In 1953 Ferrari was preparing to show new road cars at the 1954 Geneva and New York Auto Shows. One of those chosen to represent the still up-and-coming marque would be built on a 250 Europa or 375 America chassis by Turinese carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale.
Since 1950 Giovanni Michelotti had been the designer responsible for much of Vignale’s output, Ferraris mostly, but on other marque chassis as well. He had already designed more than 80 Ferraris bodied by Vignale, one of which had been called The Most Beautiful Car in the World by one of the American car magazines. His 1953 design for S/N 0313 was strikingly different from any of the others. When an almost identical one was built for S/N 0327 it was chosen by Ferrari to be shown in Geneva and New York in 1954.
Meanwhile, in Manhasset, Long Island, New York, a 14 year-old boy who had been reading about exotic European and British sports cars in Road & Track for little more than a year, was looking forward to his first visit to the New York Auto Show. The Ferrari stand was, for him, the major draw, and seeing 0327 was a revelation; it was like nothing else. The sculpturally complex front fender / headlight treatment in particular made a surprisingly strong impression.
Over the following years the car appeared and re-appeared in various places, in different colors and different states of repair and disrepair, and wasn’t forgotten.
Fast forward to the present: The same car is offered by RM Sotheby’s at auction in New York, and the same enthusiast is covering the event. The reunion was inevitable.
Text and photos by Walter Jamieson, CHB’s New York correspondent