredi. While Colombo's V-12 thrived in the aforementioned sports car models and their respective racing endeavors, the engine was considerably less successful in the all-important Grand Prix competition format.
Somewhat ironically, Alfa Romeo's Grand Prix cars dominated the immediate postwar period with a supercharged version of the motor that Colombo had designed for them before the war on the Scuderia's behalf. This engine championed the prevalent notion of the prewar period that Grand Prix success was reliant upon blown motors of relatively small displacement. While this approach had no doubt resulted in winning cars, such engines required extreme degrees of tuning, maintenance, and parts replacement, as the high-revving motors were particularly susceptible to wear. Along these lines, Colombo had attempted to supercharge his postwar V-12 for Ferrari's Grand Prix entries, but the short-block engine could not hold pace with the highly developed Alfa unit.
Junior Ferrari designer Aurelio Lampredi envisioned a different approach. As a considerably larger un-supercharged engine was allowed under the formula, Colombo's apprentice proposed a naturally aspirated 4.5-liter motor, which Ferrari approved for development by 1949. Lampredi's creation differed from his mentor's not only with a bigger displacement, it featured a wholly taller and longer architecture, thus prompting the "long-block" nickname (and the retroactive "short-block" designation for Colombo's unit). The engine also featured single intake porting versus the Colombo V-12's siamesed arrangement, and twin ignition per cylinder for increased power.
First utilized in the Scuderia's 1950 grand prix cars, and soon after in the corresponding sports cars, the Lampredi engine offered unprecedented power capabilities at a fraction of the required maintenance during endurance events. The immediate success of the powerplant prompted Ferrari to temporarily abandon further development of the short-block V-12, and Colombo accordingly soon made his exit. At the ripe age of 30, Aurelio Lampredi was promoted to chief engineer of Ferrari.
While Lampredi's long-block engine initially displaced 3.3 liters in Grand Prix configuration, versions of 3, 4.1, 4.5, and 5 liters were eventually developed. These motors became the grist of Ferrari's sports car racing campaigns over the following five years, powering superlative models like the 340MM, 375MM, and the Le Mans-winning 375 Plus.
The displacement limitations in FIA formulas that followed the disastrous accident at Le Mans in 1955 spelled the end of the long-block's remarkable run, allowing Colombo's original short-block design to re-enter the picture. In addition to the evolving road cars, the short block would figure prominently in racecars like the 250 Testa Rossa and Tour de France Berlinetta. But the achievements and overall dominance of the more potent Lampredi motor during the early 1950s will always be fondly celebrated as a uniquely important chapter in Ferrari's sports car racing history, and the major force behind their World Sportscar Championships of 1953 and 1954.
THE 340 AMERICA - A BIG FERRARI FOR THE U.S.
In April 1950, the 3.3-liter Grand Prix motor designed by Lampredi was dropped into chassis no. 0030 MT, a Touring-bodied Barchetta that was dubbed a 275 S. Two such cars were entered at the 1950 Mille Miglia, one driven by Luigi Villoresi and the other by Alberto Ascari, but both suffered transmission failures during one of the final stages, the Appenine section between Pescara and Rome (despite leading the eventual winner, Giannino Marzotto's 195 S Touring Berlinetta). The result would be markedly different a year later.
Given the dominance of Allard's Cadillac and Chrysler-powered cars in SCCA circuits in the United States, Enzo Ferrari reasoned he could effectively market a large-bore sports car specifically for the American market. In August 1950, the company announced plans for a 4.1-liter Lampredi engined car, and 0030 MT was shown at the Paris Motor Show in September 1950, reconfigured with the new larger engine and now called the 340 America.
Production began with chassis no. 0082A, a Vignale-bodied berlinetta that made its debut in April 1951 at the Mille Miglia. Villoresi and Piero Cassani drove this 340 America to first-place overall, demonstrating the tremendous promise of the platform. This car marked the first of 22 purpose-built 340 America examples, all assigned even-numbered chassis designations and thus theoretically intended for competition use like the concurrent 212 Exports. Despite this chassis numbering, cars could still be individually ordered to preference by coachbuilder or bodystyle, and eight of the 22 cars were actually trimmed as well-appointed roadgoing examples.
