The Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry that led to the GT40 and years of Blue Oval dominance at Le Mans is legendary, but things weren't always so bad between the two automakers. The latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage features the 1952 Ferrari Barchetta that Enzo himself gave to Henry Ford II.

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The car dates from a time when Ford's acquisition of Ferrari looked like a real possibility, and the two automotive titans were on speaking terms. After all, why would you give a free car to your enemy?

The Barchetta is a far cry from the high-tech Ferraris of today, but it's a superb piece of automotive design nonetheless. The styling combines European and American touches, and is even rumored to have influenced the 1955 Ford Thunderbird. You would never find anything like the Ferrari's 2.7-liter V-12 race engine under the hood of a T-Bird, though.

Today, the Barchetta is ensconced in Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum in immaculate condition, sporting original paint and circa-1954 tires. if you've ever wondered what a brand-new 1950s Ferrari looks like on the road, this is it.

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This Ferrari isn't just significant because of its original state; it's also an important piece of history. The egg-crate-grilled roadster comes from a time that's hard to fathom now, when performance car technology was virtually nonexistent, and when it really looked like Ferrari would one day be owned by Ford. Check out the video for more on this extraordinary car.


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