Η πανέμορφη σπάνια και κλασική Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Coupe του 1952, ξεπέρασε κάθε προσδοκία αφού σε πρόσφατη δημοπρασία του οίκου RM Auctions πωλήθηκε έναντι του ποσού των 4.3 εκατ. δολάρια (3.030.000 ευρώ). Οι υπεύθυνοι του οίκου υπολόγιζαν να πουληθεί γύρω στα 3.5 εκατ. δολάρια αλλά έπεσαν έξω αφού η μια από τις τρεις Mexico Vignale Coupe που κατασκευάστηκαν ποτέ, έπιασε τα 4.29 εκατ. δολάρια.
Το αυτοκίνητο αγωνίστηκε στον αγώνα Carrera Panamericana (όπως και στον Mille Miglia) τη τρίτη πιο επικίνδυνη αγωνιστική διαδρομή του κόσμου στα χέρια των Luigi Chinetti και Jean Lucas. Ο αγώνας έλαβε χώρα από το 1950 έως το 1954 και 27 συμμετέχοντες έχασαν την ζωή τους ενώ μετά το σοβαρό ατυχήματα στο Le Mans ο αγώνας αποφασίστηκε να μην ξαναγίνει ποτέ. Το 1952 η Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Coupe είχε κατακτήσει την 3η θέση.
Ιδιοκτήτης της ήταν ο γνωστός συλλέκτης Larry Nicklin, και το αυτοκίνητο έχει σασί με τον αριθμό 0224 AT, φορά τον V12 4.1 λίτρων απόδοσης 284 ίππων που συνδυάζεται με ένα 5-τάχυτο χειροκίνητο κιβώτιο. Η κίνηση μεταφέρεται στον πίσω άξονα.
Στην ίδια δημοπρασία η Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale Coupe 1953 με αριθρμό σασί 0267 EU πουλήθηκε έναντι των 660.000 δολαρίων.
[Πηγή: RM Auctions]
1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe by Vignale
280 hp, 4,101 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 40 mm DCF/3 carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension by double wishbone and transverse leaf spring, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102.4″
– Third place, 1952 La Carrera Panamericana (Luigi Chinetti/Jean Lucas) – The most successful of the 1952 Panamericana Ferrari team cars – Owned by Ferrari enthusiast and FCA co-founder Larry Nicklin – One of only three 340 Mexico Coupes built – Mille Miglia veteran, eligible for world’s greatest events – Known history from new, documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini and current owner’s extensive research
The original 1950-54 La Carrera Panamericana Mexican road race was the most dangerous road race in the world. Twenty-seven competitors were killed on the newly completed Panamerican highway, and it’s doubtful anyone kept track of spectator fatalities.
With that in mind, it’s ironic that the race was actually canceled in the wake of Pierre Levegh’s 1955 crash at Le Mans, France, which killed an estimated 80 track-side fans. Mexican President Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez announced after the disaster that La Carrera’s mission to publicize the new highway was complete. The event did not return until it was revived as a still-very-dangerous vintage rally in 1988.
The original Carrera Panamericana took place over 2,100 miles. It involved nine stages in five days, with elevations ranging from sea level to 10,500 feet, temperatures from 120 degrees to near freezing and on surfaces from blacktop to loose gravel. Most of the race took place between 5,000 and 8,000 feet, and guardrails were virtually non-existent.
American Herschell McGriff won the 1950 event in an Oldsmobile 88 at an average speed of 88 mph, but four years later, the winning average speed for the last stage of 227 miles – on public roads, no less – was 138 mph, set by Umberto Maglioli in a Ferrari.
Over five years, La Carrera attracted notable drivers from all forms of racing, including past and future Grand Prix racers and world champions Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Ritchie Ginther, Piero Taruffi, Umberto Maglioli, Felice Bonetto, Louis Chiron, Herman Lang, Karl Ling; American NASCAR figures Bill France, Curtis Turner and Marshall Teague; Indy 500 drivers Tony Bettenhausen and Jerry Unser; and hot rodders Mickey Thompson, Clay Smith and Ak Miller.
