Volume 47 Issue 23
Nov 13, 2022
We honor some of the people who have made Ferrari the marque it is today.
February 7, 1939 – October 22, 2022
I find the obituaries are the most difficult to write. Some I know of and others I knew well. Lyle Tanner is one of the latter. Trained as an engineer, he worked for the city of Los Angeles until the Ferrari bug bit him hard. He bought and sold many early Ferraris and was well acquainted with Ed Niles and others within the Los Angeles Ferrari community.
It was natural he would start a parts business selling Ferrari parts to keep many cars running and driving. There was a time when parts suppliers were few and while places like FAF, Algar and Bill Rudd were out there, Lyle Tanner Enterprises became one of the go-to places to purchase the hard-to-find parts.
This love of finding parts did not diminish throughout the years. Even when moves took him to places beyond his native California, he still had the contacts necessary to find the un-obtainium.
He was active in the Ferrari Owners Club and served as club president in 1977. For his dedication he was awarded the Hans Tanner Memorial Trophy by the Ferrari Owners Club in 1979.
His many friends included the likes of Phil Hill, Mauro Forghieri, David Piper and this writer. Rest in peace, Lyle.
January 28, 1939 – August 24, 2022
Materazzi was an Italian mechanical engineer and one of the most prolific designers of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He worked for several different companies such as Lancia, Cagiva (motorcycles), Osella (F1), Bugatti, B Engineering and Ferrari.
He was hired by Ferrari in 1979 for his expertise in forced induction. Materazzi brought his knowledge of turbo charging to the Formula One team. The 126C Formula One engine came to life and was continually developed under his guidance.
He is also credited with the development of the Testarossa, 412 and 328 Turbo as Chief Engineer. His greatest fame came from developing the 288 GTO and F40 engine. Changing the engine orientation to longitudinal allowed a turbo-charged engine to have equal length exhaust.
Materazzi left Ferrari in 1987 and went on to be Technical Director for Cagiva motorcycles, Bugatti EB110, Laverda and B Engineering. He retired in 2006.
JOHN RIDINGS LEE
May 1, 1937 – August 17, 2021
Lee was a long-time Ferrari owner from Dallas, Texas. His car collection featured many different Ferraris ranging from a 212 Inter to a 308 GTB. Anytime he brought a car to a Ferrari event you could count on it being a contender for a class win. All of his cars were immaculate.
Lee was one of the early subscribers to the FML and a customer of FAF. He will be missed.
DR. FRED SIMEONE
June 8, 1936 – June 11, 2022
Dr. Fred Simeone was the head of neurosurgery at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. He was well regarded as a brain surgeon. This accomplishment might be enough to be remembered forever, but this renown pales in comparison to his contribution to automotive history.
His collection of automotive history spanned several decades. He was drawn to automobiles with significant history and providence. His thrill was researching and documenting each car for past ownership or racing placement.
It was this love of automobiles that he wanted to share. In 2008 he founded the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum to display and honor that history. Many of the cars he collected were not immaculately restored. He felt the bumps, bruises and scratches all had a story to tell about the car’s history.
Simeone was a collector, historian and archivist interested in sharing the story of the automobile as a form of art. His foresight and willingness to share will keep his legacy alive for many decades to come.
An extraordinary man in life and hereafter.
ALAIN de CADENET
November 27, 1945 – July 2, 2022
De Cadenet was educated at Framlingham school in Suffolk. He began his working life as a fashion and music photographer.
Soon after a visit to Brands Hatch he was driving an AC Ace to earn his racing license. His first sports car events were with a Porsche he bought from a friend.
During the 1968 and 1969 season he raced a Dino 206 SP several times in England, Sweden, Italy and Portugal. His highest placement was finishing 6th overall in the Portugal Vila Real 6 Hour.
In 1971 he drove a 512 M for Ecurie Francorchamps at Le Mans, sharing the drives with Hugues De Fierlant but did not finish. He then took the car to Watkins Glen 6-hour and finished 4th overall with co-driver Lothar Motschenbacker.
