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Bandini was born in Villa Rovere, today part of the administrative region of Forlì in Romagna. After finishing elementary school, he apprenticed as a mechanic and turner in Forli. At the age of 25 he moved to Eritrea, then an Italian colony, where he operated a transport business between Dekemhare and Asmara. He returned to Italy in 1939 and, with his savings, opened a garage and car rental/limousines ervice in downtown Forlì.
The first Bandini
In the same year, Bandini started competing as a motorcycle racer, racing at Faenza, Lugo di Romagna, and Imola. In 1940, he took part in the Mille Miglia, driving a Fiat Balilla "Coppa d'oro". During World War II, faced with shortages of fuel for civilian use, Bandini adapted his automobile engines to operate with wood gas. In 1946, he reassembled a Fiat 1100 that he had cut apart and hidden to avoid its requisition by the German army. He modified the chassis and suspension while rebuilding the car. Fitted with an aluminum body, the work of Turin coachbuilder Rocco Motto, this car became the Bandini 1100, the first to carry the Bandini name.
Even though he was best remembered as a car builder, he also had a flare for engineering and mechanics. His skills and knowledge led him to create and patent inventions. He is characterized as a short man who had a passion for life that matched his enthusiasm and his excitement.
By the age of 27, having experience working and studying as a mechanic, Bandini began his own company. The era was 1938 and the world was still suffering from the after-shocks of World War II. Many of the manufacturers that had existed before the war were gone or their factories had been destroyed or converted into creating machinery for military purposes. Bandini began making small vehicles; most were intended for sports and racing. Some where weekend drivers while others were built specifically for the racing circuit. Bandini favored spiders and coupes. He used Fiat and American Crossley engines which he would modify to increase the overall output and performance. Most were 760 cc through 1300 cc. The engines were originally placed in the front of the vehicles but this changed when mid-engine design started to become popular. Quickly realizing the benefits of mid-engine placement, he was one of the first manufactures to build vehicles in this form.
Many of the vehicles built with the intention of being raced were created for the 750 cc. class. The vehicles were important vitalizing the junior league of Italian racing.
As was the case with much of the European vehicles, they were all hand made. During the height of the Bandini empire, he employed fifteen mechanics, each capable of building one car per month. Throughout his entire car-building career, 75 vehicles were created that carried the Bandini badge.
In 1992 he was 81. Having lived a long life, he passed away. At many vintage sporting events, the Bandini built automobiles can still be found. A museum in Forli houses have some examples of the Bandini sports cars.
Since 1992, in Bandini's last workshop, Ilario's family has preserved all documents and collected the most representative cars for display. Ten Bandinis are in the museum and are shown by appointment. From total 75 cars, 47 Bandinis exist in the world today and are acknowledged by the Register. They are owned all over the world from the U.S. to Japan.
The Bandini badge design came from the symbol of his home town. It featured a bantam rooster crowing.
With Dr.Dino Bandini nephew of the famous Ilario Bandini, owner of Bandini Museo & car collection, a worderful person with knowledge and sensitive, another one member of Bandini family is Michele Orsi Bandini (Ilario's grandson), Michele has shouldered the difficult task of keeping alive the Bandini history.