April 20, 2006 Each year at the money-is-no-object end of the automotive market is the Top Marques exhibition held in Monte Carlo in April. The audience is focussed and ridiculously wealthy and the exhibitors are exclusively companies producing fine automobiles for those with stratospheric budgets and it’s just the place to see workmanship of the calibre of Bugatti, Koenigsegg, et al, all in the one place. Each year the number and excellence of the world's most exclusive automobiles grows and this year sees the coming out of something a bit special. The Antas V8 will undoubtedly be the talking point of this year’s show which opens today. The Antas is the work of Italian classic car restoration company Faralli & Mazzanti, though we expect the reaction to the prototype Antas V8 work to see the company forced into producing a lot more of these extraordinarily beautiful and lovingly handcrafted masterpieces. This is the first “berlinetta” to be born in the Faralli & Mazzanti workshop, and it’s totally inspired by the materials and philosophy that created the great special-bodied Italian cars of the past. The body of the car is entirely hand-crafted from aluminium, the engine a carburettored Maserati V8 engine. On delivery, the Antas comes equipped with a case covered in blue velvet bearing a silver plate with the identification numbers along with a book and DVD documenting the construction of your vehicle.

Antas is driven by a powerful V8 Maserati engine fed by carburettors and endowed with a pleasing elasticity of power, which gives the “driver” the sensation of “true” steering typical of the great touring cars of the past. Because of this, when the time came to name this “jewel,” a word was chosen that comes from the ancient Tuscan language of the Etrucscans: Antas means Eagle, “the noblest and most audacious dominator of open spaces.”

F & M is best known to the automotive elite as a master body builder and restorer of prestigious “Barchettas” and “Berlinettas” (touring cars) with its best known restoration example being the famous MASERATI 450 coupè Zagato “the MONSTER”, used by Stirling Moss during the 1957 Le Mans 24 hour race.

Accordingly, the Antas combines the knowledge acquired by master body makers with the stylistic inspiration of those who make modern cars with an eye to the past. The company says the Antas project is based on an in-depth study of the stylistic evolution of the Italian automobile between 1930 and the end of the 1960s – “ a golden era in which elements of style were created and developed, and even today put their imprint on the most beautiful lines of automobiles of the world.”

The planning and construction of the Antas project was undertaken with the same philosophy and attention to the traditional design and craftsmanship of that era.

The first drafts, in fact, were done on paper: Faralli first developed the Antas in 1:1 scale, then traced the final lines, always rigorously drawn by hand. Indeed, nothing was developed by computer; everything came from the heart, from the imagination and the capable hands of experts.

A dummy was constructed of iron tubes bent and modelled by hand, then it was built on the aluminium frame, with the same methodology of the great body makers of the past: the lightweight alloy mags took form thanks to the precise hammer blows of the artisan, who little by little transformed a cold element of metal into a decorative element of body.

The technical basis of this prototype derives directly from Italian grand touring cars of the 1960’s. The frame a steel box adequately reinforced and modified, on which was mounted the model of tubes and sheet metal structure supported on the hand-moulded aluminium frame welded individually to the various components.

Preparation and sanding are done by the expert hands of artisans who prepare the body for painting, for which the best products of the recent generation are used.

So next time someone tells you, “they don’t make em like that any more”, tell them that actually, they do.

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