South Africa: the Lupini family
Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:38
Gigi Lupini Trophy (Killarney), 5/1
Cape South Easter (Killarney), 4/1
My question is: whoever was this Gigi Lupini? I mean: he came from Italy, but where from, exactly?
And why did that race change its name from 1964 on?
Is there someone who knows something about?
I found out his son Mario is a SA journalist/writer and that they had a scuderia, but I could not find anything about their origin here in Italy. That's the most interesting part. It seems they came from nowhere...
Thanks in advance.
Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:35
These email addresses is "public" knowledge, so I give them here.
Posted 20 October 2005 - 18:39
I hope, however, that some South African will be able to write something about anyway
Posted 24 October 2005 - 05:49
I guess it is your lucky day. I compiled a few lines for you with basic info. If you need the whole story in detail, I can email it to you. Let me know...
Gigi Lupini from Brescia (born circa 1899) competed in three Mille Miglias (1927, 1928 and 1929). His only success was in the 1929 event when he and co-driver Peretti, finished 3rd in the over 5000cc class in a Buick.
He left Italy during the 1930s and came to South Africa where he set up a precast concrete business. His first steps in motorsport in his adopted country was in 1949, when he sponsored Bob Serrurier in speedway racing. Gigi again himself took to racing in the early 1950s when he competed in club races in Alfa Romeos and MGs.
He bought a Cooper Norton in 1956, which was later fitted with a 1300cc Porsche engine. Lupini entered Ian Fraser-Jones in a few races. Later in the same year he bought a Cooper Bristol and it was again raced by Fraser-Jones and later by Horse Boyden.
Later he bought a special Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce with light-weight aluminium body and also the ex-Marzotto Ferrari 225S that won the 1952 Mille Miglia. These cars were used in Endurance and sports car races.
Many cars and drivers followed in the years to come. Other drivers of note that was entered by Lupini included men like John Love, Trevor Blokdyk, Don Philp, Doug Serrurier, etc
Gigi Lupini died on 1 October 1982.
Posted 03 October 2023 - 13:34
It all started in the 1926s when Gigi Lupini, born in 1898 and bred in Bergamo in Northern Italy, took up the family trade of terrazzo and artistic building on his return from the World War 1 front.
Gigi's first love was always however cars and motorcycles and following early bike races in and around Italy in the days when he counted Nuvolari among his two-wheeled rivals, Gigi decided to go race cars in 1926. He raced in the first three Mille Miglias in 1927, 28 and 29, when he ended third in the big over 5-litre class in a Buick of all things, with his friend Peretti.
Gigi was third in class in the ’29 Mille Miglia
Details are sketchy but we do know that Gigi's Buick was race prepared by Dallara — grandfather of Indycar chassis builder Giampiero and it featured the likes of axles placed over their leaf springs like a Lancia and some neat modifications to the car and engine. The story goes that Gigi was leading his class not far from home but missed a bridge and crashed into a bog.
It took many hours to extricate the big, yellow Buick but they made it in the end and finished third — 28 hours of driving later!
With the impending recession, like so many Italian masters of their craft, Gigi sought pastures greener and set off for Beira in 1930. In '33 he left the typhoid, yellow fever and malaria-riddled Mozambique for Krugersdorp, where he was commissioned to build the Catholic church and it was not long before Gigi found his niche.
The Lupini Brothers had much to do with today's skylines of Jo'burg, Cape Town, Pretoria, PE and many other South African cities between the 1930s and '80s and soon Gigi was able to afford some really cool wheels…
Settled in South Africa
As soon as Gigi was settled in South Africa he bought himself a car. An American car fan, many of his business friends were taken aback by their Italian racing friend's liking of 'black iron', but Gigi's first car in SA was a Ford V8. He replaced that with a new Buick — of course he raced a Buick in the Mille Miglia.
That was followed by a Packard and then a Kaiser.
Anyway, they did things is style those days and when Gigi went back to Italy on two occasions, he took his car with him — the Buick in the late '30s and his Kaiser several years later. Gigi finally buckled and bought Italain in the early '50s when he acquired among the first Alfa Romeos in South Africa — a stunning 6C 2600 roadster.
Following 20 years of hard graft to build Lupini Bros. up into a leading SA pre-cast and architectural concrete company, Gigi felt the urge to race again. First he bought a speedway bike for Doug's brother Bob Serrurier and soon his appetite was once again whet to race cars.
