Father of Ferrari F40 and master engineer dead at 83

The chief engineer of the legendary Ferrari F40, Nicola Materazzi, died on Wednesday at the age of 83. The Italian has worked on dozens of important automotive projects during his illustrious career, including the Lancia Stratos rally car, Ferrari 288 GTO, Bugatti EB110, as well as numerous engines.

Materazzi’s career began at Lancia, where he helped develop the aforementioned Flavia, Fulvia and Stratos. After a stint in motorsport at a merged Lancia and Fiat, he was hired to work for the Prancing Horse by Enzo Ferrari himself. Materazzi specialized in supercharging and after working on racing cars he began developing the automaker’s road cars.

He breathed life into the brand’s turbocharged engines when a dying Ferrari appointed him to lead development of the F40. This essentially cemented Materazzi’s place in the hearts of millions of enthusiasts.

The Italian left Ferrari in 1987 and continued his career working on racing bikes. Then, in 1991, he was contacted by the revival of Bugatti to take over his tumultuous EB110 project. This resulted in a carbon fiber quad-turbo V12 monster. Materazzi also had a key role to play in the specification of the EB110 SS, a lighter 603 horsepower version of the already impressive machine.

Later in life, the engineer developed the relatively obscure – at least to Americans – B Engineering Edonis in 2000. B Engineering was an offshoot of Bugatti after the company went bankrupt in 1991. The Edonis was a version heavily revised from the Bugatti EB110. He replaced the quad turbochargers with twins, which increased engine power to 680 horsepower. The Edonis also had unique bodywork and other features that set it apart from the original car.

Materazzi, in addition to being a passionate engineer, was a lover of literature. He maintained an impressive library of technical and non-technical works, some of which dated back centuries. He officially retired in 2006 after a long career creating machines that have won races, pushed technology to its limits and inspired a generation of enthusiasts. Cars wouldn’t be the same without Materazzi. Good speed.

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