Monday, February 24, 2014
There used to be a time when we were much more ingenuous about the world and ourselves, more inclined to put ourselves at risk for the sake of curiosity and discover. It probably felt like we were free to roam the world while at the same time enjoying the latest and best in technology, with more news traveling around the world as never before and that probably let more and more people to feel the need to leave their mark in some way.
That's a way too see the almost itch-like resurgence in activities of all sort that took place in Europe after World War II and elsewhere too. While many ended up creating their own companies setting the market on fire, others were more satisfied filling their everyday life whit something perhaps less ground breaking or necessary, but much more personal. Backyard projects were all over the place.
We've probably lost this in the last 10 or more years, I feel like people are quite satisfied with what the market provides as it surely got better and better, but also because it's much simpler to just pick something rather than "making" something. Mark Wahlber would say "Don't be a don't-er, be a do-er". Well, he kind of crossed the line, but you get the itch-like feeling of really needing to do something with your time, right?
While this could be the introduction prologue to many companies established between the 60s and the 80s and probably even later, if you consider software companies real companies in the same old fashioned way of course, the man I'm going to introduce is one who could be considered as one in dire need of a backyard project, a man who didn't embrace what came next, full size companies, computers, mass production and all of that.
Enter Moreno Filandi.
You'd be forgiven to mix him with Santa Claus bringing you a bright yellow hand made exotic, indeed when we took the time for a long conversation this man showed the same placid and quite temper it would take to deliver gifts and presents to little kids all over the world, or build a car from scratch with nothing other than his bare hands and tons of aluminum and steel chunks. I could do the latter, definitely not the first.
While Italian readers may already know the low metallic beast in front of their eyes, I guess people from the rest of the world may be clueless in front of this car. This is the Filandi Uragano, a car that took more than 5 years to be completed, between March 2004 and November 2009.
The proud work of his creator, it was sculpted rather than built, with no aid from a computer or any other modern techniques. You could well say this is a one-off, a unique car, as there are no blueprints and even if you could convince Mr Filandi to build a second car, it couldn't be like this one.
The power comes from an Audi-sourced V8 turbocharged for good measure, but the chassis is custom made in chrome-molybdenum steel. The bodywork is all aluminum. as most of the car too. Eventually, it tips the scale at 1.160 kg, and with 605 bhp and 552 Nm of torque providing motivation, it must be a hell of ride.
Now I've read many times hard comments about its look, and I'll admit that it isn't for the faint of heart, it doesn't flow like a Pininfarina design or it doesn't strike as something modern yet cohesive as something from Mercedes-Benz, McLaren or any other Nordic company. At the same time, it's not supposed to be, as it was built by his creator for his own appetite for something unique and personal, very personal. We found out that Mr Filandi takes great pleasure in creating and forging just about everything out of aluminum, from cars to furnitures and design elements, be he doesn't look so interested in selling them. What he seems to care about is a spark in the visitors and bystanders wishing to do something as personal as he did. There is no price tag on this car, no bragged abilities about its construction and he isn't even really advertising his body shop Carrozzeria Moderna in Fontanelice, between Imola and Bologna (where else?!). Just ask him about his car, why he built it and what it takes to do something like this, and words will start to flow. He is a man of passion and he's just looking forward to share it. No elitist attitude, just a nice chat with an old friend at the bar.
There is a nice anecdote about this: in September 2010 he was invited at a new uber-elitist car fair organized by MAC Group, which is also behind the Mille Miglia historical recreation. Called "Uniques, special ones", the fair was about extremely low production cars and one-offs, both from the good old days and from the present, so you could expect anything from Alfa Romeo from the 30s, Ferraris from the 60s and 70s, and whatever Bertone, Zagato, Pininfarina and other coachbuilders came up with in all their years, plus some modern exotics. Held in the luxurious Four Seasons hotel in Florence (Tuscany, Italy of course) the public itself had to be invited, so I guess they had to come up with something like VVVIP for the most aristocratic ones. Eventually, the Filandi Uragano won the "People's Choice Award".
While Mr Filandi was all over himself and proud of his 5000 hours of hard work, the organizers were probably less than pleased, as they eventually reached Mr Filandi and let him know the prize was being retired without giving much of an explanation. Of course now he didn't look like Santa at all.
I felt like the MAC Group was indeed pushing hard on the elitist thing before, simply considering the way the Mille Miglia was run (organization wise) and even the simple process of media accreditation was getting like a showing off contest. So I could really understand his frustration, but also figured that was really not the place for him, unfortunately. Now the Uniques fair has moved to Moscow, so problem solved.
At this point I wondered what he was looking for at the various fairs I met him. While kids and youngsters are captured by the bright yellow and blue finish and the aggressive shark-like vents in the body, adults, deep-pocket white collars and wannabes in general didn't waste much time to check the car or the man. Truth be told, they were the same kind of people overlooking the equally eye-catching Spada Vettur Sport CodaTronca parked next to the Uragano once, another bold and peculiar creation. I reckon not everyone is into cars and even less into un-mainstream cars, then again, if you're at a car fair...
These pictures come from two separate occasions: the Luxury&Yachts 2010 fair in Vicenza, Italy, and the 2013 Modena Antiquaria fair in Modena, Italy.
He has now moved on to a second project, named Filandi Ever.S, which will be featured here soon. Watch this space for more.
All Pictures and Words Copyright: Damiano Garro for The Italian Junkyard
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