High bid of €2,900,000 at 2012 RM Auctions at Monaco. (did not sell)
Chassis #: 0362 AM / 0374 AM
Ferrari had found a contender when it had developed its 340. Using its 4.1-liter engine, the 340 would make Ferrari very competitive in the sportscar market and in sportscar races. However, Aurelio Lampredi wouldn't sit idle and wouldn't settle for competitive. He wanted a car that could take Ferrari to a whole new level. This would give rise to the 375MM.
Lampredi's work with Ferrari's Formula One program had led him to produce a 4.5-liter V12 engine that was capable of producing 340 bhp. This engine would be used to great effect during the 1951 Formula One World Championship and would see Scuderia Ferrari well and truly take over as the dominant team in Formula One despite Juan Manuel Fangio winning the World Championship in an Alfa Romeo 158.
The engine would make up a lot of the difference. But there was a problem. The withdrawal of Alfa Romeo from the World Championship would leave Ferrari as the only competitive team in the series. This was not good for the series as they needed better competition and lower costs. Therefore, it would be decided the World Championship would be conducted according to Formula 2 regulations for the next couple of years. That meant Ferrari would have a number of 4.5-liter V12 engines lying around with no cars in which to put them.
Ferrari's designers and engineers set about to come up with a solution and sportscar racing would provide it. Pinin Farina would design new coachwork for the evolved 340 chassis and into the chassis would go the 4.5-liter V12 engine. The result would be something absolutely beautiful.
One of those beautiful 375MM Spiders would be offered at this year's RM Auctions held in Monaco on the 11th and 12th of May. Chassis 0362AM/0374AM would be one of about 15 Argentinean privateers that would enter the 1954 1000km of Buenos Aires on the 24th of January. Driven by a 33 year old Jose Maria Ibanez, the 375MM spider would join many other factory teams, like Jaguar, Maserati, Porsche, Cunningham, Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin taking part in the long distance endurance event that would utilize a nearby highway, as well as, the Autodromo 17 de Octubre circuit to form a 5.88 mile circuit.
Paired with Ignacio Janices, Ibanez would take part in the first round of the World Sports Car Championship on a warm dry day. Early on in the race Ibanez would be impressive battling with other famous names like Giuseppe Farina and Umberto Maglioli. Unfortunately, after 11 laps, Janices would flip the car and the pair would immediately be out of the race.
Originally given the chassis number 0362AM, the number would be switched quickly right before shipment to Argentina. Despite having its numbers quickly changed, the 375MM's orginal owner, Enrique Diaz Saenz Valiente would still get an incredible performer with a top speed of around 180 mph. And in spite of needing to undergo extensive repair after being flipped, the car would go on to win more than a half dozen races in the Argentine Sports Car Championship in the hands of Diaz Saenz Valiente.
The season would be an incredible one for the 375MM, but it would not be without its share of struggles as it would prove so fast that the birds wouldn't get out of the way fast enough and the car would come away with a number of dents all over the bodywork, but still the car carried on to finish races.
After racing the car one more time in the spring the following year Saenz Valiente would sell the car. It would eventually end up in the hands of Cesar Rivero and Raul Najurieta who would end up competing in a race in Buenos Aires against Diaz Seanz in his new 375 Plus. Najurieta would end up finishing in 2nd place in the race. The pair would then race against Saenz Valiente again in the 1955 1000km of Buenos Aires and would again finish in 2nd place. Throughout the rest of the season Najurieta and Saenz Valiente would battle it out race after race. Incredibly, 0374AM would go on to achieve its second-straight Argentine Sports Car Championship.
0374 would continue its racing career throughout 1956 and 1957. Unfortunately, its final race in 1957 would see it come away with damage from a crash. After being rebuilt, the engine would be removed and an American V8 would be placed inside. For more than a quarter century the car would disappear from known history.
In 1983, Count Vittorio Zanon di Valgiurata would come to own the car after it had been found in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was shipped to Italy and was immediately sent in for restoration. The restoration work would carry from 1984 through 1986. During that period of time Zanon, the then-president of the Italian A.S.I, would find and purchase a period correct 375MM engine. Its number would be 0376. Ferrari historian Richard Merritt of Bethesda, Maryland would be the one with the engine.
United with its more familiar powerplant, the car would be entered in the 1987 Mille Miglia Storica. The following year, Giorgio Perfetti would come to own the car and would actually enter it in the Mille Miglia.
Over the next decade the car would change hands a number of times. Its owners would include Yoshiyuki Hayashi in Tokyo, Yoshiho Matsuda and Ferrari collector Chris Cox. Cox would race the car a number of times throughout 1998 and 1999. It would be seen at such venues as the Monterey Historic Races and the Cavallino Classic. Yet another famed Ferrari collector, John McCaw would become its new owner and would have it overhauled and maintained by DK Engineering, noted Ferrari specialists.
McCaw would have the Ferrari in his possession until 2006 when it would be purchased by the car's current owner, another Ferrari enthusiast. Upon purchasing the car, its owner has competed in four Colorado Grand events finishing all four of them.
Filled with an extensive and noteworthy racing legacy, and still maintaining its spine-tingling acceleration and performance, this elegant Ferrari 375MM Spider, finished in red and black centerline is certainly a raucous beauty. Complete with its 340 hp V12 engine, three Weber carburetors and four-speed manual transmission, it is little wonder why the car was a two-time national champion in Argentina's Sports Car Championship and why it successfully took place in two Mille Miglia Storicas, four Monterey Historics and four Colorado Grands. Even in its advanced age, the car is still a performer at heart and still has that nervousness that every successful thoroughbred possesses. The 375MM had to be, quite simply, Ferrari's best sports car from the early 1950s.
To be offered for auction on the 12th of May, Ferrari 375MM Spider, chassis number 0362AM/0374AM, would be estimated at drawing between 3,300,000 and 4,100,000 EUR. Sources:
'Lot No. 338: 1953 Ferrari 375MM Spider by Pinin Farina', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MC12&CarID=r394&fc=0). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MC12&CarID=r394&fc=0. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
'1953 Ferrari 375MM News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9475/Ferrari-375-MM.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9475/Ferrari-375-MM.aspx. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
'1954 Buenos Aires 1000km', (http://www.teamdan.com/archive/wsc/1954/54ba.html). Teamdan.com. http://www.teamdan.com/archive/wsc/1954/54ba.html. Retrieved 7 May 2012.By Jeremy McMullen