In 1956 Gigi acquired his first race car in SA — an ex-works Cooper Bristol (above), which he entered in several races at Grand Central in Halfway House at Midrand and Gunner's Circle in the Cape. His driver was the charismatic Horse Boyden — Scuderia Lupini was reborn in South Africa.
The second generation
Three of Gigi's four sons — Gino, Mario and Italo were itching to race and soon the second-generation Lupinis were hard at it. Mario started racing saloon cars and shared rally cars with Italo while Gino carved a name for himself in the Cape. Teenage youngest son Italo caused a sensation when he won the Krugersdorp Hill Climb in Gigi's Formula Junior Cooper (top image in column) refitted with a powerful Porsche engine in place of the usual motorcycle twin.
Gigi Lupini was South Africa's first Ferrari owner on both road with his 250 Pininfariaa, but also on track. For the first 9-hour race at Grand Central in 1958, Scuderia Lupini acquired and modified the ex Monaco GP-winning Ferrari 225S (second photo from top) , which it entered alongside a trio of new to SA Alfa Romeo Giulias for a top line-up of drivers including Mario Lupini who shared with Horse Boyden, Gino and Italo.
Even bigger news was the return of the South African Grand Prix to East London at the end of 1959 for a New Year's Day race. Scuderia Lupini was quick to enter the Cooper Porsche for Horse Boyden and the Ferrari for Fanie Viljoen and while results were not fantastic, it was a huge adventure all the way!
The height of Scuderia came in the early 1960s. After whetting his appetite for Formula 1 at the '59 grand prix, Gigi (with the car in the third photo) travelled to Europe in search for a serious Formula 1 machine. He visited Cooper and bought the latest F1 chassis before jetting to Italy to tie up a Maserati engine and a Collotti gearbox. The Scuderia Lupini Cooper Maserati was born.
That car was driven by John Love (fourth pic), who won his first F1 race in at at the 1961 Killarney Van Riebeeck Trophy, before Doug Serrurier raced it in ’62 and Trevor Blokdyk in ’63, competing both in the South African Grand Prix and in the domestic Formula 1 series.
While his brothers stopped earlier and Scuderia Lupini shied away from he top level from 1964, Mario Lupini (Alfa Giulia, fifh from top) raced on until '67. A veteran of seven 9-hours, Mario raced for Volvo and Alfa Romeo on track and Alfa, Opel and Hillman in rallying in a successful career until 1967. He did race a little later on — competing in motorcycle enduros alongside brother Italo and his sons Michele and Paolo, cousin Giuseppe and nephews Luigi and Ricardo.
The third coming
That excitement proved another stepping stone as a gang of young third generation Lupinis soon started racing cars. Mario’s sons Michele and Paolo and Gino’s son Enrico were competitive in Group N racing and the trio regularly shared cars in the annual Group N 6, 7 and 9-hours at Killarney. Michele (XR3 and Saab pictures) went on to win championships on both track and in rallies, where he proved a specialist on tarmac stages.
Michele stopped racing to support his sone, fourth generation Lupini racer Giordano racing karts, where he soon won at national level, before stepping up to his first big track appearance at just 14 years old. Gio has developed into a competitive championship winner (yellow Golf) and now continues the Lupini racing tradition into its 95th year.
The rest, as they say, is history!
Edited by ReWind, 03 October 2023 - 13:35.
Posted 03 October 2023 - 13:37
A magazine article from 1974 said this about the Lupini Brothers:
Things were pretty tough in Jo'burg in the early thirties. Accountants swept railway station platforms for a shilling a day, university graduates joined the SSB for the security of food and clothing and artisans swung pick-axes on railroad labour gangs.
The thirties saw South Africa at its worst, almost on its knees, crippled by a seemingly never-ending depression that killed small businesses hourly. Some who remember say the worst year was 1933.
And it was in 1933 that Italian immigrants Luigi and Giuseppi LUPINI arrived in Johannesburg with a few tools and five shillings in cash. But what the Lupinis lacked in capital, they more than made up for in determined enthusiasm and a genuine will to work.
Today the name Lupini is synonymous with the many, many facets of the South African precast industry. To mention the name in construction circles is to immediately conjure up mental pictures varying from marble flower pots to a string of power station cooling towers. From the cast lions guarding the Zambian High Court in Lusaka to the Hillbrow microwave tower.
