People who knew Luigi Bonfanti, or “Gigi” for his friends, speak of a man who was legendary for that passion that made him a standard setter in the world of restoration in Italy and abroad.
He was born in 1930 in Bassano del Grappa as the son of the well-known architect Franceso Bonfanti. In 1955 he joined Alfa Romeo’s customer service. As an enthusiast and owner of classic Alfa Romeo motor cars when collecting cars was in its infancy in Italy, he made his hobby his profession and perfected it through his friendships with engine designers of the calibre of Garcea, Chiti, Bizzarini, Nicolis, Sezza, Raffa and test drivers like Sanesi, Bonini and Moroni.
His embarked on his first restoration, a 1928 Lancia Lambda Torpedo, in 1962. It was the beginning of a long line of restorations he undertook with his expert master mechanic Antonio Berto.
In only a few years the Alfa Romeo dealership in Bassano, that he was now proprietor of, became the venue for a handful of enthusiasts and collectors who in 1960 founded the C.V.A.E. (Circolo Veneto Automoto d'Epoca), after Rome only the second classic car organisation in Italy. In 1982 he sold the dealership and opened the Bonfanti Garage, just outside the city.
After his untimely passing the C.V.A.E. was named after him and the Museo dell’Automobile of Bassano del Grappa was founded in his name and dedicated to him. Today it is known as the “Museo Bonfanti-Vimar”.