Lorenzo Ramaciotti is Italy’s top car designer. After over thirty years at the famed Pininfarina design studio, and twenty as its design director, Ramaciotti got called up by Fiat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, and was asked to run the company’s design center, where he oversees brands from Jeep (now Fiat-owned) to Alfa Romeo. In addition, Ramaciotti picks up a pen for Maserati as its head of global design, and is responsible for cars like the slinky GranTurismo and brand new Ghibli sedan.
From the man who signed off on automotive superstars like the Ferrari Enzo and the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C, thoughts on reconciling Maserati’s past with its future, the gorgeous Alfieri concept, and the beauty of his Segway.
1. What was the car that made you want to become a car designer?
Automobiles had a special charisma for my generation and there were plenty of show cars in the magazines to dream about — sometimes one of the very rare Italian supercars even materialized on the street. I cannot name a single car, but since I was ten I knew I would design cars, even if I was not yet aware of the existence of such a profession.
2. Is there a historical Maserati that has most heavily influenced contemporary designs?
I have named the 1954 Pininfarina designed A6GCS several times as one of the most inspirational Maseratis. We kept this car in mind (and some pictures on the wall) when we were conceptualizing the Alfieri concept. I am personally very fond of what is an almost unknown prototype, Pininfarina’s first proposal for a “street” Maserati, that only remains in pictures. It was simple and provocative at the same time and the fact that it is little known adds to its fascination.
3. What is your favorite design in the current line-up?
Every project has its own character, story and unique sentimental appeal. The GranTurismo is special to me because we (Pininfarina) were not supposed to design it. Then the project got stuck and we were asked to submit our proposal. In fact we were able to immediately propose something so convincing that we went straight to production.
4. What is your favorite all-time Maserati?
I understand it would not be fair to name a car I was involved with, but I select the 2003 Quattroporte, as the real rebirth of Maserati and the pride of its design.
5. What are the signatures of a Maserati design? Features? Proportions?
I think Maserati should be an ambassador of Italian car design to the world, and clearly embrace this mission. The Italian way to beauty is through proportions, simplicity, sculptured surfaces and superior craftsmanship, and this not just in automobiles. Our goal is to embody all these characteristics in the cars we design.
6. Is Maserati still a sports car and GT brand that makes sedans, or has your identity shifts as your product portfolio has expanded?
One of the objectives we had in mind with the Alfieri was to clearly recall, on the special occasion of the company’s Centennial, …read more
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