Never judge a book (or car) by its cover.
Ferrari is one of the few automakers whose vehicles actually gain value over time. Typically, the opposite occurs but Ferrari is no ordinary brand. That's why collectors and investors are more than willing to pay millions for Ferraris both new and old. The just-revealed Ferrari 812 Competizione and 812 Competizione A, the most powerful front-engined V12 models to date, are guaranteed to go up in value. But there are still many older Ferraris out there waiting to be discovered. This previously hidden gem is one of them.
A 1952 Ferrari 340 America is currently up for sale by Mecum Auctions, only this one won't be auctioned off. Instead, it's being offered by Mecum's direct sales program at its Indianapolis event this weekend.
Those interested will have to inquire about the price. Okay, but why is it so unique. For starters, it's just one of 24 built and might just be the ultimate barn find. Originally a race car, it took fifth place at the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans and was later exported to the US where it went through a series of owners. One of them swapped out the original V12 for a Chevy V8. The V12 has since disappeared. That owner simply wanted the car to go fast and could've cared less about its Ferrari pedigree.
Its original coachwork was later damaged in a crash and was then fitted with a completely new body. That too suffered damage in a transport accident and a Devin Spider fiberglass body was applied. And then it went missing for decades.
Fast forward to 1990 when a drag racer named Mike Sanfilippo bought it at a garage sale for $200. The seller just wanted it gone, but Sanfilippo had no clue of the car's true identity. He intended to turn it into a dragster but never got around to it, and ended up selling it in 2006 on eBay for $26,912 to Tom Shaughnessy, an auto restorer expert who quickly discovered what he had. It was really worth around $3 million.
The car ultimately ended up being restored by Ferrari Classiche where it was returned to its original glory. A period-correct 4.1-liter V12 and four-speed manual transmission were installed and the car's original appearance was recreated thanks to old photos and newspaper clippings. Experts believe it could now easily sell for over $6 million.