The Italian Junkyard

Thoughts, ideas, criticism about cars. Interesting news and facts from the world of the automobile. Events in Italy and Modena. What you can find elsewhere, filtered through the eyes of a discerning enthusiast. Design, style, everything on the chopping block. Nobody is safe anymore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

6.3 Big, blue and Italian - Faralli & Mazzanti Antas V8

This is the Faralli & Mazzanti first creation, the Antas.
If you're one of those who went to see the “Speed Racer” movie from the Wachowski Brothers, perhaps you should remember this car as it was featured sometime in the movie. I didn't see it, and probably won't in the near future, so I'm not going to talk about this.

You should also remember about this car as it was unveiled 3 years ago.
At that time, the car had a simpler look but nonetheless it raised quite some discussions about its look, and its importance, somehow.
you know where to click for the full story, pics and videos too!

Aesthetically, smaller rims (then present ones) were present, the exhausts were completely hidden in the longerons under the doors, and there wasn't any sort of wing or diffuser at the back.
The main featured were its retrò look, curvaceous lines reminding of the drophead era, a long bonnet home of a old school carburetor fed V8 Maserati, the fin at the back for a split window effect and those tacky Lexus-like rear lights.
All in all I thought that I was liking this car, except the rear lights. The interior was a simple and opulent at the same time, covered in metal panels (or maybe those are plastic panels, I don't know) of the same color of the body except for the central console raw metal part on the upper part, and by leather on the lower one. The original mechanics being tipped by the weird position of the gear shifter, a bit too modern steering wheel showing off the brand's badge.

What was really interesting me was its nature of a new kind of coachbuild car. The donor car was a 1966 Maserati Quattroporte, the first series of the famous Italian exotic sedan. Then an aluminum handcrafted bodywork was sculpted around the adapteed chassis, the interior completely redesigned, and the mighty engine left untouched.
No matter what you think about it, Faralli & Mazzanti was out to make a point: if you think there is no car on the market that can suit you, they have the answer for you.
Whatever your tastes are, you just have to choose the donor car according to your preferences about the brand the the mechanical to be used. You can either bring a car of your own or let F&M find it for you once you decided for a specific model.
After a donor is available, the design starts. The style is developed according to your inputs and tastes and penned by their designers. When even this choice is taken, it's time to build your Antas.
First a light wired scheleton is made around the chassis just to give you an idea of what the actual product will look like in the flesh, then the body panels are hand made out of aluminum, and the car starts to take form.
Everynow and then, when significant improvement on the project are made, you will be invited in the middle of Tuscany, Italy, to see with your own eyes the stage of the project. Your residence will be an awesome Villa in the middle of countryside, and when you aren't busy staring at the car, tours of the area will be organized so to enjoy the world famous Tuscany. This will probably be a memorable year for you lucky...
There use to be only one requirement made by Faralli & Mazzanti: the donor car has to be a front engined rear wheel drive one. No matter if a coupe, a sedan or an open top.
Recently, the customization process has been available for mid engined cars as well, so if you're willing for a custom and more exclusive F430, here is your chance.

The result, their first creation is here for you to enjoy, with a couple of videos as well (new features at The Italian Junkyard!).

By the time the car reached the Top Marques for the second time in 2007, new rims by OZ found home in those mighty wheel arches, while new and exposed exhausts were visible under the doors.
A new air vents appeared right after the front wheels, as well as new rear view mirrors and a modified front spoiler in raw carbon fiber. The real news actually was the rear wing in carbon fiber as well.
Honestly, the rear wing isn't as bad as you might think, but overall the car was getting a little too busy now. The new chromed and 20” large rims weren't exactly cutting it, but in the Top Marques atmosphere they seemed right. Here is another video and few shots of the updated style.

The car was also present as the usual “Grande Parade Des Pilotes” at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans. At this event new rims were fitting the car, and these I think are pretty ugly by themselves, not even considering them coupled with the car, They are just too much race inspired for a road car, let alone for a classic looking car like this.
I think they ruined the car a little, definitely making it too much busy now. Rims are a small detail in a car, but they have a huge weight in its look.
Take a look at that you recognize it?

In 2008 plans for a brand new car were unveiled, the Vulca, and the Antas somehow faded into the background, at least in my mind.
We'll talk about the Vulca in a dedicated post of course.

Fast forward to 2009 and here we are the Salone Internazionale del Lusso, in Vicenza.
The Antas seems to be as it appeared at the Parade des Pilotes two years ago.
It's huge, you can really see the Quattroporte presence under its skin right for this, but it's quite elegant from the lateral view. The main point is the door, were lines come to mix themselves and create a strong and muscular area. It really gives power and dynamism to the whole side.
The rear has two issues, I think. The rear wing is a bit out of place, maybe just because the car is styled after an era when wings belonged just to planes, but probably a less busy design, more integrated with the body and perhaps even painted would do the job.
It's rather then fin to seem out of place, as there isn't another similar element on the rest of the car, as it happens for instance on some models of the famous Bugatti Type 57. This fin is not bad, but either the right feature for the rear end. Together with the carbon fiber wing, they create a bit too much extravagant detail.
The main issue remain the lights though. The transparent cover is simply wrong, and from the ¾ shots even their bubble form is a bit out of place. I'd suggest keeping the whole rear end much simpler, with perhaps drop shaped lights with a colored cover, and an accentuated drop shape for the whole back, especially the lower part where a diffuser is integrated.
I say this because the rear end makes the front almost dull, as it's too simple and plain compared to its “antagonist”. It isn't a bad design, but it isn't working with the rear part, and you couldn't say they belongs to the same car at a first glance. I have the feeling I may like the front a lot if it wasn't for the rear.
Personal opinions aside, the interior still looks perfect I think. It's what you were expecting in a Bentley 15 years ago, but with an exotic (or Italian?) touch. I definitely like it, especially the gear shifter inclined as it used to be in the old days.

If you are wondering if there are more Antas around the world, I don't know.
As it's a customization program, if another one exists, it won't look like this, and as I know a lot of you didn't like this design, perhaps this sounds like a good news for you. I don't mind this car really.
I recommend seeing the video were the car is driven on the road, it really helps getting the right perspective on its shape and look.
While if your wondering about where F&M came from, why you should trust them or the quality of their work, their credential is a tradition and experience on restoring classic cars the Cisitalia 202 or the Maserati 450 Zagato.
Regardless of what you think about this car though, now you know there is another coachbuilder to add to you list for when you'll be rich enough to own your own exclusive awesome car.

Images and videos, Copyright: F&M Auto Srl
Last two images of the 2007 Grande Parades des Pilotes
All other images Copyright: Damiano Garro

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