Nicola Materazzi, best known as the chief engineer behind the iconic Ferrari F40, sadly passed away recently at the age of 83. The Italian engineer had dedicated decades of his life to the pursuit of perfection in the automotive industry and had worked at Lancia and Bugatti for key projects in addition to his days at the Prancing Horse.
Born in Salerno on 28 January 1939, Materazzi showed an interest in cars from an early age. After graduating with a degree in engineering from the University of Naples, he was involved in the development of the Lancia Flavia, although he wasn’t officially hired as as part of the Lancia technical team until the early 1970s, which led to his relocation to Turin. As the Calculations Specialist at Lancia headquarters, he was part of the development team tasked with creating the iconic Lancia Stratos, and later responsible for the modifications needed to turn the platform into the Group 5 Stratos Silhouette.
Materazzi joined Ferrari in 1979 after a brief stint at Abarth, then Osella. He first worked for the Ferrari racing team, offering his expertise primarily in turbo engines. He developed the 2.9L V8 engine for the 288 GTO and was the Chief Engineer for the Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione. While the Evoluzione’s Group B competition mission unfortunately did not come to pass, Materazzi proposed the F40 project to Enzo Ferrari based on it, which turned out to be the the last new Ferrari project under Enzo’s supervision.
In 1991, Materazzi led the Bugatti EB110 project and suggested using a carbon fibre chassis instead of the original aluminium honeycomb. His legacy shall carry on even though he is no longer with us.