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1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico
Chassis Num: 0226 AT
Sold for $3,685,000 at
2011 RM Auctions
During Alberto Ascari's short racing career, lasting from 1948 to 1955, he became Formula One World Champion on two occasions, in 1953 and 1953. He won nine consecutive races on his way to the 1952 title. Another accomplishment for Ascari during this time was finishing second in Mexico's La Carrera Panamericana in 1951, teamed with Luigi Villoresi in the second of two factory Ferrari 212 Inter Berlinettas. The eight stage course covered 2,096 miles on perilous roads that, at times, were extremely difficult to traverse. When they crossed the finish line, they were a mere eight minutes behind the winners, Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti. Ferrari had achieved a one-two finish, ahead of 33 American sedans, with varying degrees of factory support.
The 1952 La Carrera Panamericana race had two classes, sports and stock. There were 26 cars entered in the European sports-car category, and four of those were Ferrari's. Mercedes brought two 300 SL Gullwing coupes and a roadster, and there were entries from Jaguar, Gordini, Lancia and Porsche.
The factory Ferrari cars were named 'Mexico' for the event. The design was courtesy of Giovanni Michelotti for Vignale, who gave the cars a 77.5-inch hood (one of the longest ever seen on a Ferrari), and unique fenders that extended beyond the oval grille. They had a small-diameter Tuboscossia chassis, a Lampredi-designed 4.1-liter V12 that offered 280 horsepower, and constructed with as much lightweight material as possible. They had a top speed of 174 mph and could race from zero-to-sixty mph in six seconds.
The drivers selected to pilot the Ferraris included Alberto Ascari/Giuseppi Scotuzzi, Franco Cornacchia/Luigi Villoresi and Luigi Chinetti/Jean Lucas. Giovanni Bracco was given a lighter 250 MM Berlinetta and American Bill Spear was given a 340 Mexico barchetta, which did not start the race.
This example, chassis number 0226 AT, is a matching-numbers original example that was originally sold by Luigi Chinetti to Allen Guibertson of Dallas, Texas for $14,500. Chinetti also arranged for Ferrari team drivers Ascari and Scotuzzi to race the car in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana. Ascari started in 14th place and by the 50-mile mark, had moved into sixth. He continued the race as a very aggressive pace, especially considering this was a very dangerous event, and claimed many lives. His race came to a close when he lost control over loose stones, causing him to collide with a rocky ledge. The car driven by Chinetti/Jean Lucas finished third for Ferrari. From the 92 starters, there were only 39 finishers.
Chassis number 0226 AT was shipped back to Ferrari and Vignale for repairs, then returned to Guibertson in Dallas in the spring of 1953. The car was sold to A.V. Dayton, who entered it in the July 4th SCCA race at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, driven by Carroll Shelby and Jack McAfee, who finished second. On October 25th, Dayton entered the car in the Sowega SCCA races in Atlanta, Georgia, where it was driven by Mr. Duncan. Unfortunately, it was sidelined due to electrical problems. Dayton sold the car back to Chinetti before the end of the year.
The car would trade hands on several occasions over the rest of the decade. Richard Londergan purchased the car in the late 1950s and put it on display at the 1958 Detroit Auto Show. It was sold a year later to General Motors designer and Ferrari Club of America co-founder Larry Nicklin of Indiana. At the time, Mr. Nicklin also owned the sister car, chassis number 0224 AT. Mr. Nicklin retained 0226 AT for a decade before selling it to Art Jacobs of Mineola, New York in 1969. A year later, the car was sold to Theodore Pratt in New York City. Five years later, it was purchased by David Carroll of Boston, Massachusetts, who kept it for another ten years.
In 1985, the car was sold to J. Willard Marriott Jr. of Chevy Chase, Maryland, who commissioned a ground-up, three-year restoration. It was restored to its correct 1952 Carrera Panamericana specification and livery. Upon complete, the car won the 1988 Ferrari Club of America's Concours at Elk Hart Lake, Wisconsin and also the Phil Hill Award for Best Competition Car. In 1989, it won the Honorary Chairman Award at the Ferrari National Meet at Lake Lanier Island, Georgia. It also won the Peter Helck Award for Best Race Car at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance in Michigan. It earned a Best in Class award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California.
In November of 1997, the car was sold to Carlos Monteverde in London. Mr. Monteverde kept the car for two years, selling it to the current owner in 199. Since then, it has competed in the Colorado Grand in 2001 and 2007 and raced in the Monterey Historic Races in 2002, 2005 and 2006. In 2007, the car was shown at the Pebble beach Concours d'Elegance in the Ferrari Competition class for exhibition only.
In 2011, the car was offered for sale the Monterey, CA auction presented by RM Auctions. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $3,685,000 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
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