Three of the fourteen sporting examples were more uniquely equipped as Competizione cars, complete with dual-sprung rear suspensions for improved handling and durability, and engines tuned to specifications that would eventually be employed in the successful 340MM racecars. Good for 280 hp, this configuration was soon employed on the 340 Mexicos that showed so much promise at the 1951 Carrera Panamericana, and eventually powered the 340MM Competition cars that won the Mille Miglia in 1953. This in turn led to a further enlargement of displacement in the 4.5-liter 375 MM, which won Spa and Pescara, and the 4.9-liter 375 Plus, which took the ultimate triumph at Le Mans in 1954.
Available in open and closed coachwork from both Touring and Vignale, the 340 America was also clothed as a Coupe by Ghia. The model constituted the first premium supercar that Ferrari marketed specifically to the United States, and the precursor to the 410 Superamerica, which would eventually employ the ultimate 4.9-liter configuration of the Lampredi design for roadcar use.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
As the 17th of 22 cars in numerical chassis sequence, and one of just three Competizione examples, the featured 340 America Spider began construction in the spring of 1952, with the transaxle assembled in March by Walter Sghedoni, and the engine in early April under the supervision of Amos Franchini. Per the Competizione specifications, chassis no. 0196A was equipped with twin leaf-spring fittings on the rear suspension, and it is believed to be one of only three 340 America examples to feature this specification more common to the 212 Export. Furthermore, the engine was specified with larger Weber carburetors, essentially the configuration that would soon be used in the 340MM. As notes in a factory engine build sheet dated April 1, 1951, read, "Motore per vettura MM/52 SF," or to paraphrase, "Engine for car Mille Miglia 1952 SF [Scuderia Ferrari]." The chassis build sheet more specifically mentions intent for Piero Taruffi in the Mille, and eventual plans for Le Mans.
This car was the second of four Spiders built by Vignale on the 340 America platform, and one of ten total Vignale-bodied cars (including 5 Berlinettas and one Cabriolet). It is interesting to note the design cues penned by the noted Vignale stylist Giovanni Michelotti as they relate to the greater series of Vignale-bodied Ferraris. Loosely based on the styling first used on 0076E, a 212 Export, this design employs the sweeping fender lines seen on many of the Vignale Coupes and Cabriolets built on the 212 chassis, though the elaborate grillework of those cars is dropped here in favor of the timeless eggcrate design. The rear shoulder haunches are also more pronounced, actually closer to the Touring treatment than the single-beltline Vignale Cabriolets.
Despite the Spider's race-bred Competizione agenda, the coachwork still features characteristic Vignale ovoid portholes on the front fenders, an aesthetic adornment that lends added elegance to the design. Apropos of the larger carburetor profile, the hood possesses a center bulge that is framed by two rows of triple scallops, and the grille is flanked by two vertically elliptical cooling inlets, and underlined by two more horizontal inlets. Additional brake vents was fitted on the rear deck, along with vertical vents between the door and rear wheel arch.
Dispatched on April 15, 1952, to Vignale's Torino factory for fitting of this coachwork, chassis no. 0196A was completed by the end of the month, just in time for the Mille Miglia held on May 3. Fitted with a single two-place frameless racing windscreen, the 340 America was entered by the Scuderia Ferrari and piloted by renowned Scuderia member Piero Taruffi, the noted grand prix driver who won the Carrera Panamericana the previous fall. Co-driven by Mario Vandelli and decorated with #614, the Spider had taken the lead when an airborne landing damaged the transmission and forced the car to retire early. The car's run in the Mille was photographically captured in an image that was later printed in Marzatto's book, La Ferrari alla Mille Miglia.
Shortly thereafter, some bodywork modifications were undertaken with the intention of improving airflow and cooling the rear brakes. These measures included fitting a one-piece wraparound windscreen, and modifying the rear fenders with several cooling ducts (consisting of a single vertical entry duct in front of the rear wheels, and three mildly angled scallops behind them, as well as unusual sculpted brake ducts atop the rear fenders that were sometimes fitted with an inlet funnel).
