Ferrari 375 MM Racecar

Conceived and built as a pure endurance race car, the Ferrari 375 MM Racecar further propagated Ferrari’s growing reputation as a maker of true dual-purpose machines. At the same time, it cemented Pinin Farina as Ferrari’s coachbuilder of choice.

The Ferrari 375 MM appeared first at Le Mans in 1953. It essentially was a 340 MM chassis fitted with a 340-horsepower 4.5-liter V-12 derived from the engine used for Ferrari’s aborted Indianapolis 500 project.

The Ferrari 375 MM would make Pinin Farina the Ferrari coachbuilder of choice.
The Ferrari 375 MM would make Pinin Farina the Ferrari coachbuilder of choice.
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Pinin Farina designs clothed virtually every one, and a 375 MM berlinetta (chassis 0318 AM) set a lap record in the ’53 24 Hours, but retired after its clutch failed. A later 375 MM (0358 AM), with slightly revised bodywork and grille, finished fourth overall at Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana road race. That gave Ferrari the first international sports-racing title, the Constructors Sports World Championship.

In addition to the Ferrari 375 MM berlinettas, Pinin Farina made a series of Ferrari 375 MM spyders. The first, for American driver James Kimberly, had a “pontoon” front-fender design that would become a feature on later Ferrari endurance-racers. The balance of 375 MM spyder production used a traditional fender treatment.

The Ferrari 375 MM Racecars played an integral role in securing Ferrari another Sports World Championship in 1954. One was victorious in the season’s first race at Buenos Aires. Another was a top-10 finisher at the Carrera Panamericana.

Winning both Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana in 1954 was the Ferrari 375 Plus. This open-cockpit Ferrari also had Pinin Farina coachwork. It looked nearly identical to the 375 MM spyders save revised rear coachwork with a larger center bulge to accommodate a new fuel tank nestled above the De Dion rear end. Underhood was a V-12 of 4954cc.

So desirable were the Ferrari 375 MM Racecar and 375 Plus that a number of berlinetta and spyder versions were made for the street. The chassis was also used for several stupendous one-off design exercises, all helping to nourish Ferrari’s standing as a constructor of the world’s foremost high-performance cars.

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