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375 Plus Pinin Farina Cabriolet
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  Article Image gallery (16) 0488AM Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1955
Numbers built:8 (All versions)
Designed by:Pinin Farina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 31, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhen 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.

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  Article Image gallery (16) 0488AM Specifications