THE 1953 SILVERSTONE DAILY EXPRESS TROPHY WINNER
1953 SCUDERIA FERRARI 340/375 MILLE MIGLIA SPYDER
COACHWORK BY SCAGLIETTI
Chassis No. 0294 AM
Engine No. 0294 AM
Red with black interior
Engine: V-12, 4.4cc, 360bhp at 6,600rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front, independent double wishbones with transverse leaf spring, rear, rigid axle with semi-elliptic parallel leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel finned alloy drums. Right hand drive.
To this day, few vehicles entice more excitement and passion than that of Ferrari's mid-50's, big engined Sports Racers. Developed during a period of triumph and passion, they personify every aspect of Ferrari's road racing legend. While development of Columbo's original small block V12 continued in a variety of various displacements, significant horsepower gains stagnated in early 1952. In 1953 the adaptation of the all new Lampredi 4.1 and later 4.5 liter Grand Prix derived "big block" engines took Ferrari in a completely new direction. As every American "hot rodder" knows, there is no substitute for cubic inches!
Not simply a further development of the early 166 and 250 MM, the new 340 MM shared only it's earlier sibling's namesake. The engine design itself had already been proven successful in Grand Prix competition over the previous three years. At the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in June of 1950, a 3.3 liter Lampredi was fitted to an existing 125F1 chassis. Quick development and rapid success saw a bore and stroke increase resulting in a total displacement of 4.1 liters with a final bore increase of 4mm bringing total displacement up to 4.5 liters. In 1952, the final year of the "1.5 liter supercharged 4.5 liter naturally aspirated" Grand Prix Formula, Ferrari monopostos dominated nearly every race entered. Although sufficiently developed and a proven winner, the 1953 season saw a completely new application of the Lampredi "big blocks". By combining the 4.1 and later 4.5 liter engines to an all new "Sports Racing" chassis, Ferrari moved in a completely new direction for the first time since the inception of his company just eight years earlier.
Introduced in 1953, the 340 Mille Miglia coincided with the inauguration of the World Sports Car Championship, a series for which it was both tailor made and will forever be remembered. Consisting of seven events, the new 340 MM would participate in each round, garnishing victory after victory in an unparalleled fashion. The first round of this newly instituted "Constructors Championship" took place on April 12th, 1953 at the Tour of Sicily. A brand new 340 MM entered for Luigi "Gigi" Villoresi simply dominated the race, gaining both valuable points toward the series and credibility for Ferrari's newest design. Less than a week later, the Mille Miglia made up round two of the series and it was here that our subject vehicle, Chassis 0294 AM, made its debut. One of the few Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team 340 MMs completed, it would be piloted in its debut race by Villoresi, who would have Piero Cassani on board to assist with navigating duties. The Scuderia Ferrari fielded another 340 MM for Farina and Parenti with two privately entered 340 MMs being driven by Marzotto/Crozara and Cole/Vandell. At race end, the design had once again proven itself with first place honors going to Marzotto and his co-driver Crozara.
On May 9th, 1953, Mike Hawthorn was entrusted with our subject vehicle at the BRDC International Daily Express Trophy Race being held in Silverstone, England. His first attempt behind the wheel netted a well earned first place overall finish, further honoring the new 340 MMs with three first place finishes in as many tries! For the remainder of the year, the new 340 MMs continued to win races and earn points in the new series. At Le Mans and Nurburgring several of the cars were fitted with new 4.5 liter engines foreshadowing the coming season's 375 MMs.
Shortly after the success at both the Tour of Sicily and Silverstone, customer demand for the new 340 MM quickly outstripped the limited supply. With favored clients queuing up for these new powerful machines, Ferrari had little difficulty in finding eager buyers for each car completed. 0294 AM was returned to the Ferrari Factory after the Silverstone race and given a thorough sorting and refit. On June 3rd, 1953 a certificate of origin was issued by Ferrari for 0294 AM and just three days later, the Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team formally sold 0294 AM to its first private owner. A total of just ten 340 MMs were completed. Seven were bodied in Spyder configuration with coachwork by both Carrozzeria Touring and Vignale. Three additional Berlinettas were completed by Pininfarina. 0294 AM was one of just two 340 MM Spyders given initial coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring. Although dated in design and appearance, the five year old "Barchetta" style coachwork was used for a final time in 1953.
On July 6th, 1953 0294 AM was purchased by the famous Swiss gentleman driver, Hans Ruesch, for 8,600,000 Italian Lire and registered on Modena license plates "MO 30111". Ruesch would race 0294 AM on four separate occasions in 1953. His first race with the new car occurred at the British Empire Trophy, Isle of Man Race where he placed third overall. A photograph of Ruesch and 0294 AM at this race is pictured in the 1953 Ferrari yearbook. On July 12, he entered the car in the Vue des Alpes hillclimb where he easily placed first overall. On the 9th of August, he travelled south and entered the Circuito di Senigalia event, and shortly thereafter he entered the Supercortemaggiore Grand Prix where, unfortunately, the car was damaged.
In 1954, the car was returned to Ferrari and given that year's complement of 375 MM upgrades, including a new gearbox, rear differential and brakes. It is believed that at this time the engine was rebuilt with a total displacement of nearly 4.4 litres. A new more contemporary body by Scaglietti was then fitted to replace the now highly dated and damaged touring body, making it one of only two 340/375 MMs finished with such coachwork. After repairs and modifications were completed by Ferrari, the car was resold to Luigi Chinetti. Chinetti preserved 0294 AM in storage for over ten years before he finally agreed to sell to the well known race car collector, Dieter Holterbosch of New York City, in July of 1966. The 340/375 remained part of the famous Holterbosch collection, and he raced and exhibited the car on many occasions over the next thirty years at various East Coast events, and in 1986 and 1987 he raced it in the Mille Miglia Storica.
Most recently the 0294 AM was accepted in this year's Mille Miglia and raced at the 1997 Sears Point Wine Country Classics, where it performed faultlessly. Remarkably it finished in front of some later, better handling 250 Testa Rossas. 0294 AM remains as powerful and exciting as she was when completed nearly 45 years ago. Eligible for many historic races and equally at home on the road, this 340/375 MM is suitable for a host of touring events including the Tour de France, Mille Miglia, Colorado Grand, La Carrera Panamericana, and the Copperstate 1000. With just two private owners from new, and a fresh cosmetic and mechanical restoration, recent mechanical work and a thoroughly documented history, 0294 AM represents an extremely rare opportunity to the discerning enthusiast and collector.
Very few Lampredi engined, Ex-Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team sports racing cars were completed. Many that were suffered the fate that often befalls old race cars. The ravages of nearly five decades have left few examples of these magnificent machines to bear witness to this lost era. The pedigree and provenance of this 340/375 speaks for itself and for a time far behind us but certainly not forgotten. itself and for a time far behind us but certainly not forgotten.