1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM

340/375MM coupes are hot, claustrophobic, cacophonous, and demanding to drive. The spyders are simply demanding

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Ferrari has been called a racing company with a production department, and nowhere is that emphasis more evident than in the production sports cars of the early 1950s. Not only was Enzo Ferrari passionately dedicated to victory 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.

The heart of the 340 MM and 375 MM cars were their engines. Designed by Aurelio Lampredi, they were intended to provide a large-displacement alternative to the original Colombo-designed V12. The engine’s broad power band and rock-solid reliability made it an ideal weapon for sports car racing. The 340/375MM’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. The usual Ferrari solid rear axle with semi-elliptic springs and parallel trailing arms was both well proven and reliable.

The Ferrari 340/375 MMs 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.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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