Rare Italian Beauty: 1952 Bandini 750 Sport Siluro

When an individual embarks upon the process of forming a car company and makes the decision to assign its products a three-digit chassis number, then the chances are pretty good that they have no intention of attempting to usurp manufacturers like General Motors as an automotive giant. Such is the case for Bambini Automobili, which was founded in 1946 by Ilario Bandini, and operated until Mr. Bandini’s passing in 1992. During those years of operation, Bandini Automobili produced a mere 75 cars, but they were handcrafted works of beauty, that also incorporated some very clever engineering. Barn Finder Peter R spotted this little classic for us, so thank you so much for that Peter. Our feature car is chassis #003, which was built in 1952. It is located in Campoforogna, Italy, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has currently reached $130,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

So often, tracing the history and information about a car like this Bandini can be incredibly difficult. That is not the case with this one, although while it hasn’t been particularly easy, it was interesting to discover that there is a lot of information out there if you are prepared to dig around a bit. Information on the car’s early life is greatly helped by the fact that the family of Ilario Bandini has maintained his workshop and all of his production records as a museum since he passed away in 1992. Chassis #003 was built in 1952 from a steel frame. It was then left with legendary coachbuilder Rocco Motto to construct an all-aluminum body. This work was performed on three of Bandini’s Siluro model cars, and these are easy to distinguish due to the concealed headlights which pop out from the sides of the vehicle’s nose when in operation. Two of the cars were shipped immediately to the USA, while chassis #003 remained in Italy as Mr. Bandini’s personal competition vehicle. The car followed its siblings to the US in 1956, and remained there for many years. It eventually underwent a complete restoration, before returning to Italy in the early 2000s. Once back in Italy, the final step in the restoration was to re-install its distinctive cycle fenders. The restoration appears to have been painstaking, as the presentation of the little Bandini is basically flawless.

The interior of the Bandini is pretty basic, which befits a car that was designed specifically for competition use. There are no adornments, except for some limited padding and upholstery on the lightweight wrap-around seats. The upholstery on the driver’s seat is stretched, but if the information that I have been able to locate is accurate, then it is the original material from 1952.

The engine is where chassis #003 really stands out. It is hard to believe that what you are looking at commenced its life as a 724cc Crosley CIBA engine. Bandini found the basic engine to be well-suited to his purpose of competing successfully in sub-750cc sports car racing, but the search was on for more power. As a result, Bandini managed to develop a twin-cam cylinder head for the engine. Eventually, there was a second type of head designed, but the one on this one is original to this car, and one of only three of this design produced by Bandini. Apart from this head, the whereabouts of one other is currently known, while the third head disappeared many years ago. So while it might be possible to spot another Bandini with a twin-cam engine, engines with this particular style of cylinder head are the rarest, making these the most valuable Bandinis today.

This Bandini 750 Sport Siluro is a fascinating car, and for a car from a low-volume manufacturer, it is refreshing to be able to find some reliable information on it. The twin-cam engine puts it in pretty exclusive company, and determining a value for it is extremely difficult. However, this is not the first time that this particular car has been on the market. I was able to trace it back to an auction 3-years ago, where it sold for $421,000. This auction will be an interesting one to watch.

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Comments

  1. ccrvtt

    The words “achingly beautiful” come immediately to mind.

    Followed closely by “out of my league”…

    24
  2. Chuckster

    Seriously cute, but I don’t think I would fit in but love to have it. Now where is that lottery ticket?

    4
  3. Ikey Heyman Member

    Twin cam Crosley CIBA engine? Right there, that makes my day.

    8
    • doug

      I read Crosley too, but it says Crosey in the description . I sure hope it winds up in Philadelphia, would love to see it.

      2
    • Adam Clarke Adam Clarke Staff

      Hi Ikey and doug, it is definitely a Crosley CIBA engine with a Bandini developed twin-cam head. The spelling in the eBay listing is an error. I was able to verify this across multiple resources. Bandini actually made two types of twin-cam heads for the Crosley engine. This one is the rarer of the two.

      4
  4. LARRY

    Wait…what!!?? No dust or rust!!?? Wrong website

    5
    • Mike S

      It looks like two people decided to design this car and agreed that one would design the front half, the other the rear half, and put their plans together in in a couple of months. The back end design looks much older and out of the 1930s. Just my opinion. I like both ends but not together.

  5. Big Doc Member

    That would be so much fun to drive.

    1
  6. BR

    Even Indy cars of the ’50’s had this look, sans fenders. I can picture Bill Vukovich sitting in it. Timeless beauty.

    2
    • John

      Would he have fit? He was about 12 feet tall as I remember.

      2
  7. Vince

    A rare piece of Italian art

    3
  8. John

    What a beauty! This is a make I haven’t seen or heard of before. Always good to learn something new in my old age.

    2
  9. KevinLee

    Looks like a full size slot car.

    2
  10. Cliff reuter

    This was not the personal car of Bandini but was shipped new to the US. It did not have a twin cam head originally, it was added in the during the restoration. Sad actually because they had to modify the engine compartment to make it fit. How do I know this? Because my family has owned 4 Bandinis and we still have one. My etceterini.com web site has all of the original Bandinis listed and all the fakes are left out. The car featured on Ebay is listed on my page

    4

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