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342 America Vignale Cabriolet
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  Ferrari 342 America Vignale Cabriolet
 

  Article Image gallery (16) 0232AL Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1952
Numbers built:6 (2 PF Convertibles)
Designed by:Vignale
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 03, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe new engine was installed in Ferrari's conventional tubular ladder frame chassis consisting of two elliptical side members. From its conception in 1946, the basic chassis design would serve for almost two decades, of course with detail changes here and there. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front with a transverse leaf spring and a live axle at the rear. Two examples were constructed and bodied by Touring for the 1950 Mille Miglia and known as the 275 S. The racing debut of the Lampredi V12 was not a happy one with both cars being forced to retire with a mix of gearbox and tyre problems. Development continued throughout the year, and obviously the engine was further increased in size to reach the 4.5 litre required for Grand Prix racing.

For its sportscar racing application a displacement of 4.1 litres was deemed sufficient and that was reached by increasing the bore size from 72 mm to 80 mm. Producing a modest 220 bhp, the engine was installed in a slightly longer version of the 275 S chassis and the completed package was dubbed 340 America. The first example was shown at the Paris Auto Show late in 1950 equipped with a Touring Barchetta body, but Vignale and Ghia also supplied bodies for numerous machines. The first major sportscar win for the Lampredi came in 1951 when Luigi Villoresi won the Mille Miglia in a 340 America. With 23 examples produced, the big Ferrari proved popular with independent racers on both sides of the Atlantic. In the meantime the 375 F1 had also brought Grand Prix glory to Ferrari and at the end of the season, the team missed the 1951 Formula 1 championship by only one point.

Rule changes left the Lampredi engine obsolete for Grand Prix racing, but its development continued. Aimed at the richest of clients, Ferrari introduced the 342 America; a road going version of the successful racer. Its production run of only six examples underlines its exclusivity. The next major racing development was the 340 Mexico, of which four were built specifically for the gruelling 1952 Carrera PanAmericana race. They sported a longer wheelbase chassis and three quad-choke Webers, bumping the power to 280 bhp. The true replacement of the 340 America came in 1953 in the form of the 340 MM, which used a 2500 mm wheelbase chassis and a 300 bhp version of the long-block V12.

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  Article Image gallery (16) 0232AL Specifications