Classic Car Capital
1991 Ferrari F40

Master Engineer Nicola Materazzi, Father Of The Ferrari F40 Has Died

The “Father of the Ferrari F40”, Italian master engineer Nicola Materazzi passed away on August 23. During his long and illustrious career, Materazzi was actively involved in the development of a few iconic vehicles from Ferrari, Bugatti, and Lancia which brought about the Bugatti EB110, Lancia Stratos, Ferrari 288 GTO, and his most legendary creation, the Ferrari F40. He was 83.

In 1939, Nicola Materazzi was born in the province of Salerno in Southern Italy. He took up engineering at the University of Naples. He started his career in automotive engineering working for Lancia in Turin. At the beginning, he worked on mainstream Lancia models, and also in the development of the Flavia and Fulvia. Starting in 1970, he got involved in the most ambitious World Rally Championship contender of the brand, the Lancia Stratos where he helped develop the powertrain, aerodynamics, and the chassis setup.

In the early 1980s, Materazzi became a known expert in turbocharging and Ferrari tapped his to apply this expertise to roadgoing vehicles. He worked on the Ferrari 288 GTO, developed the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that powered the car. He was also instrumental in developing the architecture and layout of the vehicle, opting for a longitudinal drivetrain layout instead of the transverse. He was promoted to chief engineer by 1984. As chief engineer, he oversaw the development of the GTO Evoluzione and the legendary F40.

He is best known for being the “Father of the Ferrari F40” having been the chief engineer during the development of the 1987 Ferrari F40, one of the greatest supercars of all time and the last vehicle that was made under the supervision of founder Enzo Ferrari.

In the early 1990s, he then joined Bugatti Automobili S.p.A. at the Campogalliano factory. He worked as a technical director during the development of the 1991 Bugatti EB110 GT working on the quad-turbo V1 engine. Aside from the engine, he also improved structural stiffness and modified the all-wheel drive system of the carbon fiber monocoque for better handling. He also helped develop its more powerful version, the lighter and 603-hp 1992 Bugatti EB110 SS.

His last project was the updated version of the Bugatti EB110 Super Sport, the B Engineering Edonis.

After a long and illustrious engineering career, he formally retired in 2006. Nicola Materazzi’s influence in the automotive industry is undeniable. Sports Car Digest would like to extend our sincerest condolences to his friends and family.

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