1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe

Its impeccable provenance following La Carrera and its impressive ownership chain makes it a plum piece for a collector
who appreciates quality over flash

This Ferrari, 0224AT, has had a busy and well-documented life. Assembled in September 1952, it was test-driven just one month later. Official photos were taken, with temporary Italian license plates BO 16722. It was then sold to Franco Cornacchia’s Scuderia Guastalla in Milan and leased to Santiago Ontanon—in Mexico City—for Luigi Chinetti to drive in the 1952 La Carrera Panamericana.

Chinetti ran the La Carrera, placing 3rd overall. Following the race, he purchased the car for his New York showroom. He then prepared the car for the Mille Miglia, where driven by Eugenio Castellotti and Ivo Regosa, it failed to finish.

In 1954, the car passed through San Francisco and was advertised for sale in Road & Track by Kjell Qvale. Robert Rice subsequently bought 0224AT and showed it at the 5th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

0224AT passed through several more hands, and in 1965 Carl Bross purchased the car. Bross, a cornerstone of U.S. Ferrari history, was the owner of Orange Blossom Diamond Ring Company and owned a number of significant Ferraris in the 1950s. The car appeared on the cover of Road & Track in May 1969. In 1971, early hot rodder, Bonneville Salt Flat racer, and automotive historian Dean Batchelor purchased the car.

0224AT’s travels ended in 1979, when Larry Nicklin purchased the car from an adventurer who sold it to finance an around-the-world sailboat cruise. Mr. Nicklin was no stranger to 340 Mexico ownership, having previously purchased Mexico 0226AT after spotting the distinctive fenders of the car poking out of a garage in Detroit.

One of many interesting Nicklin stories occurred when he was pulled over by a state trooper, who clocked him at 85 mph. As his daughter Jennie Anne Nicklin wrote years later for Prancing Horse magazine, “Larry had been on a test-drive with Dave Palmeter, the goal of which was to reach 100 mph.” Fortunately Mr. Nicklin only received a written warning, even though the car was devoid of tags and the necessary documentation wasn’t in the car!

The car has been displayed in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, IN. It has also been featured in Cavallino magazine in July, 1989; it was featured in Lee Beck’s book Ferrarissima in 1990; and it was displayed in Ken Behring’s Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California.

As presented, 0224AT is an extraordinary car, carefully preserved and still retaining its original engine. For racing and Ferrari enthusiasts, it has all the desirable requirements—successful period racing history, eligibility for the world’s most desirable events (Mille Miglia included), well-known provenance, rarity and a light, attractive body combined with a Lampredi-designed V12 that is capable of stunning performance.

Perhaps Mr. Nicklin said it best: “It is as much fun as I’ve ever had in the car collecting world.”

Steve Ahlgrim

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.

Posted in Ferrari