Ferrari 340 / 342 / 375 America ~ 1951-55
Engineer Gioacchino Colombo left Ferrari before the total completion of its now legendary Colombo V12 engine. Aurelio Lampredi working then as Colombo’s assistant convinced Enzo Ferrari that a bigger, non-supercharged 4.5 liter (274 cu in) V12, the maximum capacity authorized by F1 Grand Prix rules then, would be more powerful, reliable and fuel efficient than the 1.5 liter (91 cu in) supercharged V12 Colombo unit. After producing a successful engine it didn’t take long before Ferrari proposed this high-end and hand-built powerful V12 with bags of low-end torque to their rich customers. The United States was directly targeted of course with the introduction of the 1951 Ferrari 340 America.
The 340 America had an oval tubing ladder type chassis with the already seen double wishbone front suspension, and live rear axle with leaf springs. For stopping power, the 340 America also used drum brakes all around as in previous models. Then the rolling chassis was sent to different coachbuilders to get dressed by artisans such as Ghia and Vignale, but it is with the “America” series that Pinin Farina started to gain Enzo’s confidence.
The Lampredi single-cam V12 was brought down from a 4.5 liter to a 4.1 liter (250 cu in) and developed with three Weber carburetors, between 200 and 220 hp at 6000 rpm with a five speed non synchronized race gearbox. Performance was fantastic for the early 50’s, with up to 149 mph (240 km/h) depending on the body style, while 7 seconds to reach 60 mph was also very impressive.
By 1952 twenty-three 340 Americas were built, and later-on that year the 340 was replaced by the 342 America, which had a longer wheelbase and was wider with better amenities as well. The engine was the same, but the four-speed gearbox gained synchronization for an easier gear change. The 342 America wasn’t as edgy as the 340 because it was longer and heavier, although weight figures could dramatically change between one designer to another.
After only 6 Ferrari 342 Americas were produced. The Ferrari 375 America replaced it in 1953. The 375 was another stallion all together because the engine was enlarged to 4.5 liter (276 cu in) and developed 300 hp at 6300 rpm with the same triple Weber package and the all synchronized 4 speed transmission.
Of all the 12 Ferrari 375 Americas ever made, the most famous are the silver 375 “Bergman” commissioned by film director Roberto Rossellini for the actress Ingrid Bergman and the Pinin Farina Speciale with its transparent roof.
In all 41 Ferrari Americas were produced from 1951 to 1953. All of them were unique and all were only slightly detuned from the racing 375 MM and the 375 Mexico… making these early Ferrari models desirable in terms of rarity, power and custom coachwork.
|Model/Year||Ferrari 340 / 1951-52||Ferrari 342 / 1952-53||Ferrari 375 / 1953-55|
|Designer||Touring 8, Vignale 11, Ghia 4|
|Engine Type||All alloy V12, SOHC. 2V, Dry Sump||All alloy V12, SOHC. 2V, Dry Sump||All alloy V12, SOHC. 2V, Dry Sump|
|Capacity||4102 cc / 250 cu in||4102 cc / 250 cu in||4522 cc / 276 cu in|
|Fuel Feed||3 Weber 40 DCF||3 Weber 40 DCF||3 Weber 40 DCF|
|Power||200-220 hp @ 6600 rpm||200-300 hp 6600 rpm||300 hp 6300 rpm|
|Torque||Varies with spec||Varies with spec|
|Transmission||5 speed no sync - RWD||4 speed all sync - RWD||4 speed all sync - RWD|
|Top Speed||~ 134-149 mph - 215-240 km/h||~ 134-149 mph - 215-240 km/h|
|~ 7 sec|
|Chassis||Oval tubular, ladder type||Oval tubular, ladder type||Oval tubular, ladder type|
|Weelbase||2420 mm / 95.27 in||2420 mm / 95.27 in||2420 mm / 95.27 in|
|Front Suspension||2 Wishbone, transverse leaves||2 Wishbone, transverse leaves||2 Wishbone, transverse leaves|
|Rear Suspension||Live axle, semi-elliptic leave springs||Live axle, semi-elliptic leave springs||Live axle, semi-elliptic leave springs|
|Front Tires||16 in wheels||16 in wheels||16 in wheels|
|Rear Tires||16 in wheels||16 in wheels||16 in wheels|
|Steering||Worm & wheel||Worm & wheel||Worm & wheel|
|Weight||2094-2425 lb / 950-1100 kg||2094-2425 lb / 950-1100 kg||2094-2425 lb / 950-1100 kg|
|Country of Origin||Italy||Italy||Italy|