Engineer Materazzi, father of F40 has passed away

Magnificent and modest.

A few hours ago, a great but modest talent from the history of the Italian sports car industry died. His name is Nicola Materazzi, celebrated for his great achievements with often few resources. His ideas resulted in end products that almost immediately gained iconic value in the ‘hall of fame’ of brands such as Lancia and Ferrari. Materazzi’s starting point was of course always of a technical and functional nature, but the result was often eye-catching. Good for tons of poster material that ended up on several walls in the bedrooms of little and big boys.

To the top in a short time.

Materazzi was born 83 years ago in Caselle di Pìttari in the province of Salerno (Campania region). He was the basis for legendary sports cars such as the Ferrari F40, Bugatti EB110, Ferrari 288 GTO and Lancia Stratos. By the time he was 22, he was already making his own go-kart. He is a technical engineer at the University of Naples. After a false start as a teacher, he wanted to follow his passion for motorsport at all costs and penetrated the world of cars. In 1968 he started working as an engineer and specialist in making calculations for chassis, suspension and steering at Lancia. He then also participated in the development of the world-famous rally icon Stratos. He then also worked on the more extreme Stratos Silhouette Gruppo 5. After Fiat’s takeover of Lancia, from 1978 he also worked in the Abarth and Osella division. Here he worked on the F1 car called the Osella FA1.


In 1979 he took charge of the technical department of Ferrari’s Reparto Corse. Materazzi developed extra powerful versions, such as the 328 Turbo, 288 GTO, 288 GTO Evoluzione and Testarossa 412 GT. Enzo Ferrari put him in charge of the development of the famous F40. A unique project because Materazzi was allowed to conceive the car in its entirety. Materazzi would also influence the development of faster street versions from that point on. Enzo Ferrari put a lot of emphasis on this because he was still quite dissatisfied with the performance of the existing series. Materazzi was able to satisfy even a demanding person like Enzo Ferrari. Ferrari showed Materazzi a 3.0-liter block that produced 330 hp, and the engineer quickly announced that such a block should produce at least 400 hp. Enzo Ferrari then said; “But then you have to lead this project.” It was the go-ahead for the switch to the production department in Maranello.

Tireless even after a forced divorce from Ferrari.

In 1984, 288 GTO were born. Meanwhile, Materazzi’s services were also requested by Lancia for the development of the LC2’s engine. Although the durability of Materazzi’s first experiences in F1 left something to be desired, the ‘Endurance’ capacity of the LC2 was much better. After the 288 GTO, Materazzi realized the GTO Evoluzione, a track car that unfortunately could never prove itself due to the scrapping of Group B and the introduction of new regulations. Ferrari was then allowed to work on a street version, resulting in the famous F40 from 1987. With a top speed of 324 km per hour, an absolute record holder on the road. From that point on, Materazzi was allowed to take charge of the technical department for the development of road cars in Maranello. But then the parent company Fiat intervened, and Materazzi had to leave his position. In 1990 he moved to Cagiva and in 1991 he joined Bugatti. There he was immediately given responsibility for the development of the well-known EB110. Materazzi was allowed to intervene in the process and made the car more reliable by using Carbon Fiber for the chassis. Finally, Materazzi worked at B Engineering Edonis from 2000 to 2005. Materazzi was a rare talent who developed perfectly thanks to the way Italian motorsport took off in post-war Italy.

The following is the complete list of Materazzi’s participation in projects:

Lancia Flavia (1968–69) – Materazzi made calculations (by hand and computer) for chassis, steering box and suspension
Lancia Fulvia 1300 & 1600 HF (1969–70) – ditto
Lancia Stratos group 4 (1970–74) – became involved in engine and suspension (Mac Pherson) development for competitions he became involved with.
Lancia Stratos Group 5 “Silhouette” (1975–77) – developed the turbocharged engine and body aerodynamics.
Formula Abarth (1978) – developed the entire car following an initiative by Aurelio Lampredi.
Osella FA2 (1979) – full development for Formula 2 participation
Osella FA1 (1979) – full development for Formula 1 participation
Ferrari 021 engine (1980) – designed and improved the Comprex system (was not used) and the KKK turbo system
Ferrari 126C (1980–83) – was responsible for the design process of engines in the period 1980, ’81, ’82, ’83
Lancia LC2 (1982) – developed “268” engine (2.6L V8), chassis was designed by Gian Paolo Dallara
Ferrari F114B engine (1983–84) – developed the 2,857L V8 engine for the 288 GTO and determined much of the final layout design (the switch from transverse to longitudinal engine)
Ferrari Testarossa engine (1984) – participation in engine design.
Ferrari 412 engine (1985) – ditto.
Ferrari F40 management of the entire project.
Ferrari GTO Evolution (1984–86) – supervision of the entire project.
Ferrari 328 Turbo (1985–86) – ditto.
Ferrari F120A/B engine (1986) – ditto.
Ferrari F40 (1986) – ditto.
Ferrari F121A engine (1987) – ditto. (was not used though)
Cagiva 589 (1988) – Technical Director.
Cagiva 591 (1990) – ditto.
Bugatti EB110 GT (1991) – ditto; introduced the carbon fiber chassis, engine improvements (design by Tecnostile), changed F/R torque distribution.
Bugatti EB110 SS (1992) – ditto; used new technical specifications for a lightweight model with a top speed of 340 km/h.
Laverda 750 (1996–97) – ditto; developed new engine.
B Engineer Edonis (2000–05) – ditto; director of full car development (design by Marc Deschamps)

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