Ferrari were sure that they could achieve their goal of conquering the US market with their aptly named America series, although the 342 model, the first in the series, eventually failed to even scratch the surface with only 26 sales recorded.
Apparently anticipating that the 340 was not going to be the car that would conquer the American market, just three months after the debut of the 340 America at the Paris Salon of October 1950, Ferrari took the wrappings on what was to be its replacement,
That came in the January of the following year, just three months later, with a more extended wheel based version of virtually an identical copy, the 342 launched at the Brussels show of 1951.
The Ferrari America 342 came fitted with the same Aurelio Lampredi-designed V8 " long-block" 4102 cc engine as the 340 but with its bhp tuned to a reduced level of 197.
To make for a smoother ride, the 342's drive train was fitted with a fully-synchronised four-speed transmission instead of non-synchro five-speed fitted on the 340.
That meant " back to the drawing board" for the Ferrari design team, who, in close coordination with Pinin Farina came up with as much more technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing version, the 342 America.
Ferrari made no secret that the 342 America was aimed squarely at the private customer sector, with road racing being a secondary consideration.
Another strong indication of Ferrari's leaning towards the US market was that the 342 America came with left-hand drive while its track only counterparts, the racing 340 Mexico of 1952 and 340 Mille Miglia of 1953 shipped with right-hand drive.
Despite initial optimism fueled by positive critical appraisal, the 342 America remained in production for a less than two-year, discontinued in late 1952, when it was replaced by the America 375.
During its production run, the miserly total of six Ferrari 342 Americas was sold- one with a Vignale cabriolet body, and the remaining five on a Pinin Farina body.
Because of their rarity, the six Ferrari America 342s have been highly valuable and much-cherished collector's items.