Lupini Brothers are the undisputed market-leaders in the specialised precast industry – but it hasn't always been like that. Their 41 year history in South Africa reads like a fairy tale, with sweat and hard work replacing the proverbial fairy godmother.
Gigi and Bepi, as they are known to their friends, were part of a stream of Italian emmigrants looking for more lucrative markets for their skills in the late 1920's. And they'd every right to, for behind them they'd a seven-generation history in the art of producing statues, tiles and wall decorations. The ancient equivalent of modern precast.
First African stop-over for the brothers was Beira in Mocambique, a rough-and-tumble town, in those days, with uncontrolled malaria and black-water fever but two of the many hardships inhabitants of the area had to endure at the time.
Compared to Beira, living conditions in South Africa seemed near luxurious and, in 1933, they made the move to Johannesburg.
Although faced with a language problem and the chronic shortage of capital, they carried a wealth of knowledge and a skill in their hands that their newly-adopted country sorely needed. Even in those depressed times the Lupini's quickly found work – laying concrete floors for a private firm – and set-up home in digs in Jeppe.
It didn't take Luigi Lupini very long to realise the potential of the construction industry in rapidly developing South Africa and, taking his courage in both hands, he and Giuseppi started up on their own. Lupini Brothers (Pty) Limited was born.
A third brother, Alessandro, joined them shortly afterwards from Italy.
When it came to artistic construction the Lupini brothers knew what they were talking about. Luigi himself studied for more than six years at the Andrea Fantoni Art School in Italy and both Giuseppi and Alessandro were fully qualified stucco workers. In this capacity they had worked on the domes and towers of the large Italian churches in and around their home town of Bergamo in Northern Italy.
Small wonder that their first contract as a company was for the making of a church dome in Krugersdorp in 1935. Their profits from this and other smaller jobs went into the building of a small house in Bramley where all three brothers lived with their families.
Luigi Lupini, despite the tremendous success of his business, still lives in that house today with only a few alterations. To him money certainly isn't everything in life – more important is a happy and close family relationship.
The Lupini Brothers worked on until in 1940, they had their first real break when Luigi secured the contract to build the new law courts in Johannesburg. A big contract even by today's standards with incalculable prestige value attached.
To say that the war years was an interesting period in the Lupini history would be a gross understatement. It was a critical period when business was booming but being Italian, they were in constant danger of being interned. In actual fact Giuseppi and Alessandro were eventually interned – in the camps at Koffiefontein and Zonderwater – and Luigi used his artistic skills to easy his brother's unpleasant circumstances.
What he did was produce two Plaster of Paris religious statues, one for each brother. The religious statues were smuggled into the two camps. These did more than console the two brothers for, neatly concealed in the bases, was a radio receiver – enabling the prisoners-of-war to keep up-to-date on the latest war developments.
Luigi had somehow managed to avoid internment and the war years was a boom period for the firm on the 'small-works' side of the business. Because of the shortage of steel, baths and sinks were made from concrete – and Lupini Brothers did a roaring trade.
Contract followed contract and the company continued to grow, notable milestones being 1946 and 1948. In 1946 they purchased a massive tract of land (called Wynberg today) and set up their yard and factory which they still occupy. 1948 was the year they secured the OK Bazaars contract in Cape Town.
This was an enormous contract by those days' standards and Luigi sent Giuseppi to Cape Town to handle the operation and open a factory there. Bepi is still managing director of the Lupini's Cape Town company.
Escom Centre, claimed to be the tallest building in Africa at the time, was awarded to Lupini Brothers in Johannesburg in 1955. A company has also been established in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), run by Luigi's son Cinto and Maynard Berger, an architect. Maynard is still with the company and is the only non-Lupini member of the board of directors. The [Rhodesian] company has since closed down.
By this stage, the Lupini sons were almost all in the family business and today, with the exception of one, all sit on the main board.
Gino, Luigi's eldest son is in Cape Town; Cinto controls the precast yard in Boksburg; Emilio handles on-site operations in Johannesburg; Mario looks after the companies administration and Zap keeps watchful eye on the Wynberg factory's operations. Brothers Bepi and Dino are managing directors of the Cape Town and Johannesburg companies respectively.