De Cadenet then turned to Lola and competed over the next several years. He drove at Le Mans over thirteen times, even if he wasn’t competing elsewhere.
He began a new career as a presenter of TV programs about cars and aircraft for cable channels, including the Victory by Design series for the Speed Channel.
He was a fixture at vintage and classic racing events around the world, often driving vintage Alfa Romeos and describing their history.
Last of the privateers, he often bested factory teams. His exuberance in the pits at the racetrack will be missed.
1963 - 2022
Mark Lyon, founder and CEO of GTO Engineering, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday 1 May from a heart attack. A born leader and teacher, a genius dealmaker with a vision to restore, revive and race Ferraris around the globe, Mark grew GTO Engineering from him working in a single garage to operations in three countries with over 50 full-time staff.
Lyon paved the foundation for a successful, thriving, and dynamic business, with advisors and department heads working under his guidance.
GTO Engineering has three worldwide sites (Italy, UK and USA), and remains open for business.
1950 - 2022
Silvano Toni, one of Maranello’s most well-known entrepreneurs, passed away August 21, 2022. The founder of Toni Auto, Franco Toni, worked in the Ferrari racing department in the 1950s. His son, Silvano Toni also followed his father’s footsteps to Ferrari.
In 1975 Toni Auto was formed and over the decades Silvano poured into his business a great passion for historic cars and supercars, with a professional quality and attention to detail that was recognized internationally. In his management of the family business, in his ability to root it in his own land and in his craftsmanship, we find the most representative elements of our territorial identity, based above all on the love for Ferrari.
The attention with which he took care of the cars, Silvano united an innate sympathy and a jovial character that made it easier for him to see the aesthetic and positive side of things.
His sons Davide and Andrea are the future. Both are passionate and knowledgeable; they share the same experience handed down over time.
They are the guardians of the most important and valuable aspect that has always made Toni Auto one of the most prestigious in this field: the historical memory.
JOHN LYLE “JACK” BABBITT
April 10, 1940 - June 10, 2022
John Lyle “Jack” Babbitt, age 82, of Westerville, OH, passed away June 10, 2022. Born April 10, 1940, to Lyle J. and Dorothy L. (Braun) Babbitt. Survived by his wonderful wife of 57 years, Nancy Jane (Miller) Babbitt; sons, Geoffrey Alan (Aisling) Babbitt of Dublin, OH and Gregory Alan (Callie) Babbitt of Rochester, NY; grandchildren, Nora Caroline Babbitt, Colin Lyle Babbitt and Sheamus John Babbitt; brother, Bruce Edward (Aldona) Babbitt of Delaware, OH; cousins, nieces and nephews.
In 1999 Jack founded NJB Automotive, a full-service repair and restoration shop in Central Ohio. He grew the business to include buying, selling and brokerage services of Italian exotics, and later added storage, detailing, consulting, and financing services which allowed him to expand his mechanical equipment by adding the latest diagnostic systems. Many of the cars that came through his shop have graced the concours field at regional and national events.
Jack was a friend of so many and a large figure in the Ferrari world. Many of his clients trusted his advice and recommendations for service on their Ferrari. This comment was found online: He was a great guy to talk to and an even better person. Hardworking, helpful, kind and honest are words often repeated in tributes to Jack. Everyone has good things to say about Jack.
Also known for his sense of humor, Jack would give out little yellow rubber ducks and his customers have sent him photos from all over the world of his NJB ducks in all sorts of locations and poses. To honor Jack, the Ferrari Club of America – Ohio Chapter, created a Jack Babbitt Memorial Award in honor of his time, dedication and generosity. Yep, the award sports a yellow rubber duck.
Kevin Perry who worked with Jack for many years has assumed responsibility for the shop and is working with the family during the transition.
