Stanguellini is famous around the world for having been one of the Modena greats of race car manufacturing but it was most importantly a company made of people and their stories. A passion for engines is a common theme in these stories and it was strong in the heart of Danilo Tavoni, one of the key figures of the golden era of Italian motorsport.
Born in Modena on 10 December 1935, Danilo Tavoni—nicknamed the “Battilastra” (“panel-beater” in English)—worked for 15 years at the factory in Via Schedoni, where he learned the craft and refined his technique. Tavoni was remarkably skilled at “beating” aluminium body panels and welding tailpipes and frames. He was fondly rechristened “hands of gold” by Enzo Ferrari and Vittorio Stanguellini, who thought highly of him.
Thanks to his technical skills and determination, Danilo Tavoni contributed to making Stanguellini a motorsport great. You still hear his name in race car circles, even after his death in 2020.
Although very few people had the privilege of watching Danilo Tavoni at work, those who were lucky enough to cross paths with this very petite yet incredibly strong man were impressed by his mastery in the factory and his unlimited creativity.
Using a little imagination, remarkable manual skills and an acute sensitivity, he could turn a plain piece of sheet metal into an essential vehicle component. Add into the mix Vittorio Stanguellini’s experience and the result was extraordinary cars.
Tavoni, barely an adolescent when he started working at Via Schedoni, left as a man and professional whose unique abilities were recognised and respected by everyone in the field. This opened the door to a brilliant career at Sant’Agata’s Lamborghini and, after, at Glem Gas, as a kitchen prototyping and sheet metal expert.
However, even after he retired, his passion for engines and vehicles never waned and he invested his time making aluminium motorcycle parts (such as mudguards and fuel tanks) and even custom two-wheelers with a sporty edge.
Today, the Stanguellini Museum houses the classic tools of his craft, including the wooden block he utilised to beat and form the sheet metal by hand. These tools are a testament to the work and dedication of one of the people who shaped the history of the brand.
Thank you Danilo!