Besides Maynard Berger, the only non-Lupini surname on the company's letterhead is David Bienz, married to one of the Lupini girls, who has a variety of tasks, main one being chief accountant.
Italo Lupini is not in the precast business, he chose an allied field and is carving an extremely good career for himself in architecture.
Dateline had the rare pleasure of speaking to each and every Lupini in person, they are an openhearted crowd who are all artistically gifted. But they seem to excel at whatever they turn their hands to, in and out of working hours. Each one's achievements would be more than enough material to write an article twice this length.
The Lupinis work hard and play hard. That's a well-worn cliché, but we feel sure the person who first coined the phrase had folk like the Lupinis in mind.
Luigi Lupini, 'the big boss' and founder of the company, has now retired. But every day from 8 to 5 he can be seen at the Wynberg yard. Black beret, dark glasses, can walking stick and immaculate three-piece suit. This is his uniform as he sits in the shade of the vines he planted so long ago. Supervising and keeping a watchful eye on all that goes on around him.
He is a proud man in every way, proud of his sons and the name Lupini. The 1 000 Lupini employees know, love and respect him.
Nearing his seventieth year *, Luigi has a lot to remember. Big things and little things. A medal he is more proud of states he is a member of the Mille Miglia Club. To qualify for membership Luigi completed the 1 000 mile (1,609.34 kilometer) street race through the towns and country-side of Italy. This race was banned because it was too dangerous many years ago, but Luigi completed it in 1928 in a V8 Buick. Stirling Moss is another Mille Miglia member.
Motor racing fans in the early sixties will no doubt remember when Scuderia Lupini (Team Lupini) ruled the South African racing circuits for close on 12 years. Amongst Luigi's stable of racers were many still-famous drivers like John Love, Doug Surrier, Frazer Jones, Trevor Blokdyk and Bill Jennings. Not to mention the Lupini's Mario, Gino, Italo and Zap.
Luigi Lupini put up the pits at the old Grand Central racing circuit near Johannesburg, but all the Lupini cars were race-tuned in the garage of their Wynberg yard. The garage remains, still decorated with racing murals by various artists and controlled by Bullcoa – their original racing mechanic. The Lupinis no longer race, so today Bullcoa has turned his hand to more mundane things – keeping the Lupini trucks and equipment in tip-top shape.
The original precast workshop at the Wynberg yard is where Luigi Lupini now parks his third two-seater Ferrari. And it wasn't so long ago that he was a regular sight on the Johannesburg – Cape Town road. Speeding from business to business in his canary-yellow two-seater. "Twice a month I drove to Cape Town." Luigi told Dateline "in never more than 9½ hours".
Walking around the modeling area of the yard is more like a visit to an art exhibition than anything else. Some 200 Plaster of Paris models gather dust on the walls, most made by the Lupinis themselves. "My father opened a packet of white cement and out I jumped." says Luigi jokingly. Cement is in his blood!
And Luigi is a patron to more than one world famous artist, having supplied the medium for them to display their creative talents. He has a love for art, of anything of beauty "... the reason I drive a Ferrari".
The wall outside the yard was hand-crafted by Eduardo Villa . Believe it or not, this now world famous artist was once broke and in need of a job. It's value today must be incalculable. (This wall is now – 2012 – located at the University of Pretoria)
Luigi Lupini, as head of the family, was always head of the business. Never, in forty years, has a board decision been taken by a show of hands.
All the Lupinis have a love of cars and motor sport. Mario is an avid vintage car restorer, and a regular winner of vintage car rallies. His most recent achievement being the overall winner in the Post-Vintage National Rally. His wife, Rosanne, navigated and he drove his '33 straight-8 Auburn into first position. Before starting vintage rallies, Mario had some 11 years of circuit racing, competing in the first 9-hour endurance race at the Grand Central circuit and seven subsequent ones.
Italo, Gino and Zap Lupini are all veterans of the racing circuits and, together with Mario, all possess 'roly-poly' ties. Rather an exclusive item of apparel only awarded once one has flipped completely in a competitive motor racing event!
Although they don't race anymore, the three brothers in Johannesburg, together with Dave Bienz, have formed a select 15-member 'foot-up' club. Each and every Sunday without fail this intrepid crew set out on specially-prepared motorbikes and attempt to conquer nature. They've swopped the tarmac circuit for river beds and mountains and claim they can go anywhere a horse can.
