The Ferrari 375
was introduced at the Paris Salon in 1953. During its production run which lasted until May of 1954, less than 45 examples of the 375 America were produced. The car was constructed for Ferrari’s clientele who had the means to afford one of these beautiful creations. Since they were produced in limited numbers, the production took far longer than volume models.
The 375 Mille Miglia descended directly from the 4½ liter GP formula and the big engine which Aurelio Lampredi designed for it. Successful from inception, it was natural to tune the engine down a little, adapt Ferrari’s typical two-tube frame and solid rear axle suspension, wrap a 2-seat body around it and go collect some more starting and prize money and sell some cars to keep the Scuderia in operation. Typically bodied by Pinin Farina, the 375MM was both the factory’s team car and a favorite of well-heeled customers. One of them, Casimiro de Oliveira, so frequently battered his 375MM’s Pinin Farina body that it had to be returned to Ferrari after only a year where it received a very early body by Scaglietti.
The 375 MM is powered by a 4.5-liter Lampredi designed V-12 engine with either three twin choke Weber 40 DCZ or DCF downdraughts, resulting in 300 horsepower. On all four corners were drum brakes, Borrani wire wheels accented the exterior of the vehicle, and a leaf spring suspension was used in the front and the rear. With the four-speed manual gearbox, the car could achieve a top speed of 150 mph and could race from zero to sixty in less than seven seconds.
The 375MM’s chassis was conventional Ferrari, based on two parallel oval tubes in a welded ladder structure. Front suspension was independent by parallel unequal length A-arms with a transverse leaf spring, sway bar and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers. The usual Ferrari solid rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, Houdaille shocks and parallel trailing arms (for location and taking braking and acceleration loads) was both well-proven and reliable. The 375MM broke no new ground and in common with most Ferrari sports-racers relied upon superior engine performance for its competitive edge.
As its name suggests, the 375MM was intended for the open roads and high speed circuits of European races. Predictable handling, robust construction and long, long legs were its attributes. The 375MM showed just how well Ferrari had conceived and developed it, winning frequently in 1953. Twelve 375MM spiders were built and are today among the most important and coveted of Ferrari’s classic Fifties sports-racers.
The 375 MM was given its name after the famous 1000 mile race, the Mille Miglia. This limited production series was constructed in 1953 and 1954. The car was outfitted with a 4522 cc powerplant, a small increase in performance over the 4494 cc road-going version. The four-speed manual gearbox was fully synchronized and mounted to the engine. The front suspension was independent by parallel unequal length A-arms with a transverse leaf spring. The rear was sold with semi-elliptic springs and parallel trailing arms. This combination made the 375 MM perfect for high speed circuits and the open road. In total only 26 375 MM’s had bodywork provided by Pinin Farina in either spyder or berlinetta configuration. One example received bodywork courteous of Ghia.
In 1954, a 375 Plus was entered in the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans. Powered by a 4.9 liter engine, it captured the overall victory. Production of the 375 continued until 1955. Produced in limited numbers, their exclusivity in modern times is guaranteed.