Nowadays, immediately you associate motorsport and Ferrari, your thoughts skip to F1 – the one championship that allows the Scuderia to run officially. About six years ago, when Ferrari was a low-level auto-manufacturer, the tram would run in both closed bodywork and open-wheeled formulas, and the drivers split between the roles. One accomplishment story away from the glamorous world of Formula 1 is the 375 Plus that was made out of the knowledge learned by the company during the race season in 1953
The vehicle, in spite of its incredibly short life in racing, is evidently one worth of every respect. Facts and figures do uphold this position: as a Carerra Panamericana and Le Mans winner, the car cannot be considered a poor contender. Designed during the Sports Car championship era, the $18.3 Million 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus proved to be quite heavier than its direct competitors from Maserati, Jaguar, and Lancia. In more than one case, the car was out-handled by Lancia D24, which was equipped with disc brakes.
1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Exterior
Only five chassis were ever produced. They were all spyders and could easily be distinguished given their muscular appearance with its long hood highlighting a power bulge and an uproarious 12-cylinder power plant that hid beneath the chassis. In most cases, the 375 plus was driven as a single-seater vehicle in races, but for particular races, a passenger could make room next since the body panel that covered the seat on the right could be easily removed. The drivers did not enjoy the comfort of a headrest; this ensured that the car was barred from particular long races like the Mille Miglia.
The seemingly smooth profile of the car features significant bulges on the hindmost fenders that poorly attempts to conceal the fuel tank – which had to be increased slightly to match the engine’s capability. The front part of the car is dominated by the radiator grid, with the headlights placed on the furthest end of the fenders with a swooping hood mounted in between. For such races that went on into the night, a pair of extra lights was placed on the low corners of the front grille.
While the car was not a beauty queen, more so when compared to the far better-looking D-Type, the 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus is an emblematic machine that personifies the magnificence of the Formula 1 based V-12 engine.
The $18.3 Million 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus Interior
The car’s interior is as serious as a racing vehicle’s cockpit should be. The wooden rimmed and the seemingly large steering wheel is in very many ways Ferrari-ish – even to the style of its spokes. There are five dials behind it that inform the driver about the car’s fuel condition and oil pressure, with the tachometer put in the middle since speed was not relevant in a racing context. The leather bucket seats do not have seatbelts since people figured – well, in those days at least – that accident victims had more chances of surviving by being thrown off the machine than being strapped inside an out of control car. The gorgeous gear lever, which was used to switch between the five gears, is placed in close eye shot to the steering wheel just above the transmission passage.
A small study of history is necessary when studying the centerpiece of this vehicle: the engine. The V-12, which is located at the front and mounted longitudinally, borrows a lot from the initial 4.5-liter engines that had been used by Ferrari’s prototypes in the two seasons that preceded the 375 plus. The power plants, additionally, were based on the v-12 that had been used by Ferrari at the beginning of the decade. Initially, Gioacchino Colombo designed the engines before Aurelio Lampredi improved them. In reality, the engine was brought into use by a situation where Ferrari was poised to meet very strong opposition from Lancia and Mercedes. Maserati was also in the picture given its 250F and the six-cylinder power plant. Since developing a new vehicle for the F1 1954 season was not feasible, Enzo Ferrari thought it best to concentrate on sports-car racing, which was also growing in popularity. Thus, he invested significantly into creating a better engine for the 1954 race car – which was tasked with following up on the success brought by the 1953 contender.
The updates were numerous. Among them was the increased capacity of 5.0 liters which raised the vehicle’s power to about 340 horsepower. This made the engine the most powerful among sports cars at that time. Another upgrade regarded the gearbox. The four-speed transmission was upgraded into a five-speed gearbox. The rear axle, additionally, was a De Dion – a significant improvement from the previous rigid designs. The De Dion axle is located at the front end and ran smoothly through a passage in the differential casing.
Ferrari most vicious v-12 sports car, the 375 Plus, is a rare machine. The car, which only five chassis were ever built, has been traded for astronomical figures in the past ten years. Recently, a chassis – the 0384 AM – which had different body features, was sold for about 18.2 million US dollars. Consequently, the chassis 0384 is the second most costly Ferrari ever sold at an auction. Given that such models are rare, such selling prices are expected in the current market that does not recognize any financial limits. Nowadays, immediately you associate motorsport and Ferrari, your thoughts skip to F1 – the one championship that allows the Scuderia to run officially. About six years ago, when Ferrari was a low-level auto-manufacturer, the tram would run in both closed bodywork and open-wheeled formulas, and the drivers split between the roles. One accomplishment story away from the glamorous world of Formula 1 is the 375 Plus that was made out of the knowledge learned by the company during the race season in 1953