How to design a Maserati. Lorenzo Ramaciotti Interview

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That should give you some idea how committed Lorenzo is to design as a schooling but to the Maserati brand itself, and it’s a passion that was realised the hard way. Rather unusually, given the lack of infrastructure available for Italian automotive designers at the time, Lorenzo’s background is in engineering, the Modena local taking a self-taught approach to car design rather than scholarly. From a young age, the character of Maserati drew him in, the same character he works hard to instil in his creations today.

“Well my situation is not extraordinary, because in Italy we didn’t have a design school until relative recent years. All of us – Marcello Gandini and Leonardo Fioravanti in particular – were willing to design cars but had to find our own way. At Pinifarina many of us had an engineering backgrounds as we didn’t have a specific academic path to follow.

“But once I was in, I spent more than 30 years as a car consultant at Pininfarina, where we were designing cars for any customer who knocked on the door! But as a boy, I always dreamed of working for Maserati. My birthplace in Modena is less than one kilometre from the Maserati factory, and my father was a very close personal friend of former owner, Omer Orsi. Unfortunately before I ended my studies, the Orsi family sold Maserati to Citroen, so I didn’t get my chance.

“Then when Maserati was taken over by Ferrari” in 1997, when new owners Fiat sold a 50 per cent share in the company to Maserati’s former Italian arch-rivals – “I had the chance to design my first Maserati when I was, how you say, at the end of my career in 2003. Now I’ve made six Maseratis.”

With more than four decades to look back on, it’s interesting to note that two of Lorenzo’s favourite designs have come from the latter quarter of his career, the ‘re-birthed’ Quattroporte (as he puts it) and the GranTurismo. And while Lorenzo’ future goals include furthering Maserati’s reputation and re-establishing the Alfa Romeo brand, there’s one big challenge to get past company purists: the new Maserati SUV.

“The Cayenne didn’t spoil the sporty image of Porsche,” Lorenzo explains, arms now telling a story in themselves, “but still we have to be careful not to lose the sporty image of Maserati. I don’t see anything in the market that has the punch I would like to have in an SUV: long fenders; sloping rear but not too much sloping; something that really embodies the Maserati spirit. We showed the design two years ago, and now for the production model I’m hoping to do better than we did. Not because I’m unhappy with it but because I think there is space to do even better. That will be the next challenge.”

It’s a delicate balancing act the Modena native has been working with for most of his career. And in the days of virtual simulations, it’s nice to know that the enthusiasm behind ‘Maserati-ness’ is still on the ascent. For Lorenzo Ramaciotti, it’s all just part of the journey.

“Every project for me is like a journey: you know where you’re heading to but you don’t know exactly what you will reach. Every creative effort has a start but doesn’t necessarily have a clear result. It could be good, it could be excellent, it could be bad, but every project has its own story and I’m so proud to have been included in Maserati’s.”


Maserati: Ghibli
Engine: V6 / twin turbo-charged / 2979cc
Power: 330hp @ 5000rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 4500rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed ZF transmission / rear-wheel drive / mechanical limited-slip differential
Front suspension: Double-wishbone
Rear suspension: Five-arm multilink system
Weight (kerb) 1810kg
0-100kph: 5.6sec
Top speed: 263kph
Maserati Quattroporte
Engine: 3798cc / V8
Power: 523bhp @ 6800rpm
Torque: 479lb ft @ 2000-4000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed ZF gearbox / rear-wheel drive /
Front suspension: Double wishbone / Sport Skyhook electronic system
Rear suspension: Five-arm multilink / Sport Skyhook electronic system
Brakes: Dual cast, cross-drilled / grooved and ventilated discs, six-piston Brembo calipers (front) / grooved discs, four-piston calipers (rear)
Weight (kerb) 1900kg
0-100kph: 4.7sec
Top speed: 307kph

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