Ilario Bandini (1911-1992) was born as a farmers son in Forli in Italy. He followed a course to mechanic and started his own company in 1938. He called himself an inventor and car builder. He even could show some patents. He was an engineer as well: an Honoris Causa from an American university.
He definitely has built beautiful cars: about 75 since 1947. The most of them were small race cars which were very beloved directly after the war, but there followed wonderful sport coupes and touring cars as well. His cars were mostly provided with speeded up Fiat-engines, but Bandini built a lot of cars with American Crossley-engines as well.
That four cylinder engine wasn't old-fashioned in Bandinis time at all, which was from 1947 till 1952. It had upper camshafts which were driven by a standing shaft. A lot of times, Bandini provided the Crossley-engine with a self-made cylinder head with two camshafts and another crank-shaft, also made by himself of course. The turn of the engine stipulated the cylinder capacity.
During the golden time of the company (the fifties), there worked fifteen mechanics and man could build one car each month. In 1960, Bandini built even his engines in not less then seven different versions: from 760 cc till 1300 cc. When the mid engine came into fashion, Bandini was one of the first who built them in these ways: in spiders and coupes, for the circuit or for the sporting weekend driver.
Ilario Bandini was also the driver of his car and won a lot of races, specially hill climbs, but also took part in Millemiglia.
Bandinis aslo won the national SCCA championship (H Modified class) in 1955 and 1957.
Since 1959 he completed Bandini 850-1000 (1300 16 valve) engines and the last car he completed, the 1000 16 V supercharged was when he was 80 years old (1991).
He also endorsed steering wheels, from the 60s, and wheels from the 70s, all Bandini signed. His home town Forlì dedicated a square to Ilario Bandini.
(Special thanks to Michele Orsi Bandini for all content and assistance).
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