You’d think a Ferrari 340 America that once raced in the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans would be something highly collectable, and would surely fetch a pretty penny. That wasn’t the case 40 years ago, however, when this particular historic race car managed to go completely unnoticed and sold for only US$200.
Chassis No. 0202A was one of 24 Ferrari 340 America models built. Originally designed by lead designer Giovanni Michelotti of Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale & Co. for sports car racing, it took out fifth place at Le Mans in 1952 and raced at Montlhéry in France. It was then exported to the United States, where one of its owners later installed a Chevrolet V8 engine. As if this wasn’t enough, the original Vignale coachwork was damaged in an accident, resulting in the Ferrari being fitted with custom open coachwork resembling the 1956 Bangert Manta Ray, then subsequently being replaced with a Devin Spider fibreglass body following another accident.
All these alterations perhaps explain why drag racer Mike Sanfilippo managed to snatch up the 340 America for so little back in 1990. It wasn’t until 2006 that restorations expert Tom Shaughnessy purchased it for a mere US$26,912, then gradually discovered its true identity. 0202A was finally sent to Ferrari Classiche in Italy for a meticulous build and restoration. Now back to its period-correct French Racing Blue No. 14 racing livery and with new Vignale coachwork, it’s been fitted with the correct 4.1L V-12 engine paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox.
Expected to be worth millions now, this stunning race car is available from the Mecum Gallery.