Ferrari 375 Plus - 1954 Carrera Panamericana Winner - Maglioni
- Scale guide
One of the most important cars in Ferrari’s illustrious history, the Ferrari 375 Plus was built to extend the success of the 375 MM that powered Ferrari to success in the inaugural FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1953. Facing the threat of being unable to match the sophisticated new 8-cylinder Formula 1 designs from Mercedes-Benz and Lancia, nor even the 6-cylinder 250Fs from Maserati, Enzo Ferrari instead focused his attention upon perfecting a line of large capacity sportscars. The result would become known by the French racing community as 'Le Monstre' and by the British as 'The Fearsome Four-Nine'. The 375 Plus competed and was victorious at the most prestigious international races, earning Ferrari its first works victory at Le Mans and cementing itself into sportscar legend in the process.
Using the 375 MM as a starting point, and the 375 Formula 1 car as inspiration, Aurelio Lampredi developed a truly powerful 4.9 litre V12 engine, rated at nearly 350 horsepower. The engine came with a single spark plug per cylinder configuration with twin magnets and was fed by three Weber-46 DCF/3 carburettors. As a result, the 375 Plus was able to fire up to speeds of around 174mph (280km/h), an incredible feat for a car produced in the 1950s.
Pinin Farina and Carrozzeria Vignale fashioned the aluminium body, which featured flush fenders and a pronounced trunk bulge to accommodate the car’s spare tire and long-distance 190 litre (47.6 gallon) fuel tank. The 375 Plus’s new, strengthened chassis was made from steel tubes and, though it retained the same front suspension as its predecessors, the rear suspension came with a new de Dion axle, twin radius arms with transverse leaf springs and Houdaille shock absorbers. The 375 Plus’s new setup offered improved stability, balance and road handling at higher speeds.
The Ferrari 375 Plus took a stunning win in its debut race at Agadir, Morocco, in the hands of Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina in February 1954. Though the same driver and car would retire from the following week’s Dakar GP, they set a record fastest lap before doing so. In April, Umberto Maglioli and Nino Cassani ran a single 375 Plus in the Giro di Sicilia and, after just four hours of racing, held a three-and-a-half-minute lead, before the usually reliable Maglioli overturned the car, ending any hopes of victory. Ferrari entered four cars into the Mille Miglia in May, though sadly no car reached the chequered flag. Maglioli came the closest to victory as he chased down the leading Lancia of Alberto Ascari, before a single split pin fell out, causing the gearbox to stop functioning. This disappointment would only fuel Ferrari as, two weeks later, José Froilán González earned a dominant triumph in the Formula 1-supporting sports car race at Silverstone, leading virtually from start to finish and sensationally lapping the last-placed of the 27 starters three times. The 1954 Le Mans 24-Hour race followed. González, now partnered with Maurice Trintignant, emerged victorious in a heavily weather-affected race. It was a thriller duel with the Jaguar D-Type of Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt right to the end, producing the closest finish at Circuit de la Sarthe since 1933: less than 5km (just half a lap). Ultimately, it was Ferrari who would win sports car racing’s most prestigious prize for the second time. The fearsome 'Four-Nines' would not be run again by the Ferrari factory, but a series of entries came from Mexico and the United States for the five-day Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. Maglioli took a dominating victory, 25 minutes ahead of a 375 MM and nearly two hours ahead of a Porsche in third position, ensuring maximum points in the World Sportscar Championship for the Italian marque.
Just five examples were constructed by Ferrari, chassis numbers 0384, 0386, 0392, 0396 and 0398 all with the AM (America) suffix, making the 375 Plus far less common than the revered Ferrari 250 GTO. In June of 2014, 0384 AM sold at a Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed auction for £10,753,450 (then $18.3 million), though this particular example had a contested ownership history and was eventually sold in a private settlement after a two year legal case.
This fine 1:8 scale model of the Ferrari 375 Plus is as raced to victory by Umberto Maglioli in the Carrera Panamericana from the 19th to the 23rd of November 1954. It was the fifth and final running of the legendary Mexican sportscar race, as well as the concluding race of the 1954 World Sportscar Championship. Ferrari had already sealed the Championship title, but victory in Mexico would see them earn maximum points for the season.
Ferrari's American agent Luigi Chinetti arranged indirect sponsorship on the basis of finding private customers to buy 'the works entries'. Enzo Ferrari agreed, providing Umberto Maglioli would drive one of the 375 Plus cars, chassis 0392 AM. Chinetti had arranged to sell the car to American owner/driver Erwin Goldschmidt, and so Maglioli raced in Goldschmidt’s entry. 0392 was no stranger to the racetrack, having already competed in the Mille Miglia and at Le Mans, though it was yet to see the chequered flag.
The race was a brutal affair that incorporated no fewer than eight stages and 1,910 racing miles (3,070 kilometres) in total, stretching from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. 150 cars started the race but only 85 finished all eight stages. Maglioli completed the race in 17 hours, 40 minutes, and 26 seconds, averaging 107.93mph (173.69km/h). He ended 24 minutes ahead of his closest competitors, Phil Hill and Richie Ginther in a Ferrari 375 MM, and 111 minutes ahead of the Porsche 550 Spyder of Hans Herrman that took third position. To put this into perspective, the winner of the augural race in 1950 took ten hours longer to finish than Maglioli. Such was the performance of his car, the light aircraft carrying the Press corps covering the Carrera was unable to keep up with Maglioli, who often attained speeds of 180mph and more. This phenomenal performance vividly emphasised just how well Ferrari had perfected the 375 Plus by the end of the 1954 season.
This model has been handcrafted and finished in our workshops with the co-operation and assistance of Ferrari regarding original finishes, materials, archive imagery and drawings. The use of supremely accurate digital scanning of the original car has allowed us to perfectly recreate every detail at scale. Furthermore, it has undergone detailed scrutiny by both engineering and design teams to ensure complete accuracy of representation.
The Ferrari 375 Plus as raced at the 1954 Carrera Panamericana is limited to 199 pieces at 1:8 scale.
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