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342 America Vignale Cabriolet
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  Article Image gallery (21) 0232AL Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1952
Numbers built:6
Designed by:Vignale
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 03, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhen Enzo Ferrari set up shop for himself he was joined by engineer Gioachino Colombo, with whom he had also worked in his final years as an independent contractor for Alfa Romeo. Never lacking ambition, Ferrari wanted to perform on the highest level, which meant he would have to take on his old employer in Grand Prix racing and more specifically the 158 'Alfetta' racer, which he had Colombo design at the end of the 1930s. The regulations dictated a maximum displaced of 1.5 litre with forced induction or 4.5 litre Naturally Aspirated. Like he did for Alfa Romeo, Colombo opted for the forced induction route for Ferrari's first engine.

Other than sharing its displacement, there was very little in common between Alfa Romeo's straight eight and Ferrari's V12. With a multi purpose application in mind the Ferrari engine was designed with natural aspiration first. Colombo also penned the first chassis for Ferrari, but he jumped ship before either was completed. His replacement was former Fiat employee Aurelio Lampredi, who continued the development of Colombo's V12. The natural aspirated version was installed in sportscar chassis and quickly grew in size to two, and eventually three litres. Equipped with a blower the V12 was fitted in the first Ferrari Grand Prix cars, but failed to match the performance of the Alfettas.

Disappointed with the gas-guzzling supercharged V12's performance, Enzo Ferrari had Lampredi start working on a much larger V12 engine to power his second generation of Grand Prix racers. Although it was not expected that the output of the Alfa Romeo's could be matched, the engineer was confident that a better fuel economy and longer tyre life would result in far less pit-stops. Today known as the 'long-block' V12, Lampredi's new engine first saw the light of day early in 1950 with a displacement of just over 3.3 litres. Other than being larger in every aspect, the engine was actually fairly similar to Colombo's, using a light alloy construction, single overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder and three twin-choke Webers.

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  Article Image gallery (21) 0232AL Specifications