The Ferrari 250 MM was as a sports racing car produced in 1953 by Ferrari. Only 31 cars were build of this beautiful car. So this type of Ferrari is even rarer than the famous 250 GTO. After the initial racing successes of the 3.0-litre Colombo V12 engine, first assembled in the one off 250 S, Ferrari started to produce a serial race car, the 250 MM.
The 250 MM is best recognizable for the distinctive closed berlinetta bodywork by Pinin Farina. The “MM” in its name stood for the Mille Miglia race.
The 250 MM was the second type of Ferrari with the Colombo V-12 engine. The engine was derived from the 250 S with increased power, due to a different carburetor setup. The new car could be seen as an evolution over its predecessor. The chassis numbers had for the first time the “MM” in their suffix.
Two body styles were available, each from a different coach builder. Pinin Farina designed an innovative closed Berlinetta, which created a whole new era in automotive design. It also served as a basis for future competition Berlinetta models. Pinin Farina created in total eighteen 250 MMs with the Berlinetta body.
The second body style was an open Barchetta body, offered by Vignale and introduced in three series. Every example differed in little details from each other. The early series cars had open headlights and a small air vent in the middle of the bonnet. Later 250 MM differed by having recessed and covered headlamps, a closed bonnet bulge, triangular cutaways in the rear fenders and a lower door line. In total, twelve open Spiders were made. Chief designer at Vignale was Giovanni Michelotti who created all those designs.
The first 250 MM, a Vignale Spider, was presented in 1952 at the Paris Motor Show. The first Berlinetta was also shown in Paris but one year later, in 1953. A single Berlinetta by Vignale, created in 1954, was owned by Peter Monteverdi. In 1956 he had paid 10,000 Swiss francs for it and also traded in his Porsche 356. The distinctive feature of this special 250 MM were the triple portholes on the bottom of the front fenders.
The engine of the Ferrari 250 MM, mounted longitudinally in the front, was a 60° Colombo V12. The total capacity of 2,953.21 cc was achieved thanks to 73 by 58.8 mm of bore and stroke.
A 9:1 compression ratio with three Weber 36IF/4C carburetors helped produce 240 PS at 7200 rpm. The engine had single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank, actuating two valves per cylinder. It also used a single spark plug per cylinder with two coils. The 250 MM had a new multi-plate clutch, a development to the 250 S who had only a single plate clutch. A wet sump lubrication system was also installed
The chassis, #250MM53, was made out of steel tubes and featured a 2,400 mm short wheelbase. The whole car weighed 900 kg with its Berlinetta body, when empty (The 250 S weighted 850 kg. The Spider was a bit lighter with 850 kg. The fuel tank had a huge 150-litres capacity.
The suspension was pretty much similar to the previous model, the Ferrari 250 S. The front suspension had independent, unequal-length wishbones and transverse leaf-springs with hydraulic shock absorbers. On the rear end, a live axle with more than traditional semi-elliptic springs and hydraulic shock absorbers was mounted. Drum brakes were all around as it was usual in 1953.
The Ferrari 250 MM was used extensively in racing. Scoring many victories in Europe. The 250 MM was also successful in the United States with Phil Hill. The 250 MM had its first race at the 1953 Giro di Sicilia. Three cars were entered, but non of them finished the race. Paolo Marzotto had led the race until Enna, but then broke down due to technical failure. The first victory came from the North American race track with Phil Hill at the wheel. Throughout the years 1953 and 1954 the Ferrari 250 MM scored a lot of race victories all over the world.
For me the Ferrari 250 MM is one of the most beautiful race cars ever produced by Ferrari. This 250 MM here I captured a few years ago at a Concours d’Elegance nearby Düsseldorf – it was painted original in a light green with an upholstering handmade by the famous fashion label Hermés located in Paris. The car was presented in very good condition and was a real beauty. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.
Ferrari 250 MM: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
MODEL 250 MM
TYPE Berlinetta and Spider
YEAR OF PRODUCTION 1952-1954
NUMBER OF BUILD CARS 21 Berlinetta by Pinin Farina / 12 Spider by Vignale
ENGINE longitudinally front-mounted Colombo V12 – 60º
BORE AND STROKE 73 mm x 58,8 mm
CUBIC CAPACITY TOTAL / CYL. 2953,21 cc / 246,10 cc
VALVE TRAIN OHC, 2 Valve per cylinder
TRANSMISSION 4-speed + 1 reverse manual
HORSEPOWER 240 bhp at 7200 rpm
COMPRESSION 9 : 1
FUEL FEED 3 Weber carburetor 36 IF / 4C
LUBRICATION wet sump
CLUTCH multi disc
CHASSIS tubular steel
BRAKES drums all around
SUSPENSION FRONT independent, unequal double wishbones, hydraulic shock absorbers
SUSPENSION REAR live axle, hydraulic shock absorbers
LENGHT 4250 mm
WIDTH 1650 mm
HEIGHT 1200 mm
WHEELBASE 2400 mm
TRACK FRONT / REAR 1300 mm / 1320 mm
WEIGHT WITHOUT FUEL Berlinetta 900 kg / Spider 850 kg
FUEL CAPACITY 150 liters
TYRES FRONT / REAR 6,00 x 16
MAXIMUM SPEED 250 km/h