1951 Ferrari 340 America Ghia CoupeSOLD
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ESTIMATE: $900,000 - $1,200,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $852,500

Ing. Lampredi and the 340 America
Enzo Ferrari’s famous marque began production in 1947 when three sports cars were built. Competition success came quickly as Cortesi won the first race for Ferrari on May 25, 1947 at Rome’s Caracella Circuit. The marque’s first GP victory came at Berne in 1949 when Alberto Ascari’s supercharged 125 model won the Swiss Grand Prix.

From the very beginning Ferraris featured V-12 engines, the first of these designed by Colombo in 1946.

By 1950, the output of the Colombo engine was insufficient to remain competitive, so Ferrari enlisted the talents of Ing. Lampredi to develop a new engine for both F1 and sports racing series. In developing his engine for the 4.5 liter Grand Prix cars, Lampredi had been forced to enlarge the cylinder block. On the original Columbo designed V12s - the so called 'short-block' engines - the distance between the center lines of adjacent cylinder bores had been set at 90mm, however this was insufficient for the bore size that Lampredi wanted. The dimension was increased to 108mm, thereby giving rise to the 'long-block' engines associated with his name.

Concerned primarily with competition, Lampredi introduced a number of features that he considered essential for relatively trouble-free running. Instead of wet cylinder liners pressed into the block, the new engine’s wet liners were screwed into the cylinder head, to eliminate the possibility of a blown head gasket. External oil and water pipes were used wherever possible, rather than internal cast passages. Roller cam followers replaced the finger type. There were twelve intake ports and the connecting rods were split perpendicularly at the big end.

With the realization of the 4.5 liter, Tipo 375 F1 racers, a slightly smaller engine with a capacity of 4.1 liters was developed for use in a range of Sports and GT cars. The first of these was the 340 America, introduced to the general public at the Paris Salon in October of 1950, just about a month after the Tipo 375 F1 car first ran at Monza in the Italian Grand Prix.

Intended primarily as a competition car for wealthy privateers, and marketed as such, the 340 was directed specifically toward a new and increasingly profitable market: the United States. Aptly named the ‘America’, the 340 became the first of many subsequent sports/racing Ferraris built specifically to meet the demands of the American market, proving to be both competitive and profitable.

It is interesting to note that the new car may not have always been intended to bear the “America” designation. Carrozzeria Vignale's drawings from 1951 all refer to these cars as "su telio Ferrari M.M. 51" indicating that this was the new 340 Mille Miglia Barchetta and Berlinetta. Ferrari however did not formally adopt the name 340MM until the spring of 1953, shortly before the running of the 1953 Mille Miglia.

In the 340 America, the 4.1 Lampredi V-12 developed 220-230 HP at 6,000 RPM. A five speed non-synchromesh gearbox was fitted behind the engine in the typical Ferrari twin oval parallel tube chassis with its unequal length parallel wishbone and transverse leaf spring front suspension. Rear suspension was by solid axle with semi-elliptic longitudinal leaf springs, parallel trailing arms, and the same Hondaille shock absorbers as at the front.

As was usual for Ferrari, the body construction was handled by independent carrozzeria like Touring, Vignale, and in the case of 0150/A, Ghia. Only 23 340 Americas were built and of these Vignale accounted for 11, Touring for 8, and Ghia for just 4 – the rarest of all.

Carrozzeria Vignale
0082/A Vignale Berlinetta, 1951 Mille Miglia winning car
0132/A Vignale Coupe, Sold to Italy, then Ernie McAfee, USA, road car
0138/A Vignale Cabriolet, Sold to USA
0140/A Vignale Spyder, Sold to USA
0174/A Vignale Coupe, Sold to Italy, road car
0196/A Vignale Spyder, Sold to Italy, re-bodied by Vignale as a Berlinetta
0202/A Vignale Spyder, Sold to Ernie McAfee, USA
0204/A Vignale Spyder, Sold to Bill Kimberley, USA
0206/A Vignale Coupe, Sold to Devin, USA
0212/A Vignale Coupe, Sold to France, re-numbered as 0171 EL, road car
0238/A Vignale Spyder, Sold to Sweden, re-bodied as a Berlinetta in 1953