After American sedans swept the first four places in 1950, Ferrari sent a factory team of 212s for 1951. They didn’t quite fit the touring category, but they were allowed to compete – and finished 1-2. Winners were Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti in Vignale Coupe s/n 0171 EL; Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi were second in s/n 0161 EL.
Expert drivers competed alongside amateurs. At the start of the 1951 race, Jose Estrada, a Mexico City car dealer and racer, announced, “I will win or die trying.” He was correct; on the first day, his 1951 Packard tumbled into a 600-foot ravine, and he and his co-driver died in hospital. Next day claimed Carlos Panini, in a 1949 Alfa 6C 2500 SS.
The 1952 Carrera Panamericana and 0224 AT
The racing world’s spotlight was on the dangerous La Carrera, and the 1952 race was going to be fiercely contested. The field was to be divided into sports cars and stock cars. Mercedes-Benz was sending two 300SL Gullwing prototypes, and there were teams from Porsche and others.
What to do? Ferrari’s solution was to adapt Aurelio Lampredi’s long-block, four-liter, V-12 340 America, with which Luigi Villoresi had won the 1951 Mille Miglia. Three bare bones, lightweight 340 coupes were built – s/n 0222 AT, s/n 0224 AT and s/n 0226 AT – and one Barchetta, s/n 0228 AT – all named “Mexico” for the race.
The Ferrari 340 Mexico presented here is chassis no. 0224 AT, the most successful of the cars. All three Vignale coupes were dispatched to Mexico, along with the Barchetta, which did not start the race. S/n 0224 AT would be driven by Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas. Chinetti had won the previous year with Piero Taruffi. This year, Villoresi would be in 0222 AT while Ascari would drive 0226 AT.
In addition to being a successful racing driver, Luigi Chinetti’s association with Ferrari was a life-long one. A three-time Le Mans winner, he worked for Enzo Ferrari in France before becoming the general U.S. distributor and being responsible for some of the most extraordinary Ferraris ever built, including the famed 275 N.A.R.T. Spyders.
Ascari’s race was brief but brilliant, lasting barely 50 miles and half an hour, in which time he had passed nine competitors, before losing control on loose gravel and crashing. Villoresi lasted until day three, when he went out with mechanical trouble. It looked as though Mercedes-Benz was going to make it 1-2-3, despite leader Karl Kling hitting a buzzard at 130 mph and smashing his windshield. Herman Lang was in second place and American John Fitch in third. But Fitch was disqualified for allowing a mechanic to touch his car, and Chinetti and Lucas came 3rd in the surviving 340 Mexico – an extraordinary achievement!
Overall, 0224 AT has had a busy and well-documented life. Its engine was built on September 2, 1952, and the chassis was sent to Vignale on September 18, with the car test-driven 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.
Still running on the temporary Italian plates, Chinetti and Lucas ran the La Carrera between November 19-23, placing 3rd overall. On April 1, 1953, 0224 AT was sold to Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York City and prepared for the Mille Miglia. Driven by Eugenio Castellotti and Ivo Regosa as #637, it failed to finish.
It is believed but undocumented that in summer of the same year, the car participated in but did not finish the Reims 12-hour race, driven by Phil Hill and Chinetti, who had replaced the injured Bill Spear.
Its next appearance was in August at the Pescara 12-hour race (XX11 Coppa Acerbo) driven by Giovanni Bracco and Roberto Bonomi as #22, using Vicenza dealer plates “VC 31.” Later in 1953 Chinetti added a bump to the front fenders for more tire clearance, and s/n 0224 AT is the only 340 Mexico Coupe to have this feature.
Early in 1954, the car was sold to San Francisco Ferrari dealer Charles Rezzaghi and then advertised for sale in Road & Track by Kjell Qvale. Robert Rice, of Hanford, California, bought 0224 AT that spring, showed it at the 5th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in April, then at the Mount Diablo Country Club Concours in May.
