Bandini Barchetta Restoration

1956 BandiniBandinis are too precious to waste, my friends. Thankfully, the crew at D&D Classics agrees. The car was quite a mess when the pulled it from an open shed in 2002. A weaker stomach would have just given up on her. The aluminum body panels were bad enough, but once they cracked the engine a gearbox, it just got worse and worse. Seriously, the photos of the gearbox internals are enough to make you ill.

This Bandini has an interesting history all it’s own. This very early single overhead cam Crosley powered version was imported to New York in ’56 and to be delivered to Flash Gordon creator Alex Raymond. Sadly, Raymond was killed in a car crash before he was able to take delivery. The car sat for a year before being snatched up by Connecticut racer, George Tipsword who took the Bandini to a few podiums. The car changed hands several times before arriving in the service station of Larry Melsheimer, who held the car for 30 years waiting to restore it. Apparently, the car is still under restoration with her new owner in Germany. I’m looking forward to seeing it complete. I absolutely adore these little Bandinis.

Bandini before restorationFor more on the marque, Etceterini is the definitive source.

Barchetta: Italian for Awesome.

Stanguellini BarchettaActually it means “little boat”; but still, have you ever seen a barchetta that wasn’t absolute beauty on wheels?

Take this 1949(!) Stanguellini Barchetta Sport Colli 1100 currently in the inventory of Digit Motorsport in Arizona. In a method that Carlo Abarth would perfect decades later, the car is based on a Fiat chassis with an 1100 cc Fiat motor—both heavily modified by the Stanguellini crew in Modena. This is a pure Mille Miglia machine, with FIA papers tracing it’s history all the way back to it’s 1948 build date.

While there doesn’t seem to be any specific provenance placing this car at the Mille or Targa Florio, it’s hard to imagine that it never competed in either. 1949 was, after all, very early in sportscar manufacturing. It may only make a whopping 60 horses, but I imagine the thrill is every bit as visceral as driving the latest from Lamborghini or Ferrari.

I fell in love with the barchettas fully and completely at this year’s Continental Grand Prix at Autobahn Country Club at the foot of a Siata 300 Barchetta. I could barely tear myself away from it. Is there any barchetta of any make that isn’t magnificent? The Ferrari 166MM. The Maserati A6. The OSCA MT-4. The Siata I love so dearly. Each deserving of their own posts in a future installment of The Chicane. Hmm.. that’s a good idea.

The early Italian carrozzerias had it right, small engine, small body, beautiful lines.