1952 Ferrari 342 America Cabriolet by Vignale
Sold For $2,255,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- The first of six examples produced; among the rarest road-going Ferraris
- The only 342 America bodied by Vignale
- Exceptional open coachwork with special design features
- Equipped with its original numbers-matching engine
- Rarely seen in public since the 1970s
Among the earliest “ultra-Ferraris” to wear the now-famous America nameplate, the 342 America was intended as an especially luxurious and powerful custom road car for the factory’s best clients. Built with an extended 2,650-mm wheelbase to accommodate the enlarged 200-hp Lampredi V-12, it saw a total production run of only six examples, for such clients as King Leopold of Belgium and Enzo Ferrari himself. It is unusual among road-going Ferraris in that each car was delivered with an even chassis number, carrying the suffix “AL” for “America Lungo,” and all had left-hand drive.
Records indicate that 0232 AL was the very first 342 America built, and the first of three completed with cabriolet coachwork, in this case by Vignale, with the unique feature of slotted taillights recessed into the fenders. It was test-driven by the factory on 27 October 1952, and delivered to its first owner on 14 January 1953. Odofranco “Otto” Wild of Muri, Switzerland, was an early good customer of Ferrari, as well as an avid purchaser of other unusual coachbuilt European cars in this period. It is interesting to note that the car’s radiator bears a tag from a Zurich supplier, indicating that it may have been installed during this original ownership.
The car was subsequently exported to the United States in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and acquired by T. Dan Smith of Los Angeles. In 1971, Smith sold the 342 America to longtime enthusiast Norman Snart of Hayward, California, for which it was registered in California as ‘NMB 316.’ By this time the car had been refinished in metallic silver and its bumpers had been removed. While Mr. Snart would own the car for the next two decades, it was very infrequently shown or displayed. One of the rarest exceptions was the FCA Pacific Region Ferrari Concours d’Elegance at Quail Lodge in 1992. He finally parted with the Ferrari in 2004, selling the car to Paul Forbes.
The car was purchased later in 2007 by its current owners, and was restored in California in the current color scheme of metallic green and white, with a complementary white and green leather interior. At this time the dashboard was engine-turned and a front bumper with overriders fitted. Registering only 210 miles since its restoration, it has continued to remain largely hidden away, aside from infrequent exhibitions at various West Coast shows and museums. It has been featured in Marcel Massini’s book, Ferrari by Vignale, as well as in Cavallino no. 117 (p. 10), as part of recollections by Mr. Snart. Accompanying it are a correct spare wheel and tire, as well as a rear-view mirror.
The opportunity to acquire a 342 America is necessarily extraordinarily rare, as only six examples were produced; to buy one with open coachwork is virtually impossible. Thus, the opportunity here is as rare as the car itself, and may be the only time for a dedicated tifosi to acquire a 342 America in his lifetime.
Please note that engine is not currently running and will require further service work prior to operation.