SOLD 10/09

1954 Ferrari
375 America

One of 12 375 Americas Built, Immaculately Restored

  • VIN0315AL
  • Exterior ColorRosso Amaranto
  • Interior ColorGrey
  • Mileage19443 Kilometers
  • Engine4 Litre V12
  • Engine no.5483
  • Transmission5-Speed
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ830


1954 Ferrari 375 America
s/n 0315AL engine no. 5483 GT
Rosso Amaranto with Dark Grey Interior

Ferrari’s 250 Europa and 375 America series are generally considered to be their first production models, although only 18 of the former and twelve of the latter were built. They found many famous owners, including Roberto Rossellini, Tony Parravano, Ingrid Bergman, and the former King of Belgium, Count Somsky. Apart from the engines, the two cars were virtually identical, with similar chassis, bodies, gearbox, and suspension. The 250 featured Ferrari’s now familiar 3 liter V12, and the 375 featured a 4.5-liter, Lampredi engine.

This particular car was completed in July of 1954 and was the New York Auto Show Car. It was purchased by Dr. Guido Balestra of Italy on Nov. 13, 1954 with a 3.0 liter engine. 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. Since the engines are identically dimensioned externally, this proved to be easily achieved. Dr. Balestra sold the car in 1958, and it was imported to the United States, where it was owned by a John Criss of Paso Robles, California. During the 1950’s, the car also received the modified front end treatment that it now wears. In a letter published in Cavallino, Criss fondly remembers his 375, and supplies a photograph of the car with this treatment, indicating that the modifications were performed early in the car’s life. A 1970 letter from the Ferrari factory states “the back of the car is original as built by Pininfarina. The front was changed by Pininfarina at a later date to the owner’s order.”

The car passed through the hands of a series of other owners, eventually ending up with a Ferrari collector who owned another 375, an illustrious and highly sought after Mille Miglia Spyder which had been fitted with a later 330 engine. Since the 0315AL was already equipped with a non-original engine, the owner felt that swapping the engines would enhance the value of his Mille Miglia more than it would affect the provenance of his America, so this work was completed in the late 1990’s. 0315AL also received the overdrive gearbox from the MM Spyder. The 330 engine produces the same 300hp as the 375 engine, while its lighter weight and superior parts availability and reliability were ideally suited to the owner’s desire to use the America as an event car. He did indeed use the car in several events, including the Copperstate 1000 Rally and the Colorado Grand.

He sold the car in 2005 to its current owner who performed a comprehensive restoration to extremely high standards. The car was beautifully repainted in its original hue, and the chrome restored. Incorrect components such as the horns, headlamps, fans, and air cleaners were replaced with the correct items, and the car also received new belly pans. The engine was repainted to mirror the finish that would have been applied to the original engine. The car also received a stunning Nemenick interior in a very striking shade of leather that is dark grey with purple overtones. The car has been looked after by Patrick Ottis since its completion, to include some electrical sorting and a complete differential rebuild.

The car is in excellent condition with very high quality paint over straight panels. The gaps are excellent and the color is a stunning and rich burgundy with hints of purple and brown. The car has an outside competition type fuel filler, as well as a hood scoop in the style of the 375 MM originally owned by Roberto Rossellini. The chrome and metal trim are excellent, including the wheels. The glass is also excellent, including the Marchal headlamps.

The interior is absolutely stunning, with a striking level of craftsmanship that makes a Ferrari of ten or fifteen years later look generic and perhaps even a bit average. The instruments, dashboard, and upholstery feel truly special, which is enhanced by the striking color. The quality of the materials and workmanship is absolutely first-rate throughout, and it is worth noting that the interior is quite spacious, particularly in comparison with the later Ferraris. The wool carpets are chocolate colored and have leather edging.

The engine compartment and trunk were both included in the restoration and are beautifully detailed and extremely clean. The trunk has the correct rubber diamond pattern matting, and the spare is a matching restored Borrani. Though the engine is not of the correct series, the ancillaries and finishes replicate the correct feel and appearance of the earlier motor.

This is an extremely rare opportunity to acquire one of the 12 Ferrari 375 Americas built. Presented in spectacular condition in a stunning color combination, this car has interesting history, and the alterations make for a more unique and usable car. Functionally superior and more affordable than other 375’s, this example represents an ideal opportunity for someone who is seeking something unique to drive and enjoy. The car is very complete with original color brochure for the Europa and the America, a binder with service records, letters, and old photographs of the car, and a tool roll with tools.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608