MOMO & FERRARI – a lasting relationship

Momo wouldn’t be the same without Ferrari

Unfortunately, we can’t ask anyone today if they believed that John Surtees’ Formula 1 World Championship victory in 1964 in a Ferrari 158 F1 ultimately led to Momo’s success story and at the same time established the closest relationship in the history of the Momo company. I have to put it another way, in case it slipped through: Momo didn’t exist back then and would never have become what it is today without this collaboration.

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Gianpiero Moretti and his beginnings

Gianpiero Moretti, who was a racing driver himself back then in the 1960s and he had a local craftsman make a steering wheel for his race car. It was slightly smaller but had a way thicker grip than all the other steering wheels available at that time. It did not last long and other racing drivers quickly became aware of the special steering wheel Gianpiero had in his race car. And even less before they asked him if he could make them a steering wheel like that too. That was the beginning of the Momo story. One of these drivers was John Surtees. After his success at the 1964 World Championships and a rather great attention on his steering wheel, Gianpiero turned his passion into a business and started MOMO – for Moretti Monza.

So not only did the story begin for Momo, but also for the ongoing relationship between Momo and Ferrari, by the way to this day and probably into the future as well. In the following years, Momo partnered with other car manufacturers as well, Porsche, Lotus, Maserati, Alfa Romeo but also brands like Alpina and Abarth, to name a few. But Ferrari always remained something very special, something exclusive, also in terms of the partnership. For example, special steering wheels as standard equipment, which were later also available in retail stores in order to expand the business and not to be dependent on manufacturers and racing successes. Often in a slightly modified version, sometimes just named differently.

Momo and Ferrari’s partnership extended well beyond racing, as said, Momo fitted steering wheels to a variety of road-going versions of Ferrari’s most successful models. Some of these steering wheels became icons far beyond Ferrari and became real bestsellers in retail. The scent of the wide world, of racing – it has never been so easy to build a bit of the world stage into, say, a Fiat. It was not uncommon for a few fans to attach a few small black and yellow horses at the same time.

Iconic Ferrari steering wheels made by Momo

Of course, many Ferrari fans first think of the legendary Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona steering wheel, the one with the many screw connections, 18 to be precise. Unfortunately I can’t show it, the one I held in my hands was in bad condition and reupholstered in poor quality, that didn’t make my collector’s heart beat. But there are a few others, the iconic 308 steering wheel for example, or that of the Ferrari Testarossa. The basic design for Ferrari road versions remained unchanged for a long time. From the Daytona to the Testarossa, apart from the fittings, the bold and at the same time design remained almost unchanged. 

The Ferrari 208 / 308 / 328 / 365 / 512 steering wheel by Momo

One of the icons of course is the 365mm Ferrari steering wheel made by Momo that was standard equipment in several but not all Ferrari 208, Ferrari 308, Ferrari 328, Ferrari 365 and Ferrari 512. It was available in black leather with either silver or black anodized spokes, had a diameter of 365mm and a thickness of 28mm. It was available in semi dish only from the mid 1970’s until 1979.

Ferrari 208 308 328 365 512 Steering Wheel

Ferrari 208 308 328 365 512 steering wheel

Ferrari 208 308 328 365 512 Steering Wheel - Scuderia Horn Button

Ferrari horn button, made by Momo

The Ferrari steering wheel that became the Testarossa wheel

Small changes to the design of the Ferrari steering wheel were made in 1980. Small, barely visible, but noticeable. At least some. The steering wheel rim got something like a profile, flattened out on the front and these wavy finger grips on the back for even more precise grip. It was available in black only and it’s grown, not much, but 5mm in diameter. It is unclear whether it was due to Momo’s focus on a few sizes or a special wish from Ferrari. Otherwise it is completely the same. That steering wheel has been used as standard equipment for a number of Ferrari models, the last one was the Ferrari Testarossa.

And this particular steering wheel model was also retailed by Momo as Momo Gritti, in several variants, from 1980 onwards.

Ferrari Testarossa 512 BB Steering Wheel - by Momo

Ferrari Testarossa steering wheel made by Momo

Ferrari Testarossa Steering Wheel For Sale - Ferrari Logo Horn Button

Ferrari horn button also made by Momo

Interesting side note, for the Ferrari 412, manufactured from 1985-1989, Momo changed the look and feel of that particular steering wheel to give it a more modernised appearance. It received a center horn pad which completely covered the spokes. In this context, the thumb pads were also adjusted so that there was a straight transition from the wheel itself to the center horn pad. 

Another popular Ferrari steering wheel – Momo Cavallino

Another steering wheel found a lot in vintage Ferraris these days is the Momo Cavallino. This too came in several variants, Cavallino 1, 2 and 3, but only the Cavallino 1, as seen here, is directly associated with Ferrari. Not only because the Ferrari horse pranks on the middle spoke, but also because it was available directly from the Ferrari factory. Originally, the Momo Cavallino has been derived from the Momo Ferrari F1 racing steering wheels programme. Many of us remember the look of the Ferrari 312T steering wheels. If you hold them side by side, you can clearly see the relationship between these steering wheels. The idea behind this wheel was not to create a steering wheel for a specific Ferrari car but a Momo steering wheel that embodies sportiness as well as Ferraris Formula 1 heritage. As said, a lot of Ferrari owners are still putting this steering wheel into their Ferraris – due to the heritage of course but also because of the size and the thick grip.
It was manufactured by Momo in the late 1970’s until the early 1980’s in two diameters, 350 and 380mm. Both had a thickness of 32mm, relatively thick compared to the other wheels. 
Ferrari 206 208 248 306 308 348 Dino Cavallino Steering Wheel For Sale

Ferrari Cavallino steering wheel made by Momo

Ferrari 206 208 248 306 308 348 Dino Cavallino Steering Wheel For Sale - Ferrari Button

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