1953 Ferrari 375 MMSOLD

RM Auction: Ferrari - Legenda e Passione - Sunday, May 20, 2007

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Estimate: 2,800,000€-3,200,000€

4,235,000 € Sold

Specifications: 340 bhp 4,494 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine with three four-barrel Weber 40/IF/4C carburetors, single plug ignition with dual Marelli magnetos, four-speed manual transmission, ZF limited-slip rear axle, independent front suspension with wishbones and a transverse leaf spring, longitudinal leaf spring and solid axle rear suspension, four Houdaille lever action shocks, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,500mm (98.4")

Ferrari has been called a racing company with a production department, and nowhere is that emphasis more evident than in the case of the company ’ s production sports cars of the early 1950s. Not only was Enzo Ferrari passionately dedicated to pursuing victories on the world ’ s Grand Prix circuits, but his sports cars – which were supposed to fund the operation – quickly became dominant racers in their own right.

Of course, there was method to the madness. Sports cars earned both starting and prize money for the Scuderia, but their success on the track meant that they could then be cleaned up and sold to a waiting list of gentleman racers and any number of serious sports car racing teams.

The 340/375 MM

The heart of the 340 MM and 375 MM cars was their engines. Designed by Aurelio Lampredi, a superbly talented engineer, they were intended to provide a large displacement alternative to the original Colombo-designed V-12. Although the initial intent was to provide an entry for the naturally-aspirated 4.5-litre Grand Prix class, the engine ’ s broad power band and rock solid reliability made it an ideal weapon for sports car racing in a variety of displacement configurations.

The 375 MM ’ s Lampredi engine was an all aluminum expression of the art of the foundry. Designed for durability, it featured seven main bearings, single overhead camshafts with roller followers and hairpin valve springs and dual magneto ignition. It breathed through a trio of beautiful four-choke Weber 40IF4/C downdraft carburetors – one venturi per cylinder. The four-speed fully synchronized gearbox was mounted to the engine, driven by a multi-plate clutch. Everything was built for strength and reliability.

The 340/375 MM ’ s chassis was conventional Ferrari, based on two parallel oval tubes in a welded ladder structure. Front suspension was independent by parallel unequal length A-arms with a transverse leaf spring, sway bar and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers. The usual Ferrari solid rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, Houdaille shocks and parallel trailing arms (for location and taking braking and acceleration loads) was both well proven and reliable.

The cars were brutally powerful, and soon proved their worth on long, high-speed tracks where their torque and power gave them tremendous speed, but where their weight and period brakes didn ’ t handicap the cars against smaller and more nimble competition. On the track, these Ferraris were not for the faint of heart.

Challenging to drive, they also responded well to a skilled pilot. The chassis ’ tendency to understeer could be counteracted by the limitless oversteer available under the driver ’ s right foot.

0322 AM – Victory, Endurance, and Survival

According to factory records, 0322 AM was completed in June of 1953 as a 340 MM and sent immediately to France as a factory entry for the 21st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13th. Driven by the Marzotto brothers, Paolo and Giannino, 0322 AM finished fifth overall – the highest place finish for a Ferrari that year.

Next, 0322 AM was off to the Rheims 12 Hour race, driven by Umberto Maglioli and Piero Carini. Unfortunately, the car was disqualified while leading for running without lights while it was still too dark.

Following the race, the car was returned to the factory where it was upgraded to 375 MM specifications. An increase in stroke raised displacement to 4.5 litres from 4.1 litres. At the same time, a number of body modifications were carried out to improve cooling and aerodynamics. A lower grille was fitted, and the headlights were lowered and moved back, covered with Perspex lenses. The large rear window opening was filled in and a much smaller rear window fitted in order to keep the car cooler and reduce glare during night driving. Fresh air intakes were added to the rockers, and the brake cooling ducts and wheel clearance blisters were revised.

By July 25th, all the modifications had been completed, and 0322 AM – now a full 375 MM - entered the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, driven by Nino Farina and Mike Hawthorn, who took the checkered flag for first overall. Barely two weeks later, 0322 AM won again, this time at the Circuit of Senigallia, with Paolo Marzotto driving. Just one week later, the car was the factory entry at the Pescara 12 hour race, where it was a dnf, driven by Marzotto and Luigi Villoresi. On August 30th, it was entered in the 1000 km race at the Nürburgring, but failed to start.

On October 7th, a certificate of origin was issued, and on the 9th the car was officially delivered to Tullio Pacini, the Ferrari dealer in Rome. By November 19th, 0322 AM was in the hands of Franco Cornacchia ’ s Scuderia Guastalla in Milan.

