1951 Ferrari 340 America

Vehicle Profiles

1951 Ferrari 340 America vehicle information

Coachwork: Ghia

Chassis Num: 0150/A
Engine Num: 0150/A

Ferrari's very first automobiles were V12 engines designed by Colombo in 1946. Within a few years their engines were insufficient to keep pace with competition so Enzo Ferrari commissioned Ing. Lampredi to create a new engine for both their sports r....[continue reading]

1951 Ferrari 340 America vehicle information

Coachwork: Ghia

Chassis Num: 0148 A

This 4.1-liter Ferrari Ghia Berlinetta (serial number 0148 A) was built for Ferrari board member and industrialist Michel Paul-Cavalier of Pont-a-Mousson, France, who owned several exceptional Ferraris from new. This is the only 340 Berlinetta built....[continue reading]

1951 Ferrari 340 America vehicle information

Touring bodied Coupe
Coachwork: Touring

Chassis Num: 0126A

Aurelio Lampredi joined Ferrari in 1947 and became head of the design team in 1949. That position had been held by engineer Gioachino Colombo who had been with Ferrari for many years, dating back to his years spent with Alfa Romeo. ....[continue reading]

1951 Ferrari 340 America vehicle information

Coachwork: Vignale

Chassis Num: 0140 A
Engine Num: 0140 A

Chassis 0140 A was shipped to Vignale in Turin on October 22, 1951. It was given spider coachwork and painted in a deep red with tan corduroy upholstery. There were only five 340 Americas fitted with similar Vignale coachwork, though this examples ca....[continue reading]

1951 Ferrari 340 America vehicle information

Coachwork: Vignale

Chassis Num: 0082A

Carrozzeria Vignale built four 340 America Berlinettas, and this car was the first to be completed. In 1951 Ferrari entered its third Mille Miglia, competing with this berlinetti driven by Luigi Villoresi and Piero Cassani. Early in the race, in very....[continue reading]

Coupe by Ghia
Chassis #: 0150/A 
Coupe by Ghia
Chassis #: 0148 A 
Touring bodied Coupe by Touring
Chassis #: 0126A 
Spider by Vignale
Chassis #: 0140 A 
Berlinetta by Vignale
Chassis #: 0082A 


The 340 America was debuted at the 1950 Paris Auto Show and was the first road car to be powered by the Lampredi engine. It was a 4102cc V-12 producing 220 bhp.
Ferrari's were custom built cars. They were not mass-produced. Ferrari provided the engine and chassis while Italian coach builders provided the body. This meant the specifications varied. The bodies of the 340 America were built by Ghia, Touring, Pinin Farina and Vignale.

The 340 America was replaced by the 340 Mexico. It had different carburettors, three 40DCFs, and a higher compression ratio. The result was an increase in horsepower by 60. The weight of the vehicle was also decreased bringing about significantly improved performance.

Gioacchino Colombo started out being the primary builder of Ferrari's engines in the late in 1940's and a major contributor to the success of Ferrari. Aurelio Lambredi became his assistant in 1947. Lambredi soon became convinced that a large engine that was naturally aspirated would have better fuel economy and provide more power. Colombo was of the belief that smaller engine compiled with a supercharger would produce the better results. Ferrari tested Lambredi's idea and proved it to be successful. Lambredi was promoted to chief design engineer and Colombo returned to Alfa Romeo. The Lambredi engines were used in the ladder part of the 1950's.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
It was in 1948 when the newly formed Italian automobile company named Ferrari began selling a promising sports car named the 166. The two seater sports car featured a 12-cylinder engine mounted in the front and supplying over 100 horsepower to the rear wheels. The engine was just under two-liters in size and had a unitary displacement of 166 cc, thus, the evolution of the model name. Production would last until 1953 with only 38 examples being produced. Even though production was low, its accomplishments are large, with wins at LeMans, Mille Miglia, and the Targa Florio.

The 166 was a continuation of the 125, introduced a year earlier. The 125's size of 1497 cc was later enlarged to 1902cc, bringing about the Tipo 159. In 1948, it was enlarged to 1995 cc and became the 166.

Engineer Gioachino Colombo had been tasked with creating the engine to power the first Ferrari automobile. Both Enzo and Colombo had a history with working at Alfa Romeo, and were well versed on the rules and regulations of Grand Prix racing. Rules dictated that displacement size was limited to just 1.5-liters in forced induction engines, and 4.5-liters in naturally aspirated units. Colombo opted for the forced induction route, just as he had done while at Alfa Romeo, and designed for Ferrari their first V12 engine, as well as their first chassis. The engine was very different to the units Colombo had created while at Alfa Romeo, though sharing the same displacement size. Before the engine or chassis were ever created, Colombo left. Aurelio Lampredi was brought in to pick-up where Colombo had left off. Lampredi was a former Fiat employee who was a very talented and gifted engineer. He created the Colombo designed supercharged V12 engine, which would quickly grow in size to three liters.

The engine was potent, but still lacking. Lampredi was tasked with creating a new engine, larger in size, and aimed at propelling Ferrari's next generation of Grand Prix racing machines. Lampredi's goal was to create a powerful, yet fuel efficient engine that could keep with the competition. The Alfa Romeo engines were providing serious competition, and Lampredi questioned if the horsepower output could reach the figures Alfa Romeo was producing. Better fuel-efficiency, along with better tire wear, were two ways Lampredi was hoping to best the Alfa's.

The Lampredi designed 3.3-liter engine was ready by early 1950. Due to its size and configuration, it would eventually become known as the 'long-block' engine. It was constructed from a light-alloy metal, two valves per cylinder, single overhead camshaft and drew design inspiration from the prior Colombo engine.

Touring was tasked with creating the first two vehicles to house the Lampredi engines. They were entered in the 1950 Mille Miglia and carried the designation, 275 S, keeping with the traditional Ferrari naming scheme based on unitary displacement. The cars debut were less than stellar, as both were forced to retire prematurely due to tire and gearbox issues. As the year progressed, the issues were resolved and development continued on the engine, ultimately reaching 4.5-liters.

Other than being a very successful race car builder that enjoyed profound racing success, he was also a great business man and able to capitalize on racing success. Many of the road going cars Ferrari produced were derived from their racing program. Using the Lampredi engine, displacing 4.1 liters and producing 220 horsepower, the engine was mounted in a enlarged versions of the 275 S chassis, and the vehicle was named the 340 America. The 340 America's first public debut was at the Paris Auto Show where it was displayed wearing a Touring Barchetta body. a total of 23 examples would eventually be produced, with bodies supplied by Vignale, Touring and Ghia. As is popular with Ferrari automobiles, many of the 340 America's were used by privateers in racing competition.

Though rule changes at the close of the 1951 season left the Lampredi engine obsolete, development continued. A total of six examples of the Ferrari 342 America were created. These were very exclusive machines catered to Ferrari's wealthiest clients. The 340 Mexico cars were true Ferrari racing bred machines. Four examples were specifically created to compete in the 1952 running of the Carrera Panamericana race. They were powered by a 280 horsepower version of the Lampredi engine and given a longer wheelbase to better traverse the rough and changing terrain.

In 1953, Ferrari introduced the 340 MM, which was a replacement for the 340 America. Under the bonnet was a 300 horsepower Lampredi engine.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007

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