Ferrari 340 Mexico Berlinetta

The Carrera Panamericana in 1952 was going to be a factory fight to the finish, and Ferrari built four cars specifically for the event. That year, the race was divided into sports and stock classes, with 26 cars entered in the European sports-car category. Mercedes would bring two 300 SL Gullwing coupes and a roadster, and there were entries from Jaguar, Gordini, Lancia and Porsche.

The factory Ferraris were named “Mexico” for the event. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti for Vignale, the 77.5-inch hood was one of the longest ever to grace a Ferrari, while the unique fenders extended beyond the oval grille in what is one of the most wildly attractive Vignale designs to date. Built as lightweight “340 America models,” with a small-diameter Tuboscossia chassis, the cars were powered by the Lampredi-designed, 4.1-liter V-12. With 280 horsepower on tap, the Mexicos were capable of 0-60 mph in six seconds and had a top speed of 174 mph – extraordinary performance both then and now.

Enzo Ferrari pinned his hopes on Alberto Ascari/Giuseppi Scotuzzi, Franco Cornacchia/Luigi Villoresi and Luigi Chinetti/Jean Lucas, who represented Ferrari’s American operation. Giovanni Bracco was entered in a lighter 250 MM Berlinetta and very nearly pulled off a win. A 340 Mexico Barchetta roadster was entered for American Bill Spear, but he did not start.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida and in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

280 hp, 4,101 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 40 mm DCF/3 carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension by double wishbone and transverse leaf spring, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102.4"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel and 

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