piquet

Nelson Piquet’s Momo equipped Brabham BT53 BMW in 1984 (unattributed)

Momo was founded in 1964 by Gianpiero Moretti. He commissioned a local craftsman to produce a custom steering wheel for his racer, this first Momo steering wheel had a superior, thicker grip compared to other racing steering wheels of the day.

Other drivers quickly noticed Moretti’s new ’tiller’ and wanted one, so it started to gain fame within the racing community. The new Momo steering wheel caught the attention of Ferrari driver, John Surtees, who wanted one for his Ferrari 158 GP car, the car in which he won the world title in 1964. https://primotipo.com/2014/11/30/john-surtees-world-champion-50-years-ago/

surtees

Mauro Forghieri and John Surtees with the Momo equipped 1964 F1 Championship winning Ferrari 158. (unattributed)

Moretti created the company ‘Momo’ short for ‘Moretti Monza’ to make steering wheels commercially. Initially his focus was on racing but in the 1970s, the company developed new product lines.

Momo started  production of light alloy wheels and steering wheels for road cars, both for the aftermarket sector and supplying car manufacturers, initially Ferrari but others followed including Aston Martin, Fiat, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Porsche, Peugeot, Renault, Subaru and others.

I reckon the first Momo i saw was in a cockpit shot of an F1 Ferrari 312B. Wow, it looked good! I was a secondary student at the time, it took me a few years to buy a road car, there were not too many other Cortina GT’s in the Monash University carpark with a Momo steering wheel. As one of my mates said the Momo was worth more then the ‘maroon rocket’ itself, which was an accurate call! Three Momo’s over time graced a succession of Alfa’s, a BMW 325is and a Carrera 3.2. My Van Diemen RF86 Formula Ford is fitted with one ex-factory. Things of beauty aren’t they? And function.

Whilst a Momo fan i never knew anything about the company’s history, despite being aware of Moretti’s racing exploits to an extent, its been interesting to do some simple research.

cockpit

Momo equipped Ferrari 312B in 1971. Clay Regazzoni. (unattributed)

Momo continued its involvement in motor racing with success; in 1983 Brabham won the F1 World Championship, their car Momo equipped with light alloy wheels as well as a suede steering wheel as depicted in the first photo above. In 1998, Moretti won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 6 Hours Watkins Glen driving a Ferrari 333 SP.

Mario Andretti, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Michele Alboreto, Michael Schumacher and earlier, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart and Clay Regazzoni won races with Momo steering wheels.

In 1993 ‘Momo Corse’ offering specialized fireproof clothing.

f2002

The complexity of the Ferrari F2002 steering wheel is a nice contrast with the simplicity of the decades before…(alamy)

In 1995 Gianpiero Moretti sold Momo to Breed Technologies, an American industrial group which produced airbag systems and steering wheels. Breed Technologies, in turn was acquired by the Carlyle Management Group, a private equity fund. Recently, ‘Momo was bought by a group of investors with a passion for the brand, its heritage and its products and a desire to grow the company back to its roots’, the company website says.

Momo is still focused on light alloy road wheels, but has also continued to develop racing products, an example the supply of steering wheels for the GP2 Championships in Europe and Asia.

momo new

Momo’s current FWM/02 pro customer steering wheel. (Momo)

 Gianpiero Moretti died in 2012 at the age of 71, too young, but the company he founded still makes beautifully designed contemporary products which show the companies ‘racing DNA’…
moretti

Gianpiero Moretti and Piero Lardi Ferrari. (unattributed)

Bibliography and Credits…

Momo corporate website, alamy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s