Metal Is Still Shaped With Passion By The Craftspeople At Pigno Martelleria
Photography by Mikael Masoero
The loud and percussive sound of the hammer leaves us almost deaf after only a few minutes. The smell of the metal is intoxicating, and the glow of the burning oxygen of the welding machine blinds our sight immediately. You’ll only notice a feeble radio during the brief moments when workers drop hammers to change tools.
In those moments, the sound of low-fidelity accordion music is almost a blessing for the ears.
Where I am could be one of the worst places to work. It’s cold for most of the year and becomes very hot during summer. It’s very small, and the workers are quite tall and working in narrow places. You’re always at a risk that a piece of metal would rip your thick jacket and cut through your skin. Yet, you cannot notice the smile of satisfaction and the concentration-furrowed brows as they carry on in this place. These craftspeople are in their world: nothing can beat the enthusiasm of one who does what he likes best.
The men here are one with their jobs: welding, beating, and shaping. They’re panelbeaters, those who have the ability to bend the hardest metal to their willing and to their sense of unparalleled aesthetics.
From 1:1 to 1:48 scale, it doesn’t change much: if you want to have an idea of how the legendary classic cars were born, you better take a trip to Pigno Martelleria. Despite being re-made in a smaller scale from the originals, their shape evokes the emotions of the real-world counterparts. The scale these craftsmen are making is unique to this operation, with Daniele Pignochino and the rest of Pigno Martelleria making models in-house, using 1.15 gauge aluminum.
“We’ll leave all of our cars unpainted, raw and real,” says Daniele, the son of the owner, as I marvel at the rear louvers of a Miura. “That’s my dad at 14 years of age up there,” he says, gesturing to a giant picture on the wall, “…he never stopped, and he taught me the right way to hammer down metal.”
Ford GT40s share the same space with Ferrari 250 GTOs and Testarossas, Lamborghini Miuras, Alfa Romeos: it’s one of those candy shops that motoring enthusiasts find from time to time.
The idea of replicating older cars came out of the pride they have for the job and the passion they have for cars. “We want to tell people how things are made, how they are conceived,” his voice rises, trying to stay above the energetic hammering, “the cars people now pay millions to have were made by people like us: we want to tell this story through our models and our craft.”