Built for the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, the type 340/375 combined the Mille Miglia-winning 340 chassis with Ferrari’s F1 V12 engine. It was Ferrari’s weapon of choice for many endurance sports car races. Mike Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina won the 1953 24 Hours of SPA outright in their 340/375, but outright victories at Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana eluded the model.
Pinin Farina was Ferrari’s new coach builder of choice for competition cars and for the 375, they simply lengthened the Berlinetta body crafted initially for the 250 MM. Most of the length was added to clear the much larger engine which lengthened the hood considerably. Internal documents show that the body was designated “Special Le Mans-1953.”1
The 4.5-liter engine was taken straight out of the defunct F1 program. Called the Tipo 102, around 340 bhp was possible with seven main bearings, dual-magneto ignition and four-choke Weber carburetors. 0318AM was outfitted with this engine with a modified 4-speed transmission for the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by Alberto Ascari and Gigi Villoresi, it lead the race for several hours and dropped down to 2nd around hour 17 with clutch problems. After 19 hours 0318AM could not continue.
At Le Mans, 0318AM was joined by two 340 MM Berlinettas featuring the same bodywork: 0320AM & 0322AM. 0320AM was disqualified for replacing brake fluid too early in the race while Giannino and Paolo Marzotto piloted 0322AM to fifth place overall and first in class.
After their Le Mans outing, all three Berlinettas were taken back to Pinin Farina and fitted with a low-nose with covered headlights that was thought to be more aerodynamically efficient. The rear window was also reduced.
Before the 24 Hours of SPA 0320AM and 0322AM were fitted with the 4.5-liter Tipo 102 engine. In 0322AM, Mike Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina won outright ahead of the Jaguar C-types with their superior disc brakes. The same two cars appeared at the 12 Hours of Pecara and this time 0320AM won outright with Mike Hawthorn and Umberto Maglioli.
For the final major event of the year, all three Berlinettas were prepared for the Carrera Panamericana. Racing between Tuxtla and Oaxaca, the team of Stagnoli and Scotuzzi blew a wheel at high speed killing both team members and permanently destroying the car. The remaining two cars finished 4th and 6th behind the very capable Lancia D24s.
Our feature car is chassis 0320AM and was one of three similar cars used for the 1953 by team Ferrari. Only two of these cars survived and RM Auctions sold 0320AM for €9,856,000 at their 2013 Ville d’Erba sale. The price reflects its history as raced by World Champions Hawthorn, Ascari, and Farina. It also benefited from a 2010 restoration that converted it back to its 1953 Le Mans livery and front nose.
One of three works 375 MM competition cars entered at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans. Integral part of Ferrari’s 1953 Manufacturer’s Championship. Well-known racing history, including participation at the 24 Hour of Spa, the Carrera Panamericana, and winning the 12 Hours of Pescara. Only works race car to have been driven in the World Sports Car Championship by three World Champions: Hawthorn, Ascari, and Farina. Presented and awarded at numerous concours d’elegance, including Pebble Beach, the Louis Vuitton Classic, and the Goodwood Revival.