Being a die-hard motorsports enthusiast isn't easy. In all likelihood, you’ll never share a cockpit with your heroes or push the latest grand prix car around Monaco in the rain. Even so, you can still own a part of motorsport history. The Classic Driver Market plays host to a cornucopia of irresistible automotive memorabilia, racing artefacts, and curiosities, and if there’s one place you’re always guaranteed to find that holy relic of motorsport you never knew you needed, it’s Halmo Automobilia. We spoke to the man at the helm, Gianluca Tramonti, to find out more about where he got his love for cars, and how he tracks down the incredible items in his store.
Gianluca, thanks very much for speaking with us today. Firstly, what started your love of cars and motorsport?
I’ve been in love with cars for many years. My father had always been involved in the world of luxury cars, so I’ve been around them since I was a child.
How did you first start collecting automotive memorabilia?
I’ve always had a passion for cars and racing cars, especially F1. I was born in Faenza, the city of the racing team Minardi and only 100km from Maranello, so motorsport is in our blood. This area is called Motorvalley and a lot of racing driver comes from here.
What are some of the most interesting items you’ve ever found and what’s your favourite piece for sale at the moment?
In only 10 years of working with automotive memorabilia, many rare objects passed through my hands. However, if I had to mention a few items, it would be the 1999 Michael Schumacher Ferrari Showcar, the 1994 Williams Ayrton Senna show car, an original helmet belonging to Ayrton Senna, and the original front end from one of the 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs built.
My favourite pieces at the moment are the 1991 Nigel Mansell show car and the complete body and front from Niki Lauda’s 1975 F1 car.
Some items look like sculptures or pieces of art. What is so appealing about putting a motorsport artefact into your living room?
When you buy a piece of motorsport or a piece of a classic car, you’re buying a piece of history, or maybe even a piece of your childhood. Often these are really rare items, so I think that’s part of the appeal.
You’ve had a huge variety of items come through your store, which artefacts excite you the most and which are the hardest to find?
F1 cars are amazing to own, to see, and to sell! For sure, the hardest items to find are vintage Ferrari F1 parts. Usually whoever has them doesn’t want to sell.
Are there any items you regret selling or that you’ve kept for yourself?
Yes! I have some objects from Valentino Rossi and Michael Schumacher that I will never sell, and there are many items I regret selling. The body from the 1982 Ferrari F1 car driven by Gilles Villeneuve comes to mind.
What’s the most valuable item you have ever sold?
A 1999 Ferrari F1 Showcar.
Do you think automotive memorabilia holds the same investment potential as collector cars?
Automotive memorabilia has always existed, but what we are trying to do is convert it into something more valuable, a real investment like a piece of art or a painting you can buy in an art gallery.
Which items have proven to be the most popular?
Vintage original signs now are some of our most requested items. There’s also a lot of interest around vintage children’s cars.
What’s your Formula One car, and who is your favourite driver of all time?
My favourite F1 car is the Ferrari F2004 and my favourite driver is Ayrton Senna.
Are there any automobilia holy grails you would love to find?
Yes! I would have the opportunity to one day sell a real running F1 car and try it on a circuit. At the moment, all the real F1 cars I own don’t have an engine…
What’s next for Halmo Automobilia? Are there any exciting plans or items for the near future?
We are expanding our network and we’ll have a lot of new items in the shop soon. Stay tuned for Christmas too, something big will happen!
Photos by Filippo Cantoni