Two weeks later, the 340 America was entered by the factory at the Prix de Berne in Switzerland as #26, with Willy-Peter Daetwyler taking the wheel. Registered with tags reading "Prova MO 36," and painted red with a white triangle stretching from the grille to the windscreen, the spider once again retired early, this time with a broken transaxle at the race's beginning. Despite the result, the powerful Ferrari was again photographed at the race, as depicted in Adriano Cimarosti's book Grand Prix Suisse, and Ferrari by Vignale, the definitive survey written by marque historian Marcel Massini.
In late May 1952, chassis no. 0196A was refinished in French blue paint and then loaned to Louis Rosier's Ecurie Auvergne for use at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it joined a contingent of seven other Ferraris (including two factory entries, and three from the NART). As #15, the America was fitted with a one-place windscreen and passenger tonneau, and then co-driven by the famed Maurice Trintignant, but unfortunately a clutch failure six hours into the race forced the car to bow out early. Its presence at Le Mans was photographed and depicted in numerous books, including Domique Pascal's Ferrari au Mans, Antoine Prunet's Ferrari Sports Racing and Prototype Competition Cars, a biography of Louis Rosier, and various histories of Le Mans.
On June 29, 1952, the 340 America was lent to Giovanni Bracco for Targa Florio, the upstart driver who had won the 1952 Mille Miglia in a Ferrari 225 S with just a whiff of factory support while legendarily sipping wine and cognac. Numbered as #64, the spider didn't fare quite as well, dropping out of the race with transmission issues once again. Nearly a month later, the car was sold by the factory to Piero Scotti, a businessman and privateer from Florence who had placed third at the 1951 Mille in a Motto-bodied 212 Export. This transition to private ownership initiated an extended racing campaign in the hands of Italian privateers.
FROM FACTORY RACECAR TO SUCCESSFUL PRIVATEER
On August 10, 1952, Mr. Scotti entered the 340 at the VIII Circuito Automobilistico di Senigallia, where he placed 2nd in class while racing as #10. Five days later, the car experienced an axle failure during the seventeenth lap of the XXI Coppa Acerbo (the 12 Hours of Pescara), forcing another early retirement. On August 31, the car was entered at the Maloja-St. Moritz hillclimb in Switzerland, and as a photograph reveals, the hood had been modified with two horizontal air intakes towards the front, presumably for improved engine cooling.
At the Colline Pistoiesi Cup on September 7, Scotti finished first, a triumph he followed with another checkered flag at the Catania-Etna hillclimb six days later. The month concluded with entry at the VI Grand Prix of Bari as #88. On October 19, the Vignale-bodied spider finished first overall again at the XXII Annual Vermicino-Rocca di Papa hillclimb, organized by the Automobile Club of Rome. Given its high level of activity throughout the year, the 340 America duly earned a place in the 1952 Ferrari yearbook.
By the end of 1952, the fetching 340 America Competizione was returned to the Maranello factory, where the body was further modified by enlarging the elliptical air vents on each side of the grill. During 1953, the spider was loaned by the factory to various Italian privateers for racing in local hillclimb events, including the IV Annual Savona-Colle di Cadibona event on August 23, where Camillo Luglio took first overall as #188. Luglio also finished 4th in class at the XVIII Pontedecimo-Giovi hillclimb later that year.
During 1954, at the behest of potential customer interest or perhaps merely as a styling exercise, Ferrari and Vignale undertook a re-bodying of the 340 America. After removing the original Spider coachwork, the chassis was clothed with a Vignale-built one-off coupe body that may have previously been used on a competition Aston Martin DB3 (as implied by file notes written by Ferrari historian Antoine Prunet). Reminiscent of the closed Vignale designs for the racing 212 Exports, the coachwork was finished in the then-popular two-tone treatment, with the body painted red and the roof in black.
By March 1955, chassis no. 0196A had made its way to the United States, where it was first owned by Joseph Ricketts of Long Beach, California, and around this time it was spotted while parked at one of the Palm Springs road races. Later acquired by the Bates brothers, the Ferrari was acquired by dealer Harry Woodnorth of Chicago in 1960. It then passed to several other Illinois-based collectors, starting with Lee Sturtevant of Chicago, followed by H. Martin Burdette of Northfield in 1965, and then the well-known Joe Marchetti of Chicago in 1977.