Its next outing was a race at Stockton, driven by George Sawyer on March 20, 1955, after which it was returned to Chinetti Motors and sold to Bill Galvin, of Washington D.C., who paid $3,500 and stored it at Rascal’s shop in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York. It seems Mr. Galvin, a defense consultant, bought the car for his wife.
The following owner was Tom Stewart of Waterford West Virginia, who enjoyed 0224 AT for almost 10 years. Stewart, a longtime Lancia collector, conducted extensive engine and mechanical work on the car over the course of his ownership. In 1965 Carl Bross purchased the car from Stewart for the princely sum of $4,500. Bross owned Orange Blossom Diamond Ring Company and had owned a number of significant Ferraris in the 1950s. In 1967 the car was in Kirk White’s shop in Pennsylvania before being sold the same year to Everett Calvin Gleason in Detroit, Michigan. Cal Gleason installed a new interior, paint, trim, single-plate clutch and other items. Gleason drove 0224 AT to the FCA meet at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1968.
Publicity followed and s/n 0224 AT’s next appearance was on the cover of Road & Track in May of 1969. Then in 1971, Gleason sold it to Dean Batchelor in Reno, Nevada, an early hot rodder and Bonneville Salt Flat racer. Batchelor kept 0224 AT until 1975 when he sold it to Harley Cluxton of Scottsdale, Arizona, who promptly sold it to John Robertson of Big Fork, Montana.
At last its travels ended in 1979, when Robertson sold 0224 AT to Larry Nicklin in Leo, Indiana, the present owner of this historic race car. Please see the preceding pages for a short biography of Mr. Nicklin. In fact, Robertson – a young, wealthy enthusiast – sold 0224 AT in order to take a two-year world cruise on his sailboat. He had particularly good taste in cars, as he also owned three Lamborghinis, a GT40 Spyder and a NART 365 Daytona.
Mr. Nicklin was no stranger to 340 Mexico ownership. Years earlier, as a student in California, he saw such a car pictured in a magazine. As only four cars were ever built, it was surely unlikely he’d ever bump into one accidentally. But that’s precisely what happened – years later, while driving down the famed Woodward Avenue in Detroit, he spotted distinctive fenders poking out of a garage. As luck would have it, this 340 Mexico was 0226 AT, which he later bought and sold before acquiring 0224 AT from Robertson.
One of many interesting stories occurred in May 1981. Nicklin was pulled over by a 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!
Since then the car has been displayed in the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. It has also been featured in Cavallino magazine #51 in July 1989, included in Lee Beck’s book Ferrarissima in 1990 and displayed in Ken Behring’s Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California in April 1994.
As presented, 0224 AT 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 (only 10 owners from new, including Cluxton), rarity and a light, attractive body combined with Lampredi-designed V-12, 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.”
RARE FERRARI 340 MEXICO TOPS RM’S RECORD $24 MILLION AMELIA ISLAND SALE Amelia Island
- RM posts top auction results at Amelia Island weekend, generating over $24.3 million in total sales with 96% of lots sold
- Results represent highest tally in event’s 13 year history
- Top-seller of the weekend: 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico brings $4.29 million
- Distinguished Jack and Marilyn Tallman Collection attracts spirited bidding
- Auction attracts bidders from 24 countries
BLENHEIM, Ontario (March 14, 2011) – RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, continued its record-breaking sales run in Northeast Florida over the weekend, posting a remarkable $24.3 million* in total sales with a strong 96% of all lots sold at its 13th annual Amelia Island sale to claim the top sales results of the weekend.
Building on the company’s strong track record in Florida, the impressive sales total represents the highest tally achieved in the event’s 13 year history, with over a 25 percent increase on the company’s 2010 sale figures. As many as 27 lots exceeded pre-sale estimates.