The Scuderia immediately shipped the car to Mexico for the November 19th running of the Carrera Panamericana, with Guido Mancini and Fabrizio Serena, who brought the Ferrari home in fourth overall – a remarkable achievement.

The following year the Ferrari was bought by Marty Christensen of Racine, Wisconsin, who put Dick Irish behind the wheel. Together they raced a number of events, including Watkins Glen on September 18th, 1954, where Irish brought 0322 AM home in fourth overall. On November 6th, they raced at Riverside in California, finishing seventh overall.

In 1955, Christensen tried unsuccessfully to find a buyer – for a two-year-old Ferrari! Finally, in 1956, he donated the car to the University of Wisconsin engineering department. Apparently they couldn ’ t figure out what to do with it either, and in 1958 they sold it to John Norsym of Chicago, Illinois.

Norsym didn ’ t own 0322 AM for long before advertising it for sale in the January 1959 issue of Road & Track, which is presumably when it sold to George Bell of Chicago, who drove the car to California. Sometime around 1965, Bell sold the Ferrari to Roy Behrens, of Long Beach CA, where it was registered on California plates numbered KIS 684.

In August 1968 0322 AM was again offered for sale in Road & Track, restored, for $6,500. In 1972 the car was owned by Kirk White Motorcars, who sold it to Dudley Cunningham of Concord, Massachusetts. Cunningham kept the car for two years before selling it to Ernest D. Beutler of Detroit, Michigan in 1974.

Beutler kept the Ferrari until 1984 when he sold it to Swiss collector Albert Obrist, who commissioned Fantuzzi to conduct its first comprehensive restoration. The car remained with the Obrist Collection until it was acquired by Formula 1 organizer Bernie Ecclestone in 1995.

In March of 1998, Ecclestone sold the car to Seattle collector John McCaw, who kept it for just a few months before selling it to well-known Ferrari collector Jon Shirley of Medina, WA. Shirley used the car in several events, including the Colorado Grand, the Mille Miglia, and the California Mille.

In 2003/2004 Jon Shirley commissioned noted Ferrari specialist Butch Dennison to conduct an exhaustive professional restoration, returning the car to its 1953 Carrera Panamericana configuration and livery. An extensive file of restoration invoices totaling more than $325,000 accompanies the car – along with an extensive photo archive and dossier of historical information – and its FIVA passport.

The quality of the restoration is attested to by its first in class award at Pebble Beach. Its accuracy is proven by its Ferrari Club of America Platinum award – the highest accolade possible in Ferrari concours judging. Furthermore, its winning pedigree has continued with the award of the Chairman ’ s award at the 2007 AmeliaIsland Concours d ’ Elegance – presented by none other than the legendary Derek Bell.

More importantly, the car ’ s heritage as a Ferrari competition car – lies in its performance, not its beauty. 0322 ’ s Coppa Bella Macchina award demonstrates its ultimate performance as a street car – a stringent driving evaluation that ensures, among other things, that everything works as the factory intended.

Most important of all, however, is the Coppa GT award earned by Jon Shirley, for demonstrating 0322 AM at speed on the track at Laguna Seca. After all, what good is a race car if you can ’ t exercise it on the track?


In an article published in Cavallino #146, Alan Boe writes “ 0322 was the highest placed Ferrari in every race it completed in 1953, and it accounted for 13 of the 30 gross points Ferrari collected towards the Constructor ’ s Championship that year. ”

In fact, the three points awarded for Mancini and Serena ’ s finish in the Carrera Panamericana turned out to be the final points needed to secure the Constructor ’ s Championship for 1953.

Three were built, but only two remain. Only 0322 AM won two races, competing at the world ’ s great venues. It is a factory team car, a sponsored entry in the Carrera Panamericana, and a successful entrant in American sports car racing. Many of the most talented drivers took the wheel of 0322 AM in its short five month career as a Scuderia Ferrari team car: Paolo and Giannino Marzotto, Umberto Maglioli, Piero Carini, Luigi Villoresi, Nino Farina, and Mike Hawthorn among them.

Today, 0322 AM has it all - rarity, beauty, and power. More than that, it has an unblemished provenance – and an undeniable record defending the honor of the Scuderia in many of the most grueling events in the history of motor racing.

Reference Number 8569

as of 4/15/2007

Car 1953 Ferrari 375 MM
VIN 0322AM 
Exterior / Interior Color      Red /      Tan 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Exterior: Wire wheels
Interior: Leather interior, Wooden steering wheel 
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