Five hours of second gear riding normally carries them a mere 120 km, and the relatively small bikes have to be overhauled at least every 3 000 km.
There are other unique hobbies in the Lupini family as well. Dave and Zap are founder members of a rather special rifle club. The rifles are almost all collector's pieces, dating back to the 1840's and are, according to Zap, 'the real thing.' Local competitions were held, as well as regular 'postal shoots' against overseas enthusiasts. Part of the fun is hand-making all the balls and bullets for the rifles and the original formula 'Black Powder'. Next year Dave and Zap intend going to Italy to compete in an international muzzle-loading shoot.
Zap, called the mad-cap of the family, has taken his hobby a step further and is the proud owner of two cannon. One is a converted marine cannon, allegedly captured from Barton's Flying Brigade by the Boers during the siege of Ladysmith. The other is completely hand-made, an identical replica of the cannon used in the American Civil War. Both are completely operational and dominate the festivities on November 5 – charged, but loaded with newspaper of course!
Emilio, besides being the biggest and fiercest-looking of the Lupinis and a holder of a Judo black belt has a very special claim to fame. A bus.
Or at least it was a bus before Emilio and his wife got stuck into it. It all started with a dare that he couldn't big enough to house his seven strong family.
First stage of the operation was to secure a sound chassis. This was provided in the form of a Putco bus with more than a quarter of a million miles (402,000 km) on the clock. Two years and a whole lot of hard work later the caravan was ready. And what a vehicle it is.
Beautifully finished throughout, it can sleep eight in comfort. It has a dining room, breakfast nook, two fridges, four-plate gas stove with oven, fully-equipped bar, hi-fi system, toilet from an aircraft, massive shower complete with hot water and enough storage cupboard space for a young army. The tank has enough fuel to give the caravan a 1 600 km range without topping-up and it carries 1 000 litres of drinking water. As Emilio told Dateline: "With that caravan, eight people could survive in the desert for at least a month. There are three sources of power, battery, gas and electricity and the whole thing is fully air-conditioned".
The mobile generating plant alone throws out 4,5 kilowatts of electricity, or more than enough to run an average large house. But if things really start to get bad, all Emilio has to do is lift the top of his built-in bar and ride to the nearest town on his 70 cc motor cycle he keeps there for emergencies!!
Emilio has also been president of the Italian Club for the past five years and it is largely due to his personal efforts that they have the splendid club they do.
Gino in Cape Town is the 'Yank Tank' man, with a love of powerful American cars, all imported, and the bigger the better.
Quiet memember of the family is Cinto, modest to the extreme. When Dateline called on him at Lupini's Boksburg, we were immediately impressed by the sheer enormity of the operation. Almost next door to LTA Civils head office, the yard was a blur of activity, no small wonder they can produce some 3 000 square metres of precast in a working day. Next year they're aiming to up this by a third.
Dateline asked Cinto how it all started: "Well, we bought the land, moved in and started work. And when we had any free time we cast the floor slabs!"
That was just three years ago, but to look at the yard today one would think it had been expanding for the past two decades. Cinto seems to be the only Lupini with a normal hobby – bowls.
One interesting feature of the Boksburg yard is a sign proclaiming to all and sundry that it is Lupini Bros. (Cape Town) (Pty) Ltd. Who operate there. The story behind it goes something like this:
Two big jobs came up simultaneously in Johannesburg which, had they tackled both, could have over-taxed their resources. Not wanting to lose the job to the opposition, Lupini Brothers in Cape Town tendered for the one, were successful and started their own yard at the Boksburg site. All the moulds were made in Cape Town and trucked-up to the Boksburg yard where the casting was done. On November 1 this year, Johannesburg took the contract back from Cape Town but, because they actually set up the precast yard, their sign remains.
All in all, Lupini Brothers have quite a number of business traits which are pretty unique by today's standards. One that immediately makes itself obvious is their determination to do as much as is humanly possible themselves. From crushing their own stone to erecting and designing their own batch-plants.
"We have always had this policy," said administrative manager Mario Lupini. "It makes us as self sufficient as possible, saves us money and at least we know that the job will be done properly and finished on time".
