1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta

Ferrari S/N 0148A is part of a very aristocratic lineage of Ferraris, as it is equipped with the famous Lampredi V12, which would go on to contribute to Ferrari’s first victories in F1 in its 375 F1 version. In the 340 version, the 4101-cc engine develops 260 hp at 6500 rpm. It was a legendary motor that was several steps above the standard 250 production unit and went on to spawn its elder siblings, the 375 MM and 410 Sport, of fearsome reputation for their power. This notoriety is reflected in both the type’s rarity and also the famous owners that were destined to enjoy the 340 America series.

This car, bodied by Ghia, was first built for Michel Paul Cavalier, president of a large French industrial concern. The distinguished Monsieur Cavalier became one of Ferrari’s first repeat customers—and thus a precious one—as well as a friend. While little is known about him, he became perhaps the only non-Italian membe
r of the early Ferrari board, and it is believed that his industrial savvy was most useful as the factory’s growth mushroomed amidst the hectic demands of competition and Maranello’s engineering development.

Cavalier owned several very special Ferraris through the years, cars that were tailor-made for him, and it is a measure of his lore in Ferrari history that these cars are now to be found in several of the finest collections. S/N 0148A remained in France after Cavalier sold it to a watch merchant, who in turn passed it on to Michael Dovaz. The latter has a rather infamous private museum in Nemours, France, where it stayed for a number of years before passing on to a Parisian doctor and then a Dutchman.

The current owner bought this car and then subjected it to a frame-off restoration. This was undertaken in Italy by Zagato with the aid of Galbiati, who specializes in aluminum bodies—a definite plus since S/N 0148A is believed to be the only alloy-bodied car in this small series. The engine, which was already in running order, was rebuilt by Michel Magnin.

The 340 was painted in a dark blue, while the interior has fully redone leather seats in a lighter shade of blue with matching carpets. All chrome elements have been impeccably renewed. The car has since taken part in the 1999 Mille Miglia, where it was driven by French connoisseur Marc Souvrain for its current owner.

Historic Ferraris do not come with a much better pedigree than this, and S/N 0148A would make a great road/rally machine or a very prominent concours entry.