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Ilario Bandini: from Forlì to the United States

Motor Valley Stories

Ilario Bandini (Forlì, 18 April 1911 – Forlì, 12 April 1992) was an Italian car driver, entrepreneur and builder.
After finishing elementary school, he immediately started working as a mechanic and turner in a workshop in Forlì. Twenty-five years old, he left for Eritrea, an Italian colony, where he put to good use the experience he had accumulated by repairing trucks and transport from Decamerè to Asmara. Back in Italy in 1939, using his savings, he opened a garage in the center of Forlì as well as a car rental business with and without drivers.
In the same year, he started competing as a motorcyclist participating in the Faenza circuit, at the Lugo di Romagna circuit and at the Imola race. In 1940 he took part in his first Mille Miglia with a Fiat Balilla Coppa d’oro. During the Second World War, to cope with the lack of fuel for civil use, he equipped his cars with gas-fired plants. In 1946, re-assembling the Fiat 1100, which had dismantled and hidden from the German requisitions, he modified the chassis and suspension system. The aluminum body was the work of the Rocco Motto from Turin. This is how the first Bandini car was born.

In 1975, Ilario was the head of Bandini Drivers Group who had successfully worked on organizing a fair dedicated to motoring. Until 1979, the McLaren Formula 1 of James Hunt (’76) and the Ferrari of Niki Lauda (’77) participated, as well as tens of thousands of visitors attending. The fair was interrupted because of the concomitance with that (today known as Motorshow but born in 1976) of Bologna, which had many larger and adequate premises.
Ilario was also decisive in organizing the uphill run Predappio-Rocca (Forlì) of 1978 which had been interrupted ten years earlier.
In mid 1981 he received an honorary degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New York, while a Bandini car was exhibited at the Marconi Museum in Los Angeles. Further recognitions followed, such as the gold medal from the Municipality of Forlì and the medal awarded to him by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) “As a proper recognition of many years dedicated to Italian sport”.
In 1985, he wore the helmet one last time in Predappio with his 1300 16 Valvole.

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