Ferrari wasted no time in exploring the potential of Lampredi’s successful, Grand Prix, long-block V12 engine as a road-going power unit, introducing the 340 America at the Paris Salon in October 1950, just a few months after its 4.1-litre engine’s race debut. Just 23 of these competition-inspired ‘big bangers’ would be produced before production ceased in 1952.
Its successor, the 342 America, was conceived from the outset as a pure road car. More robust and better equipped than the lighter, competition-orientated 340 America, the 342 boasted a nine inch longer wheelbase and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. It retained its predecessor’s Lampredi-designed, 4,101cc, two-cam V12 engine which, in 342 configuration, produced 200bhp at 5,000rpm. Just six 342 Americas were made in 1952/53 within the chassis number range #0232AL to #0248AL, making the model one of the rarest of all Ferrari road cars. All but the first of the series, a Vignale cabriolet on chassis number #0232AL, were bodied by Pinin Farina, two as cabriolets and three as coupes, each of these hand-built cars being a unique creation to individual customer order as was the practice at the time.
Designated job number 10948, this car, chassis number #0246AL, the penultimate 342 America made, entered the Pinin Farina plant on 30th December 1952. Painted black, it was displayed on Pinin Farina’s stand at the 23rd Geneva Motor Show in March 1953. The car was sold new to Franco Fassio of Genova, Italy the following month and later in 1953 passed into the ownership of Steve Briggs in the USA. Records show that between 1958 and 1989 0246AL was owned by William R Peters in Minnesota and Florida during which time it was finished in green with matching interior and subsequently black with green interior. Peters sold #0246AL to Brad Hallock of San Francisco, California in September 1989 at 43,168 kilometres and the car then underwent refurbishment by Tom Valerio of Valerio Auto Restorations, being repainted black and re-trimmed in tan leather. In 1990 it was sold to Belgium and imported into Europe via Guernsey. In September 1992 #0246AL was shown during the FF40 meeting in Brussels and at Spa Francorchamps, and again at the Oldtimer Show in Antwerp in March 1994.
At their upcoming sale in Gstaad Switzerland on Friday December 19th, Bonhams will offer #0246AL at an estimate price of $380 000 USD to 436 000 USD.
Story by Bonhams Brooks PS&N Limited, edited by Supercars.net Publishing Inc.