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A 5-liter dose of sports car dominance – 2

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Under the Hood. Think of the 5.0-liter Lampredi engine as Ferrari’s equivalent of a bigblock. Once again, the accuracy here is amazing— down to the Lampredi-specific seven-bolt pattern on the cam covers. The triple Weber 46mm carbs are shrouded in a sheetaluminum airbox that mates with the hood scoop, and even the wing nuts on top are separate castings. An external reservoir for engine oil feeds the dry sump system and a coolant catch tank molded out of transparent plastic. The twin magnetos are wired, and the carbs are dressed with a full set of fuel lines. This engine makes excellent use of individually molded and painted parts— all well-shaped and carefully aligned. Because the engine is such an important part of this car’s identity, the pressure was on to get it right. BBR delivered in fine fashion. Unfastening the leather straps and turning the hood pins is delicate and time-consuming, but the reward beneath the hood is well worth it.

The oversize 5.0L version of the Lampredi V-12 is what gave the Plus its name. On the BBR version, it might well refer to the extra helping of detail; this engine is brilliant!

The fuel tank was also plus size; the thirsty V-12 carried up to 180 liters, requiring a hump in the rear deck to clear the tank.

 

Chassis, Wheels and Tires. A look at the underside of the 375 Plus reminds us of just how far suspension technology has come in 50 years. The beefed up De Dion solid rear axle and the independent front both ride on single transverse leaf-springs. Both are functional, but travel is limited. The tube-frame chassis is also well represented; particularly interesting is the rear section where the oversize fuel tank resides. There is no floor pan there, and with the rear deck raised, you can see all the way up to daylight. No matter how stock its exterior seems, the 375 Plus is a purebred racer, and it carries no unnecessary components. The wheels are a delight: dozens of delicate spokes blossom around the center knock-off nut. Tires are competent renditions of Pirelli Corsa (racing) tires. The one peculiarity is tire size: most documentation lists the rim size at 16 inches with fronts 6 inches wide and rears 1 inch wider; however, this model carries tires with sidewalls marked “7.00-17” at all four corners, and measurements confirm the wheels are correct to that scale. Hard to say whether this is an error or merely an aberration, as these cars were highly individualized, and it’s certainly possible that one could have been fielded with larger rolling stock—if racing rules permitted. But, more important from a diecast perspective, their appearance is not out of line with the rest of the car.

With their individual functioning spokes and machined hubs, the wheels are a sight to behold.

BBR makes the transverse leaf-spring suspension fully functional, but the steel bands in the springs are stiff so travel is limited.


SPECS

Scale: 1:18
Length: 9.21 in.
Wheelbase: 5.66 in.
Width: 3.67 in.
Height: 2.25 in.
Price: $300


FEATURES
» Opening hood, door, trunk, various filler doors
» Operational steering
» Articulated suspension
» Removable cabin cover panel


RATINGS (scale of 1-5)
Body, paint 4.5

Wheels, tires 4

Engine 5

Chassis, suspension, undercarriage 5

Interior 4.5

Presentation, proportion, stance 5

Collectibility 4.5

WRAPPING UP
The 1954 375 Plus marks the beginning of a golden age of Ferrari styling; many of the traits that came to personify Ferrari’s most famous models can be seen in early form here. But however attractive it may be, this machine was bred to race; the Lampredi 5.0L V-12, reinforced driveline, giant fuel tank and svelte curb weight outclassed its competition and easily ran away with the WSC that year. It’s surely not the first Ferrari that comes to mind for diecasting, but the more one considers BBR’s choice here, the more appropriate it seems. This car is unique and historically significant, and the skill with which it is presented easily puts it in with the best in the premium 1:18 market. This is the best yet from BBR. The company will have to work hard to top it, but think of how much fun it will be to watch them try!

BBR distributed by Minichamps North America
(305) 971-1171;
minichampsna.com


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Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:26 AM

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