Today’s featured car is the 340 America, seen here at Gooodwood Festival of Speed, a bye product of Ferrari’s Lamperdi V12 powered Grand Prix programme. With the failure of Ferrari’s Colombo designed 1.5 litre / 122 cui supercharged V12 Grand prix cars to make any impression on the pre war Colombo designed straight 8 supercharged 1.5 litre / 122cui Grand Prix cars thanks to poor fuel economy, Enzo Ferrari asked Lamperdi to design what has become known as the all alloy 4.5 litre / 274 cui long block V12 which was to run in Grand Prix racing without a super charger.
The new V12 was first built in a 3.3 litre / 201 cui guise and then in a 4.1 litre / 250 cui configuration before being stretched to a full 4.5 litre / 274 cui specification. No sooner had the new motor been developed into a winner, in the 375 chassis, than it was made redundant for World Championship Grand Prix racing thanks to a lack of competition which led to an immediate rule change.
As the 375 Grand Prix programme was in progress in 1950 Ferrari started to build a series of 23 340 America sports car chassis fitted with the 200 hp 4.1 litre / 250 cui spec motor. Only 2 of these chassis were fitted with a Coupé body by Touring, a model fitted with a Vignale Barchetta body won the 1951 Mille Miglia with Luigi Villoresi at the wheel and Pierro Cassani doing the co driving.
So far as I can establish this car might be chassis #0122A which was sent to the 1951 Brussels Motor Show and sold to a Belgian. I believe this is the same car as entered by Equipe Nationale Belge for Alain de Changy in the 1958 Grand Prix Leopodville now known as Kinshasa in Belgian Congo where it did not finish. Two weeks later the car was entered in the Angolan Grand Prix for Yves Tassin who finished 10th behind a far more modern D type Jaguar, a Riley Special, unspecified Triumph and Austin Healey amongst others.
As seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed Councour’s d’Elegance the car won the best in show Award.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘African Adventurer’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !