Ngegné! Che curage! The Life of Alberto Massimino

November 27, 1975

Automotive engineer Alberto Massimino died in the city of Modena in northeast Italy at the age of 80. Massimino, who was born in Turin in 1895, developed a strong interest in mechanics at an early age.

Massimino earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical Institute at Fribourg in Switzerland. He became a design engineer for racecars at the Turin-based company Fiat in 1924. Four years later, he found new employment at the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo. During the next 24 years, Massimino further honed his formidable racecar design skills while working for that company and such other Italian automobile manufacturers as Stablimenti Industriali Farina, Scuderia Ferrari, and Maserati. From 1952 to the time of his death, he focused instead on short-term design projects for Ferrari, Stanguellini, De Tomaso, and Moretti Motor Company.

Undated photo of Massimino and fellow engineer working on a racecar.

Over the course of his long career, Massimino established himself as a leading chassis and suspension specialist. One of his most influential contributions took place during his time at Maserati when he was assigned to upgrade the company’s 4CLT single-seat racecar. Massimino ended up designing an entirely new and innovative chassis for this upgraded automobile model, which was known as the 4CLT/48 Sanremo. The pioneering chassis, which consisted of a tubular frame with inboard coil springs, proved to be popular both within and beyond Italy.

This design also allowed Massimino to showcase his lighthearted side. He would playfully tell other Maserati employees working on the 4CLT/48 Sanremo, “Ngegné! Che curage . . . quel telaio in tubi!”(“Engineer, what a nerve you’ve got! That chassis is made of tubes!”).

In addition, Massimino became an internationally respected advocate for improved safety measures in car racing. “The International Sports Commission and representatives of organizers, drivers and carmakers must meet to arrange stern safety checks,” he asserted in a 1967 United Press International news story following a fatal accident at that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

For more information on Alberto Massimino and other noteworthy racecar designers, please check out http://www.tih11/27org/fiat.htm.

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