1957 Bandini 750 Sport Internazionale "Saponetta"
Dr.Dino Bandini nephew of the famous Ilario Bandini with Bandini 750 Sport Internazionale "Saponetta" from 1957
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The Bandini DOHC ‘Saponetta’ – the body being a hand hammered aluminum body emerged in 1957. ‘Saponetta’ meaning little soap bar for being small and slippery. The engine consisted of a heavily modified Crosley block with an aluminum twin cam cylinder head designed by Ilario Bandini. Using twin Weber 32DCOA3 carburetors, the 747cc engine produced 68 H.P with a maximum rpm of 8,500.
This car first raced in the Mille Miglia 1957 edition and up to 1962, it would race in many other races on circuits like Monza and Vallelunga, but also competed in many hillclimbs. In total 9 Saponettas were to be exported to the USA, the first of which arrived in 1959. The cars were raced extensively and very successfully in the SCCA championship at locations such as Watkins Glen during the 60’s.
The unique patented oval tubing, lightweight engine, and aluminum body formed one of the lightest race cars built in its day.
Bandini Automobili was an Italian automobile manufacturer operating between 1946 and 1992. It was named after its founder Ilario Bandini founded in 1946 in Bandini’s hometown Forlì, the first Bandini used a modified Fiat 1100 engine, the body was made from hand hammered aluminum and the chassis from aviation-grade tubular steel. Many other post-war Italian sports car companies followed a similar design. But Bandini’s sharp mind, racing knowledge and his eye for detail ensured that Bandini cars were a force to be reckoned with in Europe and the US.
Interest in America surged when Bandini Siluros, with their screaming 750-cc engines and wildly flared front fenders, won SCCA class championships in 1955 and 1957. His slightly modified Crosley engines became famous thanks their DOHC Bandini heads. Bandini himself continued to race in Italy, including the Mille Miglia, while newer models were being built and developed at the factory. One of these included the new 1957 Sport International "Saponetta".
Ilario divided his time between design and manufacturing of the cars, and as a race driver. He entered and drove his cars in more than 60 races, both hillclimb events and track racing, including the Mille Miglia from 1947 until 1965, achieving 19 first-place finishes and 18 podiums in the 750cc and 1000cc classes.
In the United States, Bandini cars won the SCCA HM class championship in 1955 thanks to driver Dolph Vilardi. In 1957 Melvin Sachs won the HM class, one of five Bandini's in the first ten positions. The successes resulted in Ilario being presented with the Gold Key of Daytona and later in 1981 the Laurea H.C. award in mechanical engineering from PRODEO university of New York. In 1959 he produced one of the most successful Formula Juniors. Bandinis won SCCA Class HMod races well into the mid-1960s. A Bandini Siluro won the SCCA Southwest Regional Championship from 1961–1963 and the Saponetta took 3rd place in the National Hmod class in 1961. Bandini continued to make one-off cars well into the 1980s. Ilario, sometimes known as the "Great Drake of Forli" died in 1992.
How can I express my feelings about something like that? The Bandini experience is one of the best moments in my life,is like a magic hand to go back in time, where everything was more genuine, human and romantic! Vasileios Papaidis