Did you know that, before it moved into the automotive sector, Stanguellini used to produce orchestral timpani? It was in 1879 that twenty-year-old Celso Stanguellini, Vittorio’s grandfather, founded the company that bore his name. Its business was the sale of musical instruments, and it became extremely successful after he developed and produced a device for tuning them.
The patented Stanguellini System Timpani dominated the market, being chosen for the orchestra conducted by no less an authority than Maestro Arturo Toscanini himself.
So the family’s entrepreneurial flair was obvious from the outset, and was confirmed by Celso’s son Francesco, who started his own business selling, renting out and building bicycles in the centre of Modena in the year 1900, when he was just 21 years old.
However, the allure of the motor car proved irresistible, launching the automotive era, in which Stanguellini was to play a major role for over a century.
The company’s rise to success
When people think of Italy’s Motor Valley – the name given to the industrial and cultural district of the Emilia-Romagna region home to some of the world’s top car and motorcycle constructors – the first big names that spring to mind are Ferrari and Maserati.
But alongside these giants there is another Italian company that stood out on the market, with an impressive history that went on to inspire an entire industry. In fact, Enzo Ferrari himself was influenced by what he had seen Francesco Stanguellini achieve when he launched his racing team in 1929.
Sadly, Francesco Stanguellini died at the age of just 53, so the business was taken over by his son Vittorio, a young man of extraordinary vision who had grown up immersed in the world of motor cars.
Stanguellini’s growth became unstoppable: fascinated by the possibility of improving the performance of standard production cars, Vittorio was able to put his ambitions to the test at his Fiat dealership on via Moreali, which became a meeting-place for many young motor-sports enthusiasts.
The turning-point came in 1936, when Vittorio Stanguellini’s friends Nando Righetti and Mario Camellini persuaded him to make his official racing debut on board the Fiat Balilla 508 CS Sport, in which they won an excellent fourth place in their class.
It was the start of Stanguellini’s racing success. The rest is history.