The start of SORA. Società Officine Rettifiche e Affini

If during the fifties we had the beginning of the Italian economic boom, we can consider the sixties the age of the optimism achieved. The faith on the future and its power. Exactly this faith drove three people – Mario Versari, Stefano Tabanelli e Ugo Magnani – to invest on their own talents, and led them to realize what Sora is today, a successful industrial enterprise.

“At the end of the fifties – Mario Versari says (age class 1922), Sora founding member – I was working as foreman in a very small engine manufacturing workshop placed in Forlì. One day I found out that the Minardi workshop located in Faenza (at that time Gian Carlo Minardi’s father property, who is the Formula 1 team founder) was hiring staff for steering a grinding machine just bought. I had the job. After a while, my young trainee, Stefano Tabanelli, whom would have been my future partner, had the idea to buy the machinery to build our own company and he convinced me. Minardi did not sell us the equipment, but let us to rent it. After one year we asked to Minardi’s wife (whom in the meantime passed away) to buy the equipment. She decided to give it to us with the factory. At this stage, my fellow citizen and younger Ugo Magnani joined us as partner, since there and throughout his whole life shown an unbreakable dedication to the work. On March 15th1962, all together we founded the SORA, acronym of 'Società Officine Rettifiche e Affini'. During the first years we worked only on grinding and manufacturing engines at the local level”.

The three partners realized very soon the importance to capitalize on the business productive potential and in 1966 they moved into their, to this day, headquarter.

“We offered a very high quality of services – Stefano Tabanelli says (age class 1933), from Castel Bolognese, Sora founding member that was honoured with the title of Cavaliere del Lavoro – but one of the most innovative news we proposed since 1965 was the “rotation engine” (well known as “exchange engine”). This system let us to offer the “exchange engine” service, by which an already reconditioned engine can be collected in exchange of an engine to be reconditioned. Since the end of the sixties we started to sell spare parts along the country, from Abruzzo to Piemonte”.

A new age was starting since when the Company expanded from the local to the national level. Even if the first years were characterized by a very “hard work”.

“At that time the comfort was inconceivable – Liliana Santandrea says (age class 1947), first employee hired by SORA and after fifty years still employed – we used to work very hard, even if we did it with optimism, almost with joy. The Chief of Financial was Mr. Silvano Ceroni, a very capable man, able to meet the most different features of the founding partners. I still consider this company as a “big family”.

The third founding member is Ugo Magnani (1924-2002). His “kingdom” was the overhauling workshop where he represented the soul and where he worked even when the Company started to diversify its activities. One of the most valuable resources was his incomparable manual ability, especially during the first years and he made the difference in all the engine’s processes. Due to a road accident, he passed away in October 2001. Magnani was going back home for lunch after a very hard morning at work and he could not have imagined that he would not have finished it. An idea surely inconceivable for a man with a very strong work ethic, whom continued to “make his hands dirty” until his very last day, even if Sora was so successful that it did not need his direct commitment into the grinding unit. However, he felt comfortable in the workshop: a very modest person whom for all his whole life was close to workers and considered himself one of them. Once, due to an injury in the workshop, he went to the Hospital and spontaneously declared he was a worker. So the Hospital assigned the work relate injury procedure to the Company where he was one of the owner. This is a story of the past, related an “ancient imagine”. Daughter of a world in which people qualified, rather than for their appearance, for their actions.