In a ceremony that would be a match for even the most exotic and modern car launch, Royce, in front of family and invited friends, pulled the covers off a very special creation: his own hand-created ‘Bello’ single-seater racing car, one made in the mould of racers from the 1950s, a time when engines were still in front of the driver.

Rather than call the car by his own name, as might have been reasonably expected, the humble mechanic was delighted to introduce Bello – a name that is Italian–Spanish for ‘handsome/beautiful’ and normally used as a nickname for a handsome man. Perhaps Royce was referring to himself? In medieval Italy the word was also applied as a personal name, and would also give rise to a surname; though the chassis number of Royce’s creation is personal – RNB1.

A stream of racing cars have come out of Italy since racing began in the early 1900s. This was particularly prevalent in the early years of Formula Junior in the late 1950s. Names include marques such as Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Stanguellini, not to mention lesser-known makes such as Foglieta, Volpini and Taraschi. Now there is Bello – designed and built in New Zealand.

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