Two Leaders of Italian Design

Medaro Fantuzzi, Vittorio Jano, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo

During a Ferrari test session at the Modena Aerautodromo on July 31, 1962 stand two famous pillars of Italian automotive design. On the left is Medaro Fantuzzi who became the design interpreter and body builder of Ferrari sports racing and grand prix cars during the 1960s, while next to him wearing a hat is perhaps the greatest designer of racing cars and motors of all time, Vittorio Jano. At the right, only partially visible, is Ferrari engine designer Franco Rocchi. The object of their attention was the latest updated version of Ferrari’s 156/F1 which had won the World Championship the prior year. It would not be good enough for 1962, especially with Ferrari’s labor troubles that year.

Jano, an Italian of Hungarian descent, had begun his fabled career in the 1920s at Alfa Romeo where he was responsible for the successful P2 Grand Prix car driven to many wins by Antonio Ascari, father of Ferrari’s 1952-53 World Champion Alberto Ascari. His engine architecture was the lynchpin for Alfa Romeo’s racing successes well into the 1930s. Jano left Alfa Romeo in the late 1930s and after the War he joined Lancia where he designed the Lancia D50 Grand Prix car which broke new design ground in 1954. After Lancia, beset with financial problems, withdrew from racing in mid-1955, Jano moved to Ferrari, along with the D50s which became the basis for Ferrari’s Grand Prix cars in 1956-57. Jano thereafter had a major role in designing Ferrari’s V6 “Dino” engines which, in various forms, continued throughout the 1960s and beyond.

Fantuzzi had a carrozzeria in Modena which had done work for Maserati in the 1950s. For Ferrari, he took over race car body construction from Sergio Scaglietti during the 1960s. His son Fiorenzo continued the Fantuzzi business during later years, doing primarily restoration work for the bodies of 1950s and 1960s Ferrari racing cars as they became more valuable.

Here, in 1962, Jano was a consultant for Ferrari, a role which probably did not make Ferrari’s then head designer Carlo Chiti particularly happy but was typical of Enzo Ferrari’s self-seen role as an “agitator of men.”

Photo by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection



One comment

  1. Nice to see Jano remembered and his brilliant Lancia D 50 car,. During 1954 season, had waited entire year for its debut, even receiving from the Lancia Factory testing photos in Turin, Finally when they felt the car was ” ready “, arrived in Spain for the final round, late in October where Ascari put the new machine on pole position,,,Some debut !

    Spanish GP front row had variety ; lightweight Lancia v-8, simple 4 cylinder Ferrari of Hawthorn, classic 6 cylinder Maserati for Harry Shell and the more powerful straight 8 Mercedes of Fangio,
    this variety something lacking today

    jim sitz
    G.P. Oregon


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