Designer of the Maserati MC12 Explains How It Could’ve Been So Much Better

Frank Stephenson makes sketching up supercars look remarkably easy.

byPeter Holderith|
Maserati News photo


I've always thought the Maserati MC12 was the Ferrari Enzo's more handsome, more interesting cousin. It's a classic-looking race car shape, and you just can't beat that big Maserati trident in the front grille. It's a joy, then, to hear the background story of the design from the man who penned the MC12, Frank Stephenson. 

Stephenson has a long, storied history of successful car designs, from the Ford Escort RS Cosworth to BMW's first Mini Cooper. He recently started a YouTube channel to showcase these designs and the design process behind them. Needless to say, the MC12 is a good car to get the background story on.

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He talks us through a lot of the design decisions that went into the car, and also what stuff had to be kept in the design from the Enzo. For those who are not familiar, the MC12 shares a ton of components with the Ferrari Enzo, like its 621-horsepower, 6.0-liter V12, its six-speed sequential transmission, and a plethora of other mechanical parts. However, it's a stretch to say one is just a re-bodied version of the other. 

But even the small similarities in the designs of the two cars bothered Stephenson, especially the driver and passenger windows. For whatever reason—almost certainly cost—Stephenson was forced to retain the same side glass profile from the Enzo. That means the design is a little compromised in its profile. Thankfully, Stephenson sketches out what the car would've looked like if he had his way. Of course, it looks better.

He also goes into detail about the car's functional design components, like the various intakes and exhausts used to manage the heat within the car's systems. Stephenson insists throughout the video that things that work beautifully just end up looking beautiful, and seeing the way the MC12 both looks and performs, it's hard to refute that point.

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