Aurelio Lampredi, designer of the 4 1/2-litre Ferrari V12 engine which ended the domination of the supercharged Alfa Romeos in 1951, has died at the age of 71. After working in aero-engine design from the late Thirties to the end of the war, he joined Ferrari’s young company for a brief period over the winter of 1946, but left after disagreements with Giuseppe Busso, in charge of the technical office.
When Busso left in late 1947, Ferrari brought Lampredi back as head of design, a post he retained until moving to Fiat in 1955. His theories of large, unblown engines went against the pre-war supercharging trend, but these early Ferraris made the company’s reputation and led the way for a new generation of racing cars. Apart from his “long block” V12 units, Lampredi’s four-cylinder engines powered the 2-litre Formula Two cars which dominated the 1952 and 1953 World Championship races, and the successful 750 Monza and 500 Mondial sports-cars.
For 22 years after leaving Ferrari in 1955, Lampredi was in charge of all Fiat engine design, producing a huge range of units from the 850 to the 130 V6, including the twin-cam 131 and Lancia Beta engines which continue in modified form in today’s Deltas. In addition he was Abarth’s Technical Director from 1972-82, helping that company, via the Fiat Abarth 131, to three World Rally Championship titles.