Ilario Bandini was born in 1911, the son of a farmer living in Forli, Italy. Even though he was best remembered as a car builder, he also had a flare for engineering and mechanics. His skills and knowledge led him to create and patent inventions. He is characterized as a short man who had a passion for life that matched his enthusiasm and his excitement.
By the age of 27, having experience working and studying as a mechanic, Bandini began his own company. The era was 1938 and the world was still suffering from the after-shocks of World War II. Many of the manufacturers that had existed before the war were gone or their factories had been destroyed or converted into creating machinery for military purposes. Bandini began making small vehicles; most were intended for sports and racing. Some where weekend drivers while others were built specifically for the racing circuit. Bandini favored spiders and coupes. He used Fiat and American Crossley engines which he would modify to increase the overall output and performance. Most were 760 cc through 1300 cc. The engines were originally placed in the front of the vehicles but this changed when mid-engine design started to become popular. Quickly realizing the benefits of mid-engine placement, he was one of the first manufactures to build vehicles in this form.
Many of the vehicles built with the intention of being raced were created for the 750 cc. class. The vehicles were important vitalizing the junior league of Italian racing.
As was the case with much of the European vehicles, they were all hand made. During the height of the Bandini empire, he employed fifteen mechanics, each capable of building one car per month. Throughout his entire car-building career, 75 vehicles were created that carried the Bandini badge.
The Bandini badge design came from the symbol of his home town. It featured a bantam rooster crowing.
In 1992 he was 81. Having lived a long life, he passed away. At many vintage sporting events, the Bandini built automobiles can still be found. A museum in Forli houses seven examples of the Bandini sports cars.