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1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta by Touring

1 of 2 with Touring Supperleggera Coachwork, Extensive Documentation

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sold

VIN 0126/A
Exterior Color Red
Interior Color Black
Mileage 6312 Kms
Engine 4.1 Litre V12 Lampredi Motor no. 0126/A
Transmission 4-Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ836

Comments

1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta by Touring
s/n 0126/A
Rosso Corsa with Black Interior

Following Lampredi’s development of the 4.5 liter V12 for use in GP cars, these famous “long block” engines found their way into sports and GT cars for the first time. The 340 America was the very first such car to receive the Lampredi motor, and most examples had a decided competition flavor. Featuring bodies by Ghia, Touring, or Vignale, just 24 examples were built, and only two with this beautiful and quintessential Touring Berlinetta body, which was also used on a few other contemporary Ferraris. The majority of cars had conventional wet sump lubrication, but a handful, including this example, 0126/A, were equipped with dry sump lubrication, further emphasizing the car’s intended competition use. The large displacement Lampredi motors of these cars transform them from comparatively delicate conventional sports cars to some of the brawnier and more visceral Ferrari creations.

This particular car has known history from new, having been completed in July of 1951. It was sold new to a Cavaliere Tommaso Sebastiani of Rome, Italy. He had the car regularly serviced at the factory between 1951 and 1954, at which point he sold the car to purchase a 375 Mille Miglia. It passed briefly through the hands of Sidney Earl Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin, before going to another Italian owner. The car was imported to the United States in 1958, and during this period, the engine was replaced with an American V8. During the 1960’s, the car belonged to an American Naval officer, who was stationed in Guantanamo, Cuba, and he took the car with him. The car remained in Cuba until its owner was killed in the Vienam War, in 1970. The car was returned to the United States and placed in storage until 1976.

The car surfaced in 1976 after being discovered by Gerald Roush and Peter Pheil. The car was fitted with a Colombo 250 128F series motor and transmission from a PF Cabriolet, and restored. Pheil drove the car at the Mille Miglia in 1986, and then sold it, and its new owner drove the car in the 1987 Mille Miglia. In approximately 1988, the car was fitted with a Lampredi block motor built to 340 specifications. The block was fitted with new cylinder heads manufactured by Nuova Lunelli in Modena.

The car was used in the Mille Miglia again in 1991 and 1992, and ended up in the United States in 1994, when it was fully restored by Steve Tillack. The car was shown and the Ferrari Club of America concours at Monterey in 1994, and was also raced at the Monterey Historics in 1994 and 1995. The car was also used in the 1997 Coronado Festival of Speed and the Los Angeles Vintage Grand Prix. The car raced at the Ferrari Historic Challenge events at Lime Rock and Historic Le Mans in 2000, and also raced the Mille Miglia in 1997 and 2000. Fantasy Junction sold the car for Mr. Tillack in 2002, and it has passed through the hands of two additional collectors since then. In approximately 2003, the engine was rebuilt by Patrick Ottis.

The car is in very nice cosmetic condition overall, having been well-cared for since the restoration. The paint is in very good shape overall and is a high quality job, though close inspection reveals some signs of aging such as the occasional crack or chip, and an area where the paint is lifting near the windscreen. The chrome and metal trim are in very good shape, including the wheels. The lights are in excellent shape, but the windscreen is has a star and a crack at the bottom corner of one of the panes. The Plexiglas side and rear windows are in good shape. The overall impression of the car is very good, and the car is in ideal condition to use in events.

The interior is in very good condition overall. The leather has a nice patina, and the dashboard, instruments, and switches are in nice cosmetic shape. The carpets and headliner are in very fine shape as well, and the overall impression of the car is that of a nicely restored car that was completed some years ago and properly looked after since.

The engine is very nicely detailed and quite clean, having been rebuilt by Patrick Ottis in approximately 2003. The car retains its correct air cleaners and yellow fuel hoses. The trunk is sparsely finished in the style of a competition car. The car has a large fuel tank, and Borrani spare, which wears a Dunlop racing tire, like the other four wheels.

The car drives and performs very well, and represents a stark difference when compared to Ferraris of just ten years later. If ever a car could be classified as the AC Cobra of Ferraris, this is it. It is loud, very fast, and the ride extremely firm. The large displacement of the engine makes for torquey and significant power delivery, and the noise is spectacular. The car requires significant skill and attention to operate properly, but is extremely rewarding to the seasoned driver. The driving experience is highly visceral, and one gains tremendous respect for period racing drivers who competed in endurance events on primitive roads in similar cars.

This is an extraordinarily rare opportunity to acquire an important early Ferrari. The 340 America is the first of the Lampredi big block equipped road cars, and this is one of just two examples built with this body. It is also one of only a handful of dry sump cars. It is eligible for the world’s great events (as evidenced by its six participations in the Mille Miglia), and its mechanical and cosmetic condition lends itself perfectly to event use. The car has fascinating known history from new, and is an extremely evocative machine from the days when competition driving was a masculine and demanding sport. The car comes with much documentation including copies of the original Ferrari build sheets, Auto Club d’Italia registration, FIA papers (issued 1997), FIVA passport, Historic Motor Sports Association competition log book, and engine rebuild receipts and pictures from Patrick Ottis.

 


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