All Lupini directors are workers. They believe in getting out of the offices to where the action is. And each one does the work of a QS, foreman and contracts manager. The proof of the pudding is the fact that all five directors in Johannesburg share one office in the Wynberg yard. It would be a frosty Friday that you caught more than one director in the office at a time.
"We're a family team," said Mario, "and the nine directors have been working as a team for an average of 30 years. If anyone wants to open up in opposition to us and their name is Smith, well then there'll have to be nine Smiths to compete. Because we're so close we all know exactly how the others think. There are very few things we can't do when we put our minds to it".
In Cape Town the three directors also operate from one office, with sleeves constantly rolled-up. While Dateline visited there was a minor hitch with the making of the model for the columns for Selbourne College in East London (an LTA contract).
In a flash managing director Bepi Lupini was into the modeling room. Not only advising, but physically helping to model the still-soft Plaster of Paris. "I like when that happens," Bepi told Dateline, "it gives me a chance to use my hands again".
Lupini Brothers are, without doubt, the 'old school' of the business. They believe in making money by working hard, doing a first rate job and charging a fair fee. Old man Lupini never believed in speculating, and one can quite easily see the reasoning behind the non-speculating policy.
As Mario Lupini explained: "We're a family business. If we speculate and make a grave error it would not just mean another company going insolvent, it would mean the ruin of nine Lupini families. We just can't take the risk. Gigi taught us to make money with our hands. We've seen some 40 years of good times and bad times, but we're still in business and that, I think, proves the merit of my father's policy".
The Lupini Brothers have made quite a considerable contribution to the South African construction industry in general. The very nature of their business is permanent. And, now that they are an integral part of the LTA Group, we as a construction company can only benefit all the more.
* In fact Gigi was already 76 years old!
Posted 03 October 2023 - 13:43
The two articles above deliver quite a mess of names: Alessandro, Bepi, Cinto, Dino, Emilio, Enrico, Gigi, Gino, Giuseppi, Italo, Luigi, Mario, Michele, Paolo, Ricardo, Rico, Zap, Ziza.
My presumptions are as follows.
Gigi Lupini = Luigi Francesco Pasquale Lupini (b. 25 October 1898 d. 01 October 1982)
He had two brothers: Giuseppi (Giuseppe?) = Bepi Lupini (b. 20 July 1906 d. 11 February 1985)
& Alessandro Lupini (no life dates known)
Gigi had not four, but five sons:
Gino, Cinto, Emilio, Mario & Italo.
= Giuseppe Pietro Lupini (b. 27 March 1937 d. 10 August 2019), also known as Zap or Zappi Lupini
Cinto Lupini = Giacinto Lupini (no life dates known)
Emilio Lupini (no life dates known)
Mario Lupini (no life dates known, although he is the most famous one: DriverDB RacingSportsCars RacingYears)
Italo Lupini = Italo Carlo Lupini (b. 1940 d. 03 March 2023)
There is not much time between the birth dates of Gino (the eldest) and Italo (the youngest), so maybe two of the three siblings from in between are/were twins?
Gino aka Zap Lupini has a son called Ricardo (no birth date known) aka Rico (not Enrico).
Emilio Lupini has a son called Luigi aka Ziza.
Mario Lupini has sons called Michele and Paolo.
Michele Lupini (no birth date known) is the father of Giordano Enzo Lupini (b. 26 September 2000).
EDITED to erase the strange false "Zupini" spelling.
Edited by ReWind, 04 October 2023 - 17:08.
Posted 04 October 2023 - 07:36
Very interesting topic, great research and and jolly good read - thank you, Reinhard!!
So much better than opening TNF and finding a thread, "Does anyone have a list of Lupini brothers?"
Posted 04 October 2023 - 17:18
I managed to get in contact with Michele Lupini who is about to give me all the details of his family tree.
I already have to say that my presumption that Gino Lupini was Zap Lupini is wrong.
Zap was a son of Gigi's brother Alessandro aka Dino.
Gino was Gigi's second child & first son, Luigi Angelo Lupini, who was born as early as 1924.
But I was right that Gigi had five instead of four sons : Gino, Cinto & Emilio were born in Italy, Mario & Italo were born in South Africa.
More to come...
Edited by ReWind, 04 October 2023 - 17:42.
Posted 05 October 2023 - 18:12
What follows is based on what Michele Lupini tells me and mostly in his words.
