Bandini 1000 Turbo

Car of the Day #95: 1992 Bandini 1000 Turbo

Bandini 1000 Turbo
Bandini 1000 Turbo • via Bandini

You're looking at one of those cars that's just impossible to learn about exclusively over the internet. I suppose most cars are like that, but this one in particular makes me wonder: is it a kick-ass car?

Ilario Bandini's reputation for building small, fast, and light sports cars spans decades, from his first creation, the 1946 Bandini 1100. I suppose the best way to describe Bandini's creations is as like a series of sports cars designed and built by a craftsman.

In fact, imagine a Horacio Pagani born near the turn of the last Century, becoming a largely self-taught engineer who prided himself as both a maker and a driver. 

Ilario Bandini with his Bandini engines • via

Include a tiny team, understand that Bandini rarely messed with engines sized above 1,000cc, and add in a small but dedicated American fan base who hunted SCCA trophies through the 1950s and 1960s.

Indeed, imagine an old world sports car constructor who was given all of the “modern” tools needed to build a car in the 1990s — they’d still craft the damn thing by hand.

Put another way, when Ilario set out over six years to create his swan song, it’s not like five of those were spent learning AutoCAD for Windows 3.0 in order to craft this masterpiece.

Bandini 1000 Turbo • via Obscure Supercar of the Day (
Check out that thin steering wheel and offset gauges, part of a wholly molded dash

The 1992 1000 Turbo was indeed Ilario’s last full design, and relied upon the company's existing racing motor, albeit turbocharged. A 1,000-cc inline-4 that's rated for 10,000rpm had a small turbo running at 1.4 bar. 

A website called Wheels of Italy lists specs, including a mention of titanium connecting rods, however with a few spelling errors I can't take its spec sheet as fact.

I'd tell you more, but I can't find the car's power rating anywhere…so it's probably safe to say with its low weight of…oh, wait — that's a mystery, too.

Bandini 1000 Turbo engine bay • via Wikipedia Italy

Constructed with some of the smallest-diameter tubes I've ever seen, it has more in common with a hand-braised Tour de France road bicycle than a '90s sports car. As a 1-of-1 vehicle, I feel as though it will never reach its full performance potential unless a second Bandini 1000 Turbo is built. Ideally, complete with enough safety gear to reassure whomever is invited to flog it at Goodwood FoS.

Bandini is considered an engineering genius, however: there's so much to cover through his life and racing career, I'll just direct you to his Wikipedia page (Italian). As with many rock bands, don't judge Bandini by its final album.

Bandini 1000 Turbo in the Museo Bandini Auto • via Museo Bandini Auto

The 1000 Turbo now sits among his other designs in a dedicated museum, ensuring Bandini’s name will live on a little longer.

He died shortly after this car was completed—and since all of his cars were built in a garage by a small team, when he died, the firm went with it. All Bandini models were hand built, and are best known for using tiny, much-modified Crosley engines to dominate lower classes of racing through the '50s and '60s. Yes, even in the SCCA.

Anyway, the 1000 Turbo is still somewhat of a mystery. I think this is another one of those cars that we'll have to piece together over a number of months. If you know anything about it (or volunteer to visit the museum) I'll update this story with new information as we learn it…

I do know of one computer-designed part on the car: it uses front corner lights from a Volvo 480. 

Subscribe to the Museo Bandini Auto's YouTube page:

Museo Bandini Auto
Video’s delen met vrienden, familie en de rest van de wereld

Read also:


Thank you to my supporting members: Ben B., Brad B., Chris G., Daniel G., Damian S., Daniel P., Drew M., Ingrid P., Karl D., Luis O., Michael J., Michael L., Michelle S., Mike B., Mike L., Mike M., Richard W., Sam G., Sam L., Wiley H.