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Jay Leno Looks at the 1952 Ferrari Barchetta

by Paul Strauss

In his latest automotive segment, Jay Leno gets up close and personal with a very special Ferrari from the company’s past. Built in 1952, this one-of-a-kind Ferrari Barchetta has been impeccably preserved, and was all the more special because it was given to Henry Ford II as a gift from Enzo Ferrari himself when the two companies were discussing the possibility of a merger.

The folks from The Peterson Automotive Museum were kind enough to bring by this rare beauty, which derives its name from its small boat-like shape. Under the hood is a 12-cylinder, SOHC, 2.7-liter racing engine. As a custom-built car for Mr. Ford, this Barchetta is also possibly the first ever Ferrari with left-hand drive.

Legend has it that the Barchetta served as inspiration for the first Ford Thunderbird, and if you look carefully, you can definitely see the similarities – especially the grille and exhaust pipes routed through the body.

If you’re interested in skipping past the dry historical stuff, jump to about 6:50 to see the Barchetta in motion on the road. It’s a real beauty.

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