Carrozzeria Touring
0114/A Touring Barchetta, sold to Switzerland
0116/A Touring Barchetta, sold France
0118/A Touring Barchetta, sold to U.S.A. (Bill Spear),
0120/A Touring Barchetta, sold to Ed Hall, USA
0122/A Touring Berlinetta, 1951 Turin Salon car, sold to Belgium
0124/A Touring Barchetta, sold to USA, 1951 Palm Beach GP winner
0126/A Touring Berlinetta, sold to Italy
0144/A Touring Berlinetta, sold to Italy

Carrozzeria Ghia
0130/AL Ghia 2+2 Coupe, 1951 Paris Salon car
0142/A Ghia Coupe, sold to USA, road car
0148/A Ghia Coupe, sold to France, road car
0150/A Ghia Coupe, sold to USA, 1952 Carrera Panamerica (5th O.A.)

In Ferrari’s serial numbering scheme, even numbers were reserved for series intended for competition, while models intended as road cars were given odd numbers. It is interesting that while the factory clearly intended the 340 America series to be raced, few ever did.

On the other hand, the cars that did defend the honor of the marque in competition were highly successful, including both the 1951 Mille Miglia winner, and 0150/A, a long time racer with many successes – including a strong finish in the grueling Carerra Panamericana.
Carrozzeria Ghia SpA

The legendary design house of Ghia was founded by Giacinto Ghia in 1918. As was to be expected, commissions came mostly on the largest, most important, and of course expensive chassis of the day. Other notable prewar efforts included the acclaimed Fiat Ballila.

Ghia’s death in 1944 left his widow with a business that had been decimated by the ravages of war. Grief stricken and unable to continue, she agreed to turn the business over to two of Ghia’s friends, Giorgio Alberti and Felice Mario Boano, who set about rebuilding the firm.

Not long after another partner joined Alberti and Boano, Luigi Segre from SIATA.
Ghia’s work was considered to be of exceptional quality. Their designs were handsome – some would say they had a timeless quality. While other coachbuilders were far more likely to produce edgy designs that did not age well, Ghia’s cars tended to be a little more conservative, but offer exquisite detailing and luxurious interiors – important factors in a coachbuilt car.

Each car was slightly different from the others, even if built on the same chassis at the same time. Certainly some of the differences are accounted for by client preferences, but others seemed more the result of creative experimentation, rendering each car an individual work of art.

Nonetheless, certain characteristics clearly identify the origins of a given car, even without external identification – Ghia’s pushbutton, flush mounted door handles are one such feature. Interior hardware, dash, and instrument presentation all have a jewel-like quality that is one of the hallmarks of Ghia.

The lines and proportions of 0150A are well suited to the chassis. The larger Lampredi engine is reflected in the long hood and comparatively more compact passenger compartment – this is a large car, yet with seats only for two. The façade is simple, uncluttered, and graceful, while the broad grille and strong design elements convey a sense of the power of this new Ferrari.

It was, in fact, very well balanced, and quite aerodynamic, two qualities that would prove important because this Ghia, unlike its brothers, was destined to serve its maker and its owners as Enzo Ferrari preferred – on the track.

S/N 0150A – The Carrera Panamericana 340 America
While engine 0150/A was completed in July of 1951 (assembled by mechanics S. Storchi and S. Pinelli), the chassis was not finished until late December, 1951, following which it was delivered to Carrozzeria Ghia, SpA.

Although we do not know the exact delivery date, the car was sold to noted Ferrari patron, Antonio “Tony” Parravano of Inglewood, California. It was the first of many Ferraris he would own and race, and it was delivered much as it looks today, though without some of the modifications made early in its racing career.

S/N 0150/A’s first appearance on the track was July 20th, 1952, when it was raced at Torrey Pines by Bill Pollack on race number 90, where the car failed to finish, though for reasons unknown.

Meanwhile, Parravano had done well in the first two editions of the Carrera Panamericana, racing Cadillacs in 1950 and 1951, with Jack McAfee driving. As a result, he decided to enter his new Ferrari in the third third running of the legendary Carrera Panamericana Mexico on November 19th – 23rd, 1952.

