Gianpiero Moretti, founder of Momo: 1940-2012

This news has been reported elsewhere (first by Axis, probably, ahead of the curve as usual), but we thought it deserved a mention here.

Gianpiero Moretti, who designed a sleek, easy-to-grasp steering wheel that has improved the performance of championship racecar drivers for more than half a century — though he himself had limited success behind the wheel in hundreds of races — died on Jan. 13 in Milan. He was 71…

Mr. Moretti started his automotive accessories company Momo in Verona, Italy, in 1966. That was two years after the champion Formula One driver John Surtees had one of Mr. Moretti’s new steering wheels installed in his Ferrari 158 F1.

Mr. Moretti designed the new steering wheel in his garage. It was smaller in diameter than the ones then in use; the wheel was wrapped in leather rather than made entirely of wood and metal; and it was contoured for better greater control. It was also more stylish and soon became standard in many racing and road cars, including special Ferrari models.

Momo — whose name is an amalgam of “Moretti” and “Monza,” a town north of Milan near a well-known racetrack — expanded to make an array of racing products, including helmets, shift knobs, road wheels, fireproof driving suits, gloves and shoes, all carrying the familiar red-and-yellow label (source).

Thanks for the wonderful steering wheels, sir.

~ by velofinds on February 8, 2012.

3 Responses to “Gianpiero Moretti, founder of Momo: 1940-2012”

  1. “He never quite retired from racing.” Great…

  2. vale moretti, your steering wheels are true automotive icons.

    the momo used in the ferrari 308 was the first momo accessory i ever bought.

    thanks to various hub adaptors it followed me through half a dozen cars.

    it is still a masterpiece compared to the horrific steering wheels inflicted on many modern cars.

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