Model history: When Enzo Ferrari started his own company in 1947, he hired Gioacchino Colombo as chief engineer. The two had previously worked together when Ferrari was team manager at Alfa Romeo. Colombo's task was to design a new engine that would outperform the 8-cylinder Grand Prix engine he had designed for Alfa Romeo before the War. The rules allowed for a supercharged engine with a maximum displacement of 1.5 litres or a Naturally Aspirated unit displacing up to 4.5 litres. Colombo's vast experience with supercharging made his choice for the former understandable.
Colombo's 1.5 litre V12 engine powered the very first Ferrari and with various displacements, it powered every Ferrari up to 1950. This was the first year of Formula One and the championship winner featured a Colombo designed engine. Unfortunately for him, it was the Alfa Romeo that won every single race of the championship; Colombo was quickly fired after this debacle. His replacement, Aurelio Lampredi, set out to design a completely new engine for 1951. Not making the same mistake as Colombo, Lampredi chose to design a Naturally Aspirated 4.5 litre V12 engine.
To save weight, both the cylinder block and heads were cast from light alloy. Each bank of cylinders featured a single overhead camshaft, operating 2 valves per cylinder. The engine was thoroughly tested in 1950 and ready to take on the Alfa Romeos in 1951. Fitted in the Ferrari 375 F1, the V12 produced around 350 bhp. Although this was no match for the Alfa Romeo's power, the 375's fuel efficiency still made it a serious contender, only losing the championship in the final race of the season.
Ferrari's performance and Alfa Romeo's policy changes were the main reasons for the Milanese firm's withdrawal from Grand Prix racing. With Ferrari being the only team with a competitive F1 racer, the sport's governing body decided to run the 1952 and 1953 championship under Formula Two regulations. This left the Lampredi engine obsolete for Grand Prix racing, but its career was far from over. The large V12 found its way into a limited series of Ferrari sports racers, the 375 MMs constructed in 1953 and 1954.
The first cars constructed were equipped with engine Tipo 102 of the exact configuration as the Grand Prix engine. For reliability reasons, most cars featured engine Tipo 108 with a slightly different bore/stroke and displacement. Some of the large amount of torque available was sacrificed by the bigger bore, but the higher revving engine yielded a similar amount of horsepower. Pinin Farina supplied most of the bodies for the 26 375 MMs. Most common were the featured Spyder and Berlinetta bodies. The other five 375 MMs constructed were fitted with custom coachwork for some of Ferrari's wealthiest customers.
The finest hour of the Lampredi V12 would come at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans race, where a 375 Plus with a 4.9 litre version of the engine took the overall victory. In the next years the Lampredi engine was only used sparsely, predominantly to power the most exclusive of Ferrari road cars. Ironically the long block V12's career was ultimately overshadowed by the successes of the Colombo engine, Lampredi had originally been tasked to replace.
Featured is the first of seven 375 MM chassis equipped with a Pinin Farina styled and constructed coupe or 'Berlinetta' body. After being actively campaigned early in its life, it was not seen in public for many decades. After it resurfaced in the 1980s, it was bought by its current owner who regularly takes the car in a variety of events. It is seen here in the Le Mans Legend support event for the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans.
340 hp for a 4.5 liters engine in 1953. That's Ferrari.
Like a touch of heaven !!!
caddi husla 16-7-2002
I just love the old ferraris they are beautiful the design is great,the engine could of been bigger but it's enough... the interior is hot (i saw a picture of it in some other place)and the color red is just perfect for this car !!!