1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Spider Pilots: J. Gonzalez, M. Trintignant Team: Scuderia Ferrari Race: 1st overall (S) at Le Mans in 1954 Ixo - LM 1954 (diecast)
Ferrari produced the 375MM from 1953 to 1955. It was a barchetta (spider) with a 4.5 l V12 engine and a welded steel tube chassis, designed for the 1953 Mille Miglia. Despite wins in other (big) European races, the 375MM was not successful in the Italian classic. Therefore, for 1954 Ferrari needed a better car. And according to Ferrari, a better car needs a more powerful engine. So Aurelio Lampredi, Maranello’s chief engine designer used his previous V12 of the 375MM and expanded the piston chambers. As a result, the V12 of the new 375 Plus displaced 4954 cm3, with SOHC and 24 valves. The chassis was also an improvement over its predecessor, made of an elliptic section of steel tubes. That being so, without fluids the 375 Plus weighed 950 kg, and Ferrari produced eight models.
The 375 Plus didn’t have a particularly sophisticated engine, however it produced 330 hp, allowing 280 km/h. A very fast car, but it’s racing career did not start out very well, not finishing neither the Giro di Sicilia nor the Mille Miglia races. Despite the previous bad results, Ferrari enrolled three 375 Plus in the 24 Heures du Mans of 1954. The competition at La Sarthe was stiff, mainly from the new Jaguar D-Type. And after their 1953 win, Jaguar was clearly the favorite. But British favoritism notwithstanding, in the able hands of José Froilán González and Maurice Trintignant, the 375 Plus #4 came in first place overall. That was Ferrari’s second win at La Sarthe after 1949.
As I have said before, I’m not the biggest fan of the Cavallino Rampante cars. While this may be true, I really like some of their models. And this specific 375 is one of them. The car looks gorgeous, and alongside Jag’s C Type, they are THE best-looking cars of the 50s. When I started collecting 1:43, the 375 Plus #4 was the eleventh model I bought, from Altaya. As Altaya/pw models go, it’s not a turd, but is terrible compared to anything else. I finally managed an upgrade, and this Ixo is much nicer. However, it’s an old mold, therefore subpar compared to their current releases. Nonetheless, a big improvement over the Altaya. I like the 375 so much that I would even had gone for the BBR version, but those are rare. Even this Ixo version is not exactly plentiful… Probably because it looks so darn good 😁.