1) Luigi Francesco Pasquale ‘Gigi’ Lupini (b. Bergamo 25/10/1898 d. Johannesburg 01/10/1982) was the family patriach. He had five sisters and then two brothers, Bepi and Dino.
Gigi raced motorcycles against Nuvolari before stepping up to cars in the mid-1920s
Gigi was third in the 5000cc class in the 1929 Mille Miglia driving a Buick Marquette with Peretti as navigator/mechanic. The car was prepared by ‘Dallara’
Gigi married Maria Grasseni
(b.1907 d.1927 at childbirth). They had a daughter Marina, and three sons, Gino, Cinto and Emilio born in Italy.
Gigi and emigrated to Beira, Mozambique, shortly after.
Gigi married Adriana Bolleli (b. 25/06/1910 d. [no date yet]) by proxy to Bepi on the ship over to join Gigi, as they and Dino made for Beira to join Gigi.
Gigi and his brothers then moved to Krugersdorp West on the Transvaal South African Witwatersrand in 1934.
Gigi had two more sons with Adriana in South Africa, Mario in 1935 and Italo in 1940.
Gigi, Dino and Bepi established building facade specialist Lupini Brothers and relocated to Bramley, Johannesburg in the late 1930s.
Lupini became SA’s biggest architectural pre-cast supplier and clad most of the major buildings across Southern Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s
Gigi and the South African Lupini family were joined by his Italian children Marina and Gino in Johannesburg in the late 1930s
Gigi was not interned as a foreigner in WW2 as he had to complete construction of the Johannesburg Supreme Court!
Gigi and the SA family were also joined by Cinto and Emilio from Italy shortly after WW2.
Gigi owned several significant cars in SA including a Ferrari 225s (the Marzotto Monaco winner), a Cooper Bristol, a FJ Cooper to which he fitted a Porsche engine and a Cooper T51 Maserati/Collotti and ran his Scuderia Lupini racing team in the 1950s and 1960s. Scuderia Lupini raced several SA Grands Prix.
Gigi hired among others, John Love, Doug Serrurier and Trevor Blodyk to drive the Cooper Maserati, Horse Boyden the Bristol and Porsche, and Bill Jennings and Fanie Viljoen the Ferrari, which was upgraded to a Colombo 250 with 250 TR suspension, gearbox and a nose crafterd of Gigi’s Pininfarina Spyder.
Gigi’s sons Gino, Mario and Italo also raced, as did several grandsons and great grandson Giordano.
Gigi was the first Ferrari owner in South Africa with his 250 Pininfarina Spyder. He later also owned a 250 Lusso and a 275 GTB.
(to be continued)
Edited by ReWind, 06 October 2023 - 08:52.
Posted 05 October 2023 - 18:17
a) Daughter Marina Maria L Giacinta Motto nee Lupini (b. Bergamo 1923 d. Johannesburg 2001). She was married and had three daughters.
b) Son # 1: Luigi Angelo ‘Gino’ Lupini (b. Bergamo 17/06/1924 d. Cape Town 21/05/1979)
Gino ran Lupini Brothers in Cape Town with Bepi. Gino raced regularly in Cape Town and around South Africa and also in the first Grand Central 9 Hour.
Gino married Magdelene Helena ‘Delene’ Roussouw and they had a daughter Adriana (b. 1950) and son Enrico Lupo ‘Rico’ Lupini (b. Cape Town 23/07/1960). Rico ran Bob-Ric Motors. He raced in Group N and in Cape Town Clubmans. Rico is married and has three sons.
c) Son # 2: Giacinto ‘Cinto’ Lupini (b. Bergamo 03/08/1925 d. Johannesburg 2000).
Cinto worked at Lupini Brothers in Rhodesia, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. Never raced.
Cinto was married and had two sons.
d) Son # 3: Emilio Giuseppe Lupini (b. Bergamo 07/05/1927 d. Johannesburg 2000).
Emilio worked at and later ran Lupini Bros in Johannesburg. He was also president of the JHB Italian Bowling Club, ran Lupo restaurant and established the Forneria Italia bakery group. Never raced.
Emilio was married and had five sons, Marco (b. 1952), Ziza (see below), Emilio (b. 1955), Massimo (see below) and Luca (b. 1963).
Luigi Lorenzo ‘Ziza’ Lupini (b. Johannesburg 1952). Worked at Lupini Bros, Lupo Restaurant, lives in Canada. Raced dirt bikes.
