The Italian Temple of 4x4

Published: 05 June 2021

Interview with Pier Acerni of Acerni Offroad

In the Apennines near Parma, in the heart of Italian Motor Valley you can find one of the strongest and most passionate workshops of the off-road scene: Acerni Custom Engineering aka ACE. Here Pier Acerni, the owner, and his team restore, modify and tune extraordinary off road 4x4 prototypes.

In the workshop lingers the sense of heritage and victories but the atmosphere is pretty informal and friendly. The bond among team members is what really makes them unique. They’re a family, not just a business, and that makes ACE equal to none.

Pier, what do you think helped you emerging in 4x4 field?

Our strong point is that we work like a family would do. We built a special synergy that goes beyond kinship. Everybody is involved and we're very proud of it. This bonding makes us special.

Tell us the story and evolution of Acerni Offroad.

I inherited the workshop from my father, like the passion for engines. Here in the Motor Valley if you have this kind of passion you are blessed. As a child I started with motorcycles, I loved cross. I was premature because at the age 21 I already got the National Title. When I took over in the workshop's management I introduced innovations that in the long term revealed to be crucial, like the use of 3D CAD design softwares. Tridimensional designs of 4x4 custom parts let us make a step forward.

What makes a 4x4 truck prepared by you different from others?

What makes it unique is.. the passion we put in it, on top of our obsessive attention for details! We usually give a try to our ideas on trial vehicles before offering the solution to our customers. This philosophy let us create tailor made components for our 4x4 trucks bringing us on top of the Italian market. The racing division is also very important. The demonstration of our technical ability lies in our victories in Ultra4 racing events worldwide. We also brought our 4x4 prototypes at the King of the Hammers in the Californian desert. By many people KoH has been defined as the toughest single-day competition of the world. 

4x4 Prototypes: How do you start new projects?

It's objective that what we do isn't easy. My employees and I have to join together different competences: we have to be mechanics, engineers, repairers, electricians and when it's needed we have to be blacksmiths. Creativity and folly are key factors to do what we do and to do it right. Sometimes you dare, and fall. Actually you fall a lot! But when you don't.. satisfactions are something else!

What's the balance between instinct and effort in your activity?

Well, in the daily work I'm almost a computer, I'm very careful, meticulous and picky. But I also have a problem solving inborn instinct. Sometimes I test myself technically, to discover that my first thought was correct. Instinct led me to do many things. Well, when you put the helmet on for a race - for instance - it's full instinct mode since offroad races are full of unexpected twists and turns. You give it all, without knowing what's behind that curve, whether it's a leap or a rock.

What's the next challenge for you?

Our target is to go back to the King of the Hammers in California with a truly competitive prototype fitted for that kind of soil, which is different from the European one. It's an incredible desert of sand and rocks, like you were on Mars. You need something specifically made to face it.

Describe your racing mood during offroad races.

Offroad competitions are pure adrenaline to me! When you put the peak down and you get the green light every obstacle, every difficulty or every opponent you overcome gives you unique sensations. It's something that you treasure inside. And it sticks with you forever.

How did you approach Pakelo lubricants?

We started testing the engine oils because we heard about their quality and that was the most important aspect for us. We found a real partner which grew closer to us to face the difficult challenges of the racing world. With their laboratory of analysis they helped us to find the right solution.

Describe what "offroad" is to you in a few words.

Offroad is an art for us. It's synchronism, it's folly, it's bravery. A state of mind.

What does it mean for you being a "Pakelo Hero"?

In life I understood that nothing is truly impossible. What I thought was impossible before is now behind me, among all the challenges I gathered and passed. I'm here to look ahead, to new challenges. My motto is to believe. Always believe in yourself! This is being a Pakelo Hero to me.

For more info about ACE custom 4x4 parts and ACE 4x4 prototypes visit: Acerni Custom Engineering Website.

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