Ferrari 375 America Coupe
In the early 1950s, Enzo Ferrari (almost reluctantly, some suspect) began to manufacture road-going Gran Turismo cars, often at the request of his wealthiest racing-car customers. Everything except the coachwork was built in-house, while such famed coachbuilders as Ghia, Touring, Vignale and Pinin Farina provided an array of hand-built bodywork.
Following the 340 and 342 America models of 1950 to 1953, the 375 America continued to cater to Ferrari’s elite road-car buyers who desired a large-displacement, high-horsepower road car with bespoke styling and a luxurious and quiet passenger cabin. The ladder-type, tubular steel 375 America frame, with its 110.2-inch wheelbase length, was virtually identical to that of the contemporary 250 Europa. Ferrari’s then-typical underpinnings included front and rear leaf-spring suspension, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes and Borrani wire-spoke wheels.
However, the big difference from the 250 Europa was under the hood, with the 375 America powered by an Aurelio Lampredi-designed 4,523 cc “long block” V-12, the largest engine offered by Ferrari at the time. Power output reached a heady 300 bhp at 6,500 rpm, courtesy of relatively high compression ratios ranging between 8.0:1 and 8.5:1, plus a trio of twin-choke Weber carburetors. A four-speed manual gearbox offered synchromesh on all forward gears, still more evidence of the 375 America’s drivability and refinement.
Capable of accelerating from rest to 60 mph in under seven seconds and a top speed approaching 160 mph, the 375 America provided near racecar performance while coddling its occupants in a rich, leather-trimmed interior environment for high-speed, high-style cross-country travel. Predictably, the 375 America was considered one of the world’s ultimate grand touring automobiles in period, and owners included such industrial entrepreneurs as Howard Keck and Giovanni Agnelli, as well as Franco Cornacchia, the Ferrari dealer, Scuderia Guastala principal and racing driver with 60 starts in the 1949-1956 period. While the 375 America was not originally intended for competition, one (0317 AL) finished second overall in the 1954 Geneva Rally with the Belgian driving team of its owner, Alois De Mencik Zebinsky and Jacques Swaters of Ecurie Francorchamps fame.
Today, the 375 America continues to intoxicate Ferrari enthusiasts and collectors as one of the storied marque’s first road-going models. Then, as now, exclusivity is assured with Ferrari experts placing total production at just 12 units. Completely hand-built, bespoke creations, no two 375 Americas are entirely alike, and their production was a lengthy process. The majority of 375 Americas wore Pinin Farina bodies, with just two cloaked in distinctive and muscular coupe bodywork by Vignale.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
300 bhp, 4,523 cc V-12 engine, triple Weber 40DCZ3 dual-choke carburetors, four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox, oval-section tubular steel ladder-type chassis, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 110.2"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel