As its name suggests, the Ferrari 340 MM was built with one purpose in mind. With “MM” signifying “Mille Miglia” in Ferrari-speak, this model was intended to take no prisoners in that 1953 race. As an amped-up version of the 340 Mexico, the performance was nothing short of electrifying. That’s what happens when an impressively-powerful V12 is placed into a lightweight chassis. Even though it was fast enough to scare even some seasoned drivers, Ferrari’s skilled drivers were able to tame it enough to win first place in the race the car was named for.
Displacing 4.1-litres, the front-mounted V12 was the key to the 340 MM’s success. Total output was rated at 280 bhp (206 kW) at 6600 rpm. In a car weighing just 850 kg dry, that’s epic power, especially when you consider this was back in 1953. Flat out, the car could reach 282 km/h (175 mph). No wonder the 340 MM crushed its competition so soundly. As for looks, several coachbuilders were given a chance to design the bodywork. Touring and Vignale both designed spyder versions, while Pininfarina handled the 4 coupe bodies.
Racing and Legacy
As you already know from the intro, the Ferrari 340 MM took first place in the 1953 Mille Miglia. The story behind the win is worth sharing, however. It was a Vignale-built spyder that crossed the line first, with Giannino Marzotto sitting in the driver’s seat. His winning time of 10 hours, 37 minutes is highly impressive when you realize that it included a rather unfortunate mishap. At one point in the race, Marzotto remembered that his mechanics had not yet changed the oil. Instead of pushing his luck, he turned around and raced back to Siena to have it changed. Once there, the mechanics could not open the bonnet, so they improvised – a hole was drilled right through the bonnet in order to top off the oil.
But the car wasn’t just a one-race pony. Even more success was to be found by the Ferrari 340 MM, this time in the Giro di Sicilia. Another Vignale Spyder would finish that race first, 14 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher. It’s safe to say that the 340 MM was a world-conquering car. Unfortunately, only 11 were built, meaning this is one of the rarest Ferraris ever made.