WILLIAM FREEMAN RUDD
July 1, 1930 – May 9, 2022
I am saddened at the passing of William F. Rudd, or as he was known to many, Bill. I worked for and with him for about a decade. Bill was like a grandfather to me. He was meticulous, innovative, and a visionary who taught me the majority of what I know about Ferrari parts and collecting data on them.
While he had his repair shop on Oxnard Street in Van Nuys, he began to expand the parts department to stock more parts for the cars in his shop. Getting parts back in the day wasn’t quick or easy. Nor was obtaining any information or even parts books.
He began to obsessively document any information he could gain from the parts. Sizes of bearings and oil seals with brand names and dimensions so he could possibly source parts stateside instead of mailing a letter or later a Telex to Europe and impatiently wait for the ship to come in.
He eventually closed the repair shop and moved the parts to a building on Delano Street in Van Nuys. The parts business began to grow as word spread that this was a great source for parts.
He set up the warehouse with the parts by groups and started to make “kits” for common services. Kits were pre-packaged in per car or per job quantities. Since the business was at this point a mail order, this made pulling parts much easier for shipping.
Pull a couple prepackaged kits instead of 27 separate parts there was less chaos and more product moving out when UPS showed up. He stocked parts from a mechanical perspective which served him well.
I believe it was after the 1994 Northridge earthquake when he moved the business to Scottsdale, AZ. It was here that I came on board. He revolutionized the Ferrari parts industry and the processes he developed are still in use today. Rest in peace, my friend. From Brian Keegan
January 13, 1935 - November 2, 2022
One of the best-known Ferrari engineers has passed on at the age of 87.
Forghieri’s name is nearly as synonymous as Ferrari’s other great engineers. Colombo, Lampredi and Forghieri each have etched their place within Ferrari history.
Reclus Forghieri, Mauro’s father, was a machinist and after the war was hired by Ferrari. The son earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Bologna.
Needing a job, Mauro’s father recommended his son to Ferrari. In 1960 he began work as an apprentice in the engine department. Working alongside other excellent engineers such as Jano, Chiti and Bazzi he had experienced talent to learn from.
Near the end of his second year with Ferrari the great Palace Revolt left Forghieri alone in the engineering department and Enzo Ferrari promoted him on the spot to head the racing program.
At the age of 27 he was responsible for the entire racing technical design and engineering, but also other technical development elsewhere in the factory.
Many of the sports cars fielded over the next nearly two decades had been overseen by Forghieri. The 250 GTO, and P-Series sports cars all owe their success to his capable skills.
In Formula One, the 156 V-8 engine was designed by him and later the 312 F1 engines that powered not only Formula cars but also used in the 312 P and 312 PB sports cars were credited to him.
In addition to engines, he also drafted the first monocoque chassis Ferrari ever used. His expertise extended to production cars with him having a hand in solving technical problems with these cars.
Clearly, the racing program required much in the way of time and expertise, but it paid off in many ways. Eight Constructors’ Championships were under his watchful eye including back-to-back-to-back wins in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and another back-to-back Constructors’ win in 1982 and 1983.
Between 1961 and 1987, Forghieri was instrumental in helping Ferrari win five drivers championships. Names like Hill, Surtees, Lauda and Scheckter all owe their wins to him.
In 1987, Forghieri left Ferrari to pursue other interests. He spent some time with Lamborghini and designed a V-12 used by the Larrousse/Lola F1 team in 1989.
Later he became the technical director of Bugatti in 1992 and stayed until 1994 working on the EB 110 and EB 112.
In 1995 he founded the Oral Engineering Group, a mechanical design company that was involved in the design and development of automotive, marine and motorcycle engines.
Even in retirement Forghieri kept his mind active with small projects and research. He was a fixture at many vintage events where his creations were being used on the track as Ferrari and Forghieri intended.
Possibly even more influential in Ferrari history than any other engineer, Forgheri stands tall. Grazie per tutto quello che avete fatto.