Massimo Alessandro Lupini (b. Johannesburg 1958). Worked at Lupini Bros, runs Forneria Italia. Did not race. But car collector, model maker.
(to be continued)
Edited by ReWind, 06 October 2023 - 09:00.
Posted 05 October 2023 - 18:20
e) Son # 4: Mario Giuseppe Alfonso Lupini (b. Krugersdorp 30/09/1935), lives Franschhoek, Western Cape.
Mario ran Lupini Brothers in Johannesburg. He was later awarded the SA Concrete Man of the Year for his 1990s contribution to the Lost City
Mario raced and rallied extensively in the 50s and 60s, starting 7 Grand Central and Kyalami 9 Hours. Was a factory driver for Alfa Romeo alongside Basil van Rooyen.
Mario married Rosanna de Stefanis (b. Johannesburg 1938) and had three sons, Michele, Paolo and Bruno (see below).
aa) Michele Romano Lupini (b. Johannesburg 30/09/1960) lives in Franschhoek.
Michele raced extensively, on dirt bikes before a successful saloon car and rally career.
Michele studied aero engineering and used that and his racing experience to establish Lupini Power, a successful SA tuning firm in the 1980s and 1990s
Michele shifted his attention to the motoring media and established Cars in Action among other magazines in 1997. He runs www.motorsportmedia.co.za among other online motoring interests today.
Michele is married and has daughter Marcella Dee (b. 1995) and son Giordano Enzo Lupini (b. Johannesburg 26/09/2000) who is a student in Franschhoek and a fourth generation race driver, karting from 2009, circuit from 2015, 2019 WC GTi champion. Won several races in SA Polo Cup 2022/23.
bb) Paolo Riccardo Lupini (b. Johannesburg 05/05/1964) lives in Cape Town.
Paolo raced regularly on dirt bikes and in saloon cars. A civil engineer Paolo has an international construction career. He is married and has two daughters.
cc) Bruno Giordano Lupini (b. 14/01/1967) worked with Michele at Lupini Power and Cars in Action before emigrating to Northern Ireland. He did not race. He is married and has a daughter and two sons.
f) Son # 5: Italo Carlo Lupini (b. Johannesburg 05/08/1940 d. Johannesburg 03/03/2023).
Italo studied architecture at Cape Town and ran a successful architectural practice in Johannesburg. He raced occasionally, including winning the Krugersdorp Hillclimb as a 17-year-old in 1958, and again in 1959 driving Gigi’s Cooper Porsche, and the first 9 hour race.
Italo brought the KTM brand to South Africa in the 1970s and managed several successful SA motorcros, enduro and Roof of Africa Campaigns
From his first marriage he had two sons and a daughter. From his second marriage he had son Elio Nikolaos Lupini (b. Johannesburg 1985). Elio races dirt bikes.
(to be continued)
Edited by ReWind, 06 October 2023 - 08:47.
Posted 05 October 2023 - 18:24
Gigi’s brothers & families
2) Giuseppe Francesco ‘Bepi’ Lupini (b. Bergamo 20/07/1906 d. Cape Town 11/02/1985). He ran Lupini Brothers in Cape Town with Gino. He did not race. Bepi was married and had a son and a daughter.
3) Alessandro ‘Dino’ Lupini (b. Bergamo 04/11/1910 d. Johannesburg [no date yet]). He ran the factory at Lupini Brothers Wynberg and later at Jet Park. From his first marriage he had son Zap (see below) and daughter Maddalena (b. 1941). No children from his second marriage after his first wife had died.
Giuseppe Pietro ‘Zap' (also Zappi or Zappy) Lupini (b. Johannesburg 27/03/1937 d. Johannesburg 10/08/2019) ran Lupini Tiles and later Lacotta Tile. Raced a little with his little 500 Abarth but was always around at the races.
Zap was married and had daughter Gianita (b. 1965) and son Riccardo Alessandro Alfredo Lupini (b. 1966) who raced dirtbikes and dabbed in rally navigation alongside cousin Michele.
There is an extensive fourth generation (Giordano’s cousins etc.) that now take the family over 100 and which is just too complex for this discussion!
Photos & info on Facebook
Edited by ReWind, 06 October 2023 - 09:10.