‘Mad Italian’ still passionate about dream job
Everything has to be done to perfection
IT DOESN’T take a long time to find out why Angelo Pisanti is known as the “Mad Italian” at his workplace. His voice overpowers the loud roaring sounds of a Lamborghini Aventador’s high-octane engine as he shouts orders from across the workshop.
“My colleagues gave me this nickname because I shout and scream at everyone. It’s just in my nature,” Pisanti says as he giggles away.
It’s not that Pisanti is an angry Italian man who enjoys shouting. Rather, he says, he is passionate about his job and wants to make sure everything he does is kept discreet.
“When you are working for a prestigious brand like Lamborghini, everything has to be done to perfection. So a little bit of shouting here and there is good, it keeps everyone on their toes.”
The 58-year-old is the master technician of the Lamborghini workshop in South Africa. He heads the luxury supercar brand workshop in Johannesburg.
Even though Pisanti has been working with the Italian supercars for the past 19 years, it’s clear he still gets a kick out of hearing the roaring engines of a Lamborghini.
He jumps in to a Lamborghini Aventador he is working on and revs up the engine. The noise of the roaring Aventador echoes throughout the workshop.
“This sound never gets old, I tell you,” Pisanti says, smiling.“I still get shivers down my spine when I hear the sound of a Lamborghini. I never get tired of it.”
Pisanti is surrounded by sheer beauty at his workplace. Everywhere you look, you see a different Lamborghini model. There are Aventadors, Huracans, Countachs, Murciélagos, Gallardos and even Diablos at the workshop. These multimillion-rand cars are recognised as some of the best supercars in the world.
“As a car fanatic of course it’s wonderful to be surrounded by such beautiful supercars. It puts a smile on my face every day when I walk in to work.”
Having worked with Lamborghinis for so many years, it’s hardly a surprise that Pisanti is clued up on each model.
He started working with Lamborghini in 1998 and trained at the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata, in Italy. Today, he is recognised as one of the best Lamborghini technicians in the world.
He takes a stroll around the workshop and starts giving a detailed explanation of each of the cars on the floor. He speaks with passion about the different Lamborghinis.
He stops at a yellow Lamborghini Diablo and glances at it for a while.
“The Diablo was one of the first Lamborghini models I ever worked on,” he says. “Whenever a new model comes out, we undergo training and do a course. So we are always learning. Even at my age I learn new things all the time.”
Today, Pisanti has to get a new Aventador ready as the owner of the car is coming to pick it up in the next 24 hours.
Pisanti says Lamborghini customers demand the best service.
“It’s hard work. It’s challenging; you have to please your clients,” he says. “Your clients want the extra. You must go the extra mile for them, no matter what they ask you to do. I can’t just say no. If they spent six million for a car, you must make sure you give them just as great service.”
While Pisanti describes working for Lamborghini as a “dream job”, by no means is it an easy job, he says.
The Edenvale-born master technician says it’s taken years of hard work, commitment and dedication to reach his professional goals. “The nature of my work can be massively challenging. Keeping up with evolving technology with supercars isn’t easy.”
His duty as master technician of Lamborghini is multifaceted. It involves dealing with pre-service orders and moving cars into the shop, assisting his team with running vehicle diagnostics and vehicle services. He is also the clients’ first port of call for any technical issues.
Early days and late nights are just part of the equation. Pisanti’s work day starts as early as 7am in the Joburg showroom and that’s where he sets the day’s wheels in motion.
“When I started off, I was working with cars that just had a carburettor. Now, the new models are sophisticated and are powered by computers, so I have had to learn completely new things in my industry.”
“It’s taken me years of hard work to get to where I am today. But it’s all been worth it. I’m proud of how far I have come.”
And not only is the technical aspect of the job tough, dealing with clients can be challenging, too.
“Sometimes we have to work with very tough customers. Some come in and demand that they need their vehicle sorted the very same day. And it’s something we just have to do. There is no questioning a customer.”
He’s also been called out on weekends to help clients. “Sometimes I am having lunch with my family on a Sunday and I have a client asking me to come and sort out his car. There’s nothing I can do but head over and help the client.
“You have to think about protecting the brand and going over and above for them. When you are working for a brand like Lamborghini you need to give your clients the best and nothing less.”
One of the more exciting parts of Pisanti’s job, however, is being able to test drive the Lamborghinis that come through his doors.
“It’s really exciting to test drive these machines. But in all honesty it’s also very scary,” he says.
“When I am on the road, all I am thinking about is bringing the Lamborghini safely back to dealership. It’s a car that’s worth millions of rand and so you don’t want anything happening to the car. The experience can be more stressful than exciting.”
“One of my colleagues once took a Lamborghini out for a test drive and had an accident. A taxi drove straight into him and the car got damaged badly. It cost R350 000 to repair the car.”
He giggles and says he feels more comfortable in the Fiat that he drives to work every day.
“As much as I love supercars, I don’t think I will ever own one, even if I had the money. It’s a lot of money and there’s a lot more I could do with all those millions.”
Pisanti has been in the motor industry for 40 years. He matriculated from Edenvale High School and, after a short stint in the army, Pisanti began his journey in the industry.
He has worked for car brands like Renault and Ferrari, and has even owned his own car workshop with his brother Gennaro, who also works at Lamborghini with him.
His passion for cars has been there since he was a little boy.
He says his first car was an old “banged-up” Lancia Fulvia that he bought so that he could rebuild it from scratch to test how well he worked with cars.
“The first car I bought was a scrap. It was a Lancia Fulvia, it was a two-door, it was a 1.6.
“When I bought this car, the engine and the gearbox was buggered. So I made it my challenge to rebuild the car.”
“I stripped it down to the bone and rebuilt the whole car, which took me about two years.”
Pisanti says he hopes to retire at Lamborghini, having loved enjoyed his journey with the supercar brand so far.
“It’s been a journey of a lifetime, and though there have been many challenges along the way, I have always pushed forward and never looked back.
“It’s been an extraordinary 19 years and being part of the Lamborghini family is like a dream come true.
“If my health still holds up, I would love to work here for a few more years before I retire.”
After a long, busy day at the workshop, it’s time for Pisanti to leave behind the supercars, step into his tiny white Fiat and head home.
Angelo Pistani is the master technician at the Lamborghini workshop in South Africa. He heads the luxury supercar brand workshop in Johannesburg. Pistani is recognised as one of the best Lamborghini technicians in the world.
The engine of a Lamborghini.
The interior of a Lamborghini.
The Lamborghini workshop in Bryanston, Johannesburg.