A great deal of preparation was undertaken for this gruelling event, mostly by Ernie McAfee. Halibrand wheels were fitted for increased durability in severe conditions. A special magneto ignition was installed, along with larger drilled and vented brake drums. The bodywork was modified with special scoops and ducting to accommodate the racing conditions – modifications which are still visible on 0150A. The entire drivetrain was blueprinted, and every nut and bolt was cotter keyed or safety wired. It was an exceptional level of preparation, and took months to complete.

The Carrera Panamericana was one of the toughest events of the time, and the McAfees’ fifth place finish was a startling achievement in a field dominated by factory entries. Wearing race #17, the McAfees left the start/finish line facing some daunting adversaries: Mercedes-Benz had brought three of their new 300SLs, and Ferrari brought three of their new 340 Mexicos. One of the 300SLs, with John Fitch driving, was disqualified, preventing what might have been a Teutonic rout, but leaving his teammates in first (Karl Kling and Hans Klenk) and second (Hermann Lang and Erwin Grupp).

More interesting were the Ferrari results. Of three 340 Mexicos entered, one crashed (Ascari and Scotuzzi), and one suffered a gearbox failure (Villoresi and Cassani), leaving Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas in the last car to finish third, behind the two 300SLs.
Fourth place went to Umberto Maglioli and Franco Bornigia driving a Lancia Aurelia B20.
It is a testimonial to both their preparation and their driving skills that the McAfees would finish fifth – behind one works Ferrari and just ahead of Phil Hill and Arnold Stubbs driving a Vignale bodied Ferrari 212 Export.

Three years later, on April 12th, the striking Ghia coupe was back on the track, but with another DNF, this time driven by Bob Drake at Palm Springs. Later that year, on December 3rd, the car was registered to be driven by Drake again, but the first race ended before it started with a DNS. Later, in the second race, bad luck struck again, and 0150A was out before the end of the race.

By 1958, 0150A was in Colorado, where it was photographed wearing plates “C7 280”.
In 1958 the 340 America was in Ohio, where legendary Ferrari collector, author, and historian Dick Merritt of Bethesda, MD. bought the car from well known sports car enthusiast Harry Heinl of Toledo, OH and drove non stop to Boulder, CO, which he recalls was a wonderful trip during which the car performed flawlessly. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep it long as he decided to sell it to finance his graduate program - and because he and his wife were expecting a child.

Merritt sold the car to West Covina, California enthusiast John Ward, who owned it for many years before finally selling it in 1980 to Gordon Thomas, another West Covina collector, who commissioned a comprehensive restoration by Harold White. Following the restoration, Thomas showed 0150A at the 1989 Santa Barbara Concours d'Elégance. Early in the morning on August 19th, 1990, 0150A rolled onto the fabled 18th fairway of the golf course at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. Other showings followed, but perhaps the most memorable was during the Ferrari Club of America National Meeting at Los Angeles in May of 2002, when 0150A was awarded the Forza Ferrari Award for the Outstanding Ferrari built in the 1950s

Subsequently, after Gordon Thomas passed away, the vendor acquired 0150A, arranging an inspection by noted Ferrari restorer, Patrick Ottis. Given the car’s recent career as a show car, a comprehensive servicing was undertaken by Ottis, with the objective of returning 0150A to top mechanical condition.

Cosmetically, the condition of the car remains outstanding as well. Paint, chrome, and trim are in as new condition, and the detailing of the engine bay and undercarriage is exceptional. An extensive file accompanies the car, including copies of the original build sheets, period photographs, articles, and concours awards.

Today, 0150A is the rarest of all racing Ferraris – one that retains all its original components, including body, chassis, and drivetrain. It has a stunning provenance involving some of the most legendary drivers and events of the golden era of sports car racing. It has never suffered the indignities of crashes, rebodies, or engine transplants, and it has an unbroken chain of caring owners.

This factory competition ‘hot rod’ was built to race. It is the last of just four cars to receive the superb Ghia coachwork – and the only one with a superlative racing history. Eligible for virtually every event from the Monterey Historics to the Mille Miglia, the Tour Auto, or the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it is ready to provide its next caretaker with a superb entry at any concours or driving event – or both.

Reference Number 3475

as of 8/24/2006

Car 1951 Ferrari 340 America Ghia Coupe
VIN 0150A 
Exterior / Interior Color      Maroon /      Cream 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
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Known History

The ex-Tony Parravano, Jack & Ernie McAfee, Carrera Panamericana fifth place winning