Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta

For about a year in 1954-55, the Ferrari 375 MM was the .44 Magnum of sports-car racing. It was deafeningly loud and had a kick like a mule. Its Formula 1 V-12 engine could blow through the opposition, driven by the likes of Jack McAfee, Jim Kimberley, Ken Miles, Masten Gregory and Carroll Shelby. Conservatively estimated at 340 horsepower and with a 180 mph top speed, a 375 demanded the highest level of driving skill – especially coming out of the corners. It remains an unforgettable experience for drivers and spectators alike.

Meanwhile, away from all the engine noise, tyre smoke and adrenaline-fuelled excitement, cooler heads in Italian design studios were defining the aggressive essence of Ferrari style – the family look that would mark the GT Berlinettas and Spyders of the future. Most of these elements appeared in the 340 and 375 Barchettas and Berlinettas, and this car, 0490 AM, is significant in that it is the very last 375 MM to be built by Pinin Farina in 1955. From here on, there would be 250 GT Ellenas and Tour de Frances, 410 Superamericas, 250 Testa Rossas and California Spyders.

In all, there were only ten 375 MM Berlinetta coupés built and 14 Barchetta spyders. They’re all slightly different (0366 AM was re-bodied by Scaglietti after an accident), but 0490 AM is the end of the line. It’s also the last even-numbered car built by Pinin Farina.

Future Ferrari styling cues that bowed on 0490 AM include front fender vents (which would be widely copied) and a lower grille with a flatter top, which projected in the style of the upcoming 1958 250 Testa Rossa and evolved into the 1965 275 GTB. 0490 AM also features rear window louvers, which would appear in the 250 GT TdF model, and headlights without bezels, which were continued on other models. One feature 0490 AM does not share with its siblings is the exaggerated rear-fender treatment.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2011 at the Spazio Villa Erba, Cernobbio, Como.

340 hp, 4,522 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 42 mm DCZ/3 carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension by double wishbone and coil springs, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4")

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay

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