Ferrari 375 MM Spider by Pinin Farina

The World Sports Car Championship was in its infancy in 1954, yet the characters, races and cars involved have become the stuff of automotive legend and racing fantasy. The world’s most famous drivers were bravely risking life and limb and travelling round the world to secure victory at the great racetracks and road courses, from Sebring and Le Mans to the Mille Miglia in Northern Italy and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. It was in these early, formative years that the great European sports car manufacturers competed head to head, not only with professional works drivers (many with Formula 1 experience) but also with countless privateers and self-financed gentlemen drivers who were pitted against the factory entries on the starting grids, and held their own.

The ‘54 season comprised six endurance races, contested by the likes of Jaguar’s C- and D-Types, Maserati’s A6GCS, Porsche’s 550 Spyder, Cunningham’s C-4R and Aston Martin’s DB3S. The Scuderia Ferrari won three of the six races that season, beginning with the 1000 Km of Buenos Aires on 24 January. The starting grid of this race read like a who’s-who of sports car racing: “Fon” de Portago in a Ferrari 250 MM, Maurice Trintignant, Louis Rosier, Roy Salvadori and the Americans Masten Gregory, Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby in an Allard, each of whom were early in their careers and had yet to make a start in Formula 1. Joining those sports car heavyweights were about 15 local Argentinean privateers, including the polo player Carlos Menditeguy and, in the case of the Ferrari 375 MM Spider, José Maria Ibáñez, a 33-year-old with experience in racing Ferraris who enjoyed considerable success in 1953 with a Ferrari 225S Vignale Spyder as well as an Allard in a Buenos Aires event, setting fastest lap.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

340 hp, 4,522 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 40 mm 1F/4C 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: 2,640 mm (104")

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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