In 1979, the striking 340 America was sold by Marchetti to Aldo Bigioni of Ontario, Canada, and during his nearly 20 years of care, the car was fitted with a Mercedes gearbox and disc brakes. After being purchased in 1997 by Jerry Bowes of Villanova, Pennsylvania, 0196A finally began to find its way to the show fields of the collectable Ferrari niche, starting with an appearance at the 11th Annual Concorso Italiano, which was staged at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley California in August 1997.
After passing through dealer Mark Smith, the rare Lampredi-engined Ferrari was purchased in early 1998 by collector Bill Jacobs of Joliet, Illinois. In March 1999, Jacobs sold the car to Hugh Taylor of the United Kingdom, and its path then took a most fortuitous turn towards its historic roots.
In June 1999, 0196A was purchased by the well-known collector Lord Bamford of Stoke-on-Trent, England, and he commissioned a complete restoration, including the fabrication of Spider coachwork that was precisely designed and hand-pounded to match 0196A's original Vignale Spider body as accurately as possible. The cars underpinnings such as chassis and body sub-frames, suspension, and drive line all remained intact and original. The restoration was entrusted to the esteemed David Cottingham and his well-known firm DK Engineering, and under their expertise 0196A was returned to a highly original and authentic state of condition, including the 1952 Mille Miglia livery.
After completing the meticulous restoration in 2000, the 340 America Spider was entered in the Mille Miglia Storico in May 2001, commemorating its original appearance there in 1952 when driven by the legendary Taruffi. The car was then similarly celebrated with a run in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix at Monte Carlo in May 2004. Vintage racing appearances continued at the 31st Annual Rolex Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, California, in August 2004, and the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in May 2006.
0196A's extraordinary tale did not go unnoticed by the motoring press, and a full color feature on the car was published in the March 2004 issue of Octane magazine. After explaining the America's illustrious factory racing history, the feature indulged in a full test drive at the Donington circuit by renowned racer Willie Green. He commented, "It's got good mid-range torque, surprisingly good for a V-12. It's very smooth, a real jewel. For a 50-year-old car I can't believe how fast it is...The rear end is great and the handling is very good. [The drum brakes] were better than I could have hoped for...It's a very, very special car."
In March 2008, Sir Bamford sold the 340 America Spider Competizione to German collector Dr. Michael Willms, who was living in Belgium and then Switzerland. The Spider America was soon the subject of two more extensive print features, in the October 2008 issue of Forza magazine, and the May 2009 issue of the British publication Auto Italia.
In September 2011, the rare 340 was purchased by the consignor, a German collector who has continued to optimally maintain the spider while using and presenting it at historic events. Participation in the Mille Miglia Storico in May 2012 was followed four months later by display at the 3rd Annual Unique Special Ones Concours held at the Four Seasons hotel in Florence, Italy.
According to marque authority Marcel Massini, this impressive Spider Competizione retains its original Lampredi V-12, the specially tuned 4.1-liter unit with the competition carburetor profile. The car is further accompanied by a deep file of documentation including dozens of period photographs from the aforementioned races, restoration photographs, correspondence from Ferrari expert and author Antoine Prunet, factory build sheets, and a copy of Piero Taruffi's original written evaluation of the 340 America model for the Ferrari factory.
Eligible for every conceivable event in the automotive niche, from world class concours like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance or Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza to premium vintage rallies like the Mille Miglia Storico or Le Mans Classic, this sensational early racing Ferrari checks all the proverbial boxes. 0196A boasts rarity and legitimate racing provenance at the hands of some of the era's most legendary divers (Taruffi, Trintignant, and Bracco) on the behalf of the one and only Scuderia Ferrari, and it would make a crowning acquisition for the dedicated Ferrari collector or competition roadster purist, a perfect synthesis of the finest qualities of 1950s Italian sports racing machines.
- Please note, that while Aldo Bigioni restored 0196A, he did not upgrade the braking system or transmission as stated in the catalog.