May 19, 2022

There are Ferraris, after which there are Ferraris. I’d mild any flavor-of-the-month supercar, hypercar, megacar or whatever-you-want-to-call-it-car on hearth to protect an icon just like the Ferrari 340 MM. It’s an car much more vital than immediately’s seven-figure, limited-edition baubles—trotted out predictably as clockwork—made to fatten OEM backside traces. Then again, the Ferrari 340 MM is a mannequin that truly achieved one thing in an age lengthy earlier than social media buzz was the measure of a automobile’s accomplishment. It received races and set the stage for an unrepeatable decade in motorsport, one the place the Prancing Horse performed a significant function in shaping historical past, on and off the observe.

The final of ten 340 MMs, inbuilt the identical 12 months that Ferrari received the 1953 World Sportscar Championship, will likely be supplied by RM Sotheby’s at its upcoming public sale in Monaco on Might 14. One among solely 4 surviving 340 MM Spiders bodied by Vignale, it’s uncommon, stunning and remarkably authentic. Chassis No. 0350 AM bears a fair—versus odd—quantity, figuring out it as a purpose-built competitors Ferrari. A virtually equivalent sister automobile to the 1953 Mille Miglia–profitable instance, No. 0350 AM was bought new by Luigi Chinetti to the American sportsman and sports activities automobile–builder Sterling Edwards, who raced it between 1953 and 1955, ending first total at each the Pebble Seaside and Palm Springs Street Races in 1954.

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Already an extremely limited model, this 1953 Ferrari 340 MM is one of only four surviving examples with a body by Vignale. - Credit: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

Already an especially restricted mannequin, this 1953 Ferrari 340 MM is one in every of solely 4 surviving examples with a physique by Vignale. – Credit score: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

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The primary Ferrari, the 125 S, was inbuilt 1947, with two examples made. That racer’s tiny 1.5-liter V-12 engine was designed by Gioacchino Colombo, Maranello’s chief engineer who would quickly develop into a family identify within the historical past of nice Ferrari engines. Because the 1949 Grand Prix season received underway, Colombo urged that supercharging his small-displacement mill would hold Ferrari aggressive. However the fragility and extremely strung nature of a blown engine was worrisome to Enzo Ferrari. Colombo’s junior engineer, Aurelio Lampredi, opined {that a} large-displacement, naturally aspirated engine would serve Ferrari higher. The end result was a protracted, tall 3.3-liter block that used single-port intakes and twin ignition. The ability plant is able to creating 300 hp, spectacular output for the period, which was simply what it took to go head-to-head with the Mercedes 300 SLR. The engine’s success in Components 1 racing hastened Colombo becoming a member of Alfa Romeo, and 30-year-old Lampredi’s promotion as Ferrari’s chief engineer.

The example was sold new to Sterling Edwards, who raced it between 1953 and 1955. - Credit: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

The instance was bought new to Sterling Edwards, who raced it between 1953 and 1955. – Credit score: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Initially, Lampredi’s 3.3-liter engine powered two automobiles entered within the 1950 Mille Miglia. Whereas transmission failures resulted in DNFs, the engine confirmed nice potential. In late 1950, Ferrari launched a 4.1-liter model of the V-12 in a mannequin known as the 340 America. That automobile received the 1951 Mille Miglia, additionally proving common and aggressive in SCCA races stateside. By early 1953, Maranello had launched the 340 MM, a automobile that quickly dominated the racing season. Of ten examples constructed, seven had been campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the FIA’s new Sports activities Automobile Producers’ Championship, chalking up wins on the Mille Miglia, the 24 Hours of Spa, the Nürburgring 1,000 KM and the Giro di Sicilia. These, together with smaller wins, earned Ferrari the 1953 World Sportscar Championship. Bigger 4.5- and 4.9-liter V-12s adopted, the latter powering Ferrari to victory at Le Mans in 1954.

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The Vignale bodywork of this 340 MM options three oval ports in every entrance fender, a attribute signature of Giovanni Michelotti, whose designs are usually extra conventional and understated than the customarily flamboyant and eccentric designs from coachbuilders of the period like Zagato and Touring. This 340 MM was completed in a two-tone mixture of darkish blue and white, reportedly in honor of the customer’s US nationality. With trophies below his belt, Edwards bought the automobile in 1955, after which it shortly handed by way of the fingers of quite a lot of native racers after which to collector Sherman Wolf for practically 30 years. By 2012, it was in possession of the consignor, who confirmed it on the 2015 Pebble Seaside Concours d’Class the place it garnered the Phil Hill Cup.

Vignale’s bodywork features three oval ports in each front fender, a characteristic signature of designer Giovanni Michelotti. - Credit: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

Vignale’s bodywork options three oval ports in every entrance fender, a attribute signature of designer Giovanni Michelotti. – Credit score: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Previous race automobiles not often stay intact with the passage of time, and so it’s notable that this Ferrari retains its matching-numbers engine, gearbox and rear axle. It’s presently fitted with what’s believed to be the unique engine block from chassis No. 0032 MT, an important 1950 Scuderia Ferrari Works sports activities racer, with the unique engine rigorously preserved for show. As this automobile is eligible for concours and occasions just like the Mille Miglia, Monaco Historics and Le Mans Basic, the largest drawback for the following proprietor will likely be deciding what to do first.

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A true classic, the automobile retains its matching-numbers engine, gearbox and rear axle. - Credit: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

A real traditional, the car retains its matching-numbers engine, gearbox and rear axle. – Credit score: Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Theodore W. Pieper, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Augustin Sabatié-Garat, RM Sotheby’s head of gross sales for Europe, places this automobile in perspective, saying: “That is really one of the vital necessary and rarest of all Fifties Ferraris. The Vignale 340 MMs are stunning and traditionally vital automobiles, and are so not often accessible to the market that chassis 0350 AM represents a once-in-a-generation alternative for any critical collector of necessary sports activities racing automobiles.” The instance is anticipated to fetch wherever from about $6.3 million to $8.5 million.

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