1955 Ferrari 375 America Berlinetta Modificato

Shadlun’s shop was a perverted museum of the most beautiful automobiles, all of them crippled by wreckage, fire or simple neglect

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In the early 1950s Enzo Ferrari began to manufacture road-going Grand Tourismo cars. The 250 Europa and 375 America series are generally considered to be Ferrari’s first production models, although only 18 of the former and twelve of the latter were built. In period, the Europa and America were considered to be the world’s ultimate GTs, and were ordered by such luminaries as Roberto Rossellini, Tony Parravano, Ingrid Bergman, and the former King of Belgium, Count Somsky.
The 250 Europa, with its 3-liter V12, was designed for travel on continental roads, while the 375 America’s 300-hp, 4.5-liter, Lampredi V12 was ideal for rapid transport on America’s new interstates. The two models differed only in their engine size, with chassis, gearbox, suspension and bodies essentially identical.
The 1955 America Berlinetta Modificato on offer here was purchased by Dr. Guida Balestra on Nov. 13, 1954. S/N 0315AL was delivered in 3-liter form; however, Dr. Balestra decided he would rather have a 4.5-liter model, so contacted the factory to perform a swap, which was completed in 1955 according to Ferrari factory correspondence.
The current owner of 0315AL commissioned a second engine swap prior to the 1995 California Mille. As he also owned a 375 MM Spyder with an incorrect 330 engine, he noted that a 375 engine would enhance the value of his Spyder more than it would hurt the provenance of this 375 America coupe. Therefore, 0315AL received the 330 engine and an overdrive gearbox, a swap that made good sense, as the owner intended to make 0315AL an event car. The 330 engine makes the same 300 hp as the 375, but is lighter and much less expensive to service.
After the swap, the car was stripped to bare metal, fitted with a Rossellini 375 MM-inspired hood scoop, a recessed external gasoline filler, and painted in traditional Rosso Corsa. Competition seats and a bolt-in roll bar completed its conversion to a club racer.
Since that time, the Ferrari has clocked approximately 5,000 miles in rallies, club track days and touring, including the 1996 Copperstate 1000 Rally and the 1997 Colorado Grand. Considering its practicality, condition, and state of preparation, this gorgeous and fast Ferrari GT stands as a desirable event car for club and rally venues.

Steve Ahlgrim

Steve Ahlgrim - SCM Contributing Editor

Steve taught high school auto shop before moving to Atlanta, GA, where his love of sports cars led him to FAF Motorcars, the former Ferrari dealer where he served as General Manager and Vice President. He has been a self-proclaimed “one-trick pony,” coveting the Ferrari marque. He has been involved in concours judging for over 25 years and is a member of the IAC/PFA, an international committee overseeing high-level Ferrari concours judging. He is chief judge of the Celebration Exotic Car Show in Celebration, FL.

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