1950 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring

1950 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta front
Tim Scott ©2016, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

On May 7, 1951, chassis 0116A was sent to Carrozzeria Touring to be fitted with its elegant Barchetta coachwork. On June 14, it was returned. Two days later it was delivered to its first owner, Pierre Louis-Dreyfus, a resident of Paris, a World War II hero, and founder of the Louis-Dreyfus Financial Group.

In his spare time, Mr. Louis-Dreyfus was an enthusiastic racing driver and sportsman.

A regular entrant in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Louis-Dreyfus sent his new 340 to Le Mans just a week after receiving it. Luigi Chinetti was picked to manage the effort with Formula One ace Louis Chiron sharing driving duties. Chiron missed the pit-signal to refuel and ran dry on the circuit. A mechanic ran out to the car and topped up the car from a fuel can. The car was black-flagged for illegally refueling outside the pits.

Despite the early retirement, the car showed great pace. It recorded the 11th fastest lap time and was capable of over 150 mph (then an astounding speed) along the Mulsanne Straight.

The next year Dreyfus entered the car once more — again with Chinetti doing the support and René Dreyfus sharing driving duties. The car qualified 15th but succumbed to clutch issues.

Most recently, chassis 0116A has been fully restored to its 1951 Le Mans configuration and will certainly continue to be welcomed at the most important historic events worldwide, including the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Monaco Historic Grand Prix and, of course, the Le Mans Classic.

Steve Ahlgrim

SCM Contributing Editor

Steve taught high school auto shop before moving to Atlanta, GA, where his love of sports cars led him to FAF Motorcars, the former Ferrari dealer where he served as General Manager and Vice President. He has been a self-proclaimed “one-trick pony,” coveting the Ferrari marque. He has been involved in concours judging for over 25 years and is a member of the IAC/PFA, an international committee overseeing high-level Ferrari concours judging. He is chief judge of the Celebration Exotic Car Show in Celebration, FL.

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