The force of passion has been compellingly conveyed by all the great narratives handed down by literature and history: tales of unflinching love, of blind devotion, of lives sacrificed to noble causes… Our contemporary society, hyperconnected and distracted, seems to have downplayed the idea of passion by tempering its stronger hues with gentler pastels. This seems to be the case even more in the car world; just think of how often passion plays a secondary role when compared to the driving energy of marketing, which fuels, motivates, directs and reins in our passion, and by doing so sanitizes it and blunts its edge.It is therefore a reassuring and unique experience to come across a project, a brand, and a car, whose engine looks as if it were fuelled by passion itself, rather than by hydrocarbons. Sharing the Effeffe Cars adventure is truly something incomparable and literally out of the ordinary. In opening the unremarkable gate of Frigerio Brothers’ 140 garage in Verano Brianza, not far from Milan, one is thrown back to the past: a vibrant, knowledgeable beehive of activity. Brothers Leonardo and Vittorio Frigerio are successful businessmen, though in a field that has seemingly little to do with cars. However, they can boast a shared experience as top-level gentlemen drivers and a solid connection with the Alfa Romeo brand. They are my guide in this journey back in time: they talk with passion and enthusiasm of die-casting and differential gears, of twin shafts and rigid axles. The picture that emerges is as wide-ranging and multifaceted as that of a mosaic: their punctiliousness in every detail and finishing touches, however, has not made Brothers Frigerio lose sight of the wider cultural-historical scope of their enterprise. Effeffe build limited-edition small sedan cars that hark back to the Fifties and Sixties, both in their design and in the costruction approach, craftsmanship and manufacturing skills. I like to think that the shape of the Effeffe sedan was “gleaned from the air”: the metal sheets appear to cut through the aerodynamic resistance with ease, while the shape itself was designed live without the aid of rendering processes or mock-ups, only by bending and soldering a grid of tubes over which the metal sheets have been cast. Just try and tell this story in the Design Centre of any car manufacturing company and you will be met by pale faces and embarrassed looks at the sheer talent of the two brothers.
Effeffe Cars was born as a primarily cultural project, only later turned into a business. The consistency of the brand created by the two outstanding brothers is confirmed by their desire to enhance the role played by the future owners of this extraordinary car: no longer cast as the jaded car collectors uninvolved with the mechanics of their trophies, but as the true heirs of the gentlemen drivers of bygone ages, who were both keen and capable to fine-tune their vehicle’s suspension, thus adapting its behaviour to their own driving style. A few strokes with the wrench and the endless possibilities of suspension adjustments make this sedan an extremely performing vehicle on the track, responsive to the most different driving approaches. Another genius’ stroke by Leonardo and Vittorio lies in their embracing the most innovative technologies of parametric design and reverse engineering, in order to make timeless the work of the craftsmen mechanics involved in the project. Neither the hurry to achieve results, nor productive efficiency were the goals: the aim was to hand down the treasurehouse of unique experiences, passed on by word of mouth and manual engagement, which are far more precious for not having been formalized. The Lombard region has become again like the land of loam, the fertile cradle of craftsmen who, thanks to the Effeffe sedan, are brought back to life: every one of them takes part in the Frigerios’ project with the proud commitment of those who are witnessing their own art being made relevant today, indeed timeless.The exclusive world of car collectors has soon taken notice of the miracle that was happening in the Brianza district, and the expressions of interest have turned into purchase orders. In all this the Frigerio Brothers have been able to revive the atmosphere of post-war Italy, the so-called “economic boom”: unpretentious people, clear ideas, hard-working attitude, few meetings, and even fewer marketing strategies!Has passion, then, really turned into something sterile, eccentric and fancyful, or, on the contrary, is still capable to fuel the boldest and most visionary of projects? With the Frigerio Brothers passion engenders culture, entrepreneurial spirit, art, engineering, speed, excitement, luxury… and further passion.