In total, the single-day sale presented 103 lots, including a selection of vintage motorcycles, before a packed house, with bidders in the room joined by those on the phone and over the Internet. Illustrating RM’s global clientele, bidders hailed from over 24 countries around the world, including as far away as India, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are thrilled by the results from the weekend’s sale, which represent RM’s best performance to date at Amelia Island. The buyer population appears to be more well-informed than ever, recognizing quality when they see it. In addition, many examples at our Amelia Island sale were fresh to the market, coming out of long-term ownership. Collectors recognized the unique and rare ownership opportunities these particular lots presented, as was reflected in the prices,” says Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions.
Top sales honors of the weekend went to a rare 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Coupé, chassis number 0224 AT, offered from the private collection of former GM designer and Ferrari Club of America co-founder, Larry Nicklin. One of just three built and boasting a superlative racing pedigree, the hugely valuable competition coupé sparked a spirited bidding war in the room and on the phones, exceeding its pre-sale estimate to sell for an extraordinary $4,290,000. Also offered from the Nicklin Collection and exceeding its pre-sale estimate was a highly original 1953 Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale Coupé, chassis number 0267 EU, which realized $660,000. Both examples were offered for the first time in 30 years.
“The results are overwhelming,” said Mr. Nicklin following the sale. “I am thrilled with the prices achieved for my two Ferraris, both of which exceeded their estimates. It has been great working with RM – they are number one in every respect all around the world.”
Building on RM’s reputation as the specialists for private and estate collections, the distinguished collection of Jack and Marilyn Tallman also garnered significant interest. Spanning over 30 years of automotive design, the collection featured a wonderful array of early automobiles, many of which the Tallmans had owned for over 40 years and had enjoyed and driven in countless events, both at home and overseas. Headlining the collection was the sale of a handsome 1930 Cadillac Sixteen Roadster for $506,000 and a 1912 Packard Model 1-48 Custom Runabout for $407,000.
“We are very happy with the results from the sale of our collection at RM’s Amelia Island auction on the weekend,” said Jack Tallman after the auction. “It was a first-class event and a great experience. RM did an amazing job in the promotion and marketing of our collection to a global audience, and we recommend them to others looking to sell their collection or automobile at auction.”
RM’s Amelia Island Top 10 sales were as follows:
- Lot 153 – 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe ($4,290,000)
- Lot 165 – 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider ($990,000)
- Lot 149 – 1933 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Victoria ($979,000)
- Lot 144 – 1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe ($962,500)
- Lot 166 – 1968 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta ($935,000)
- Lot 163 – 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS ($770,000)
- Lot 154 – 1953 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe ($660,000)
- Lot 152 – 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster ($627,000)
- Lot 161 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe ($627,000)
- Lot 172 – 1957 Ferrari 250 GT “Low Roof” Berlinetta ($605,000)
Beyond the top-seller’s list, other notable highlights well-exceeding their estimates included: a 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution, one of only 24 Evolutions built, for $159,500; and a beautifully-restored, early 1964 Porsche 911 for $225,500.
In addition to the sale, RM Auto Restoration had a strong presence on the show field at yesterday’s world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, with the beautifully-presented 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton owned by Charles Letts awarded ‘Best in Class’, and the striking 1960 Plymouth XNR Concept, displayed for the first time in 50 years in North America, also receiving honors. These latest accolades add to a string of awards received by RM Auto Restoration division in recent years, cementing its reputation as the world’s premier restoration facility for vintage automobiles.
Next up, RM kicks off its 2011 European auction calendar on May 21 with its debut sale at the celebrated Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Held on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, the exclusive evening sale will feature an elite selection of the world’s finest motor cars, carefully hand-sourced from around the world by RM’s expert team of car specialists. Representing the ‘best of the very best’, some 30 automobiles – with an average value per car exceeding $1,000,000 USD – are poised for the auction block.
For further information on RM’s upcoming sale at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, or to view full results from the weekend’s Amelia Island sale, please visit www.rmauctions.com.
*Results are listed in USD and include 10% buyers’ premium.