• 1963: The origins

    Pushed by an inborn passion for cars since his youth, the enterprising Luigi Pilato, owner of the Funeral parlour which carried his name in Ponte della Priula had enjoyed, with some strict collaborators, converting Mercedes cars into hearses. As the years went by, that “pastime” became his main business, which led him to set up “Autotrasformazioni Pilato S.R.L.” and into which he soon introduced his whole family: his wife Anna, and his 3 daughters Barbara, Silmava and Andreina.

    start of the collaboration with Mercedes Benz. The first hearses with the Pilato brand are based on the MB S220 and MB 190 cars.

    from the early years the fittings are not only on Mercedes cars, but also on other carmakers’, like Fiat and Lancia.

  • 1968: Mercedes Benz chassis’ era begins

    MERCEDES BENZ start production on the first 115 (MB/8) chassis model from which Pilato Autotrasformazioni gets a notable number of hearses.

    Towards the end of the 60’s the little family-run firm expands until it becomes the point of reference for all national production.

  • 1970: Mercedes Benz class E

    Pilato begins to convert all the class E chassis versions produced by Mercedes Benz.

    During this period Pilato is the first to get ready and implement the “lift-coffin device”, a revolutionary system immediately imitated by all other organizers, made up of an hydraulic piston which, by acting under the steel loading platform, lifts the coffin up by the few centimetres that give the funeral operator a firm grip and a great ease during the loading/unloading operations. This device is still installed today on all Pilato’s hearses and it is backed up by a “Compliance Declaration” which certifies that this hydraulic device complies with all European rules regarding safety matters.

  • 1980: A passion for creativity

    "Autotrasformazioni Pilato S.R.L.” is the sole agent in Italy to fit the Volvo 244 chassis on hearses.

    These years see the introduction of a series of devices which make the hearse more functional still, thus making it a very reliable instrument in the hands of funeral directors:

    • The lifting roller with partial coffin expulsion allows its sliding without having to drag it or lift it as a dead weight.
    • The rear door opened automatically by remote control and/or a push-button in the driving cabin. This automatic device is EU compliant.
    • Interior platform partially extractable automatically by an hydraulic pump fitted under the platform. This automatic device is also EU compliant.
    • All the mechanical devices designed to be fitted on the hearses produced by Pilato have never been patented, because Luigi Pilato had always hoped that his “inventions” could be of benefit to all other organizers.

    To this day Pilato believes that it is important for a firm to hand down to the next generations its history, know-how and its inspirational values.

  • 1985: The class E Mercedes Benz 124 model

    The Mercedes Benz 124 model’s chassis begins production and it carries on for the next ten years. Pilato becomes established on the Italian hearse market which, in those years, makes use not only of the German Mercedes, but also of many well-known car manufactures like: Fiat, Peugeot, Ford and Citroen.

  • 1987: The body in compound materials

    Turning point in body manufacture: we go from the body skillfully moulded by hand, in the tradition of Italian coachbuilders (sheet-metal beaters) to a body made of compound material.

  • 1992: Merfina

    Pilato becomes concessionary firm to Mercedes Benz’s Financial company Merfina.

  • 1996: The class E Mercedes Benz 210 model

    Vehicle production begins on Mercedes Benz class E model’s chassis, and up to a 1000 hearses are made. When its founder, Luigi Pilato, passes away Pilato’s management goes to his wife Anna Ceneda and to his 3 daughters Barbara, Silmava e Andreina.

  • 1999: Pilato S.p.A. is born

    The “Autotrasformazioni Pilato S.R.L.” changes its name and becomes “PILATO S.p.A.”.

  • 2000: The Volvo S80 arrives

    Arrangement with the Swedish firm Nillson , whose headquarters are in Laholm, for the commercialization of the Volvo S80 hearse on the Italian Marketplace.

  • 2001: The Hearse Revolution

    “Model 2001” enters production: the Mercedes Benz hearse on a long E 270 CDI Mod.210 chassis which revolutionizes completely the hearse’s formal standards. It was immediately popular, thanks to its tool compartment accessible by a practical side door and to its distinctive “ogival” rear window which heightens the dynamic character and the engaging personality of this new generation of hearses.

    In the history of design it marked the starting point for new and fascinating prospective of a formal, but renewed language capable to blend beauty and elegance with functionality and practicality.

  • 2002: Pilate acquired the brand CASALE

    A year after the death of Dario Casale, founder of the historical company of Bassano del Grappa (VI), the brand name “CASALE” is absorbed by Pilato SpA. Pilato gets from Berlin-based approval for the transformation in autofunebre of some models of cars Rolls-Royce.

  • 2003: The class E Mercedes Benz 211 model

    Hearse “Italia 2+2”. DaimlerChrysler begins production on the Class E 211 Model chassis, on which Pilato S.p.A bases his four hearse models.

    The production process evolves: from handicraft to an industrial process based on production engineering. Thus begins the long planning phase for the car, beginning with the design, the search for materials and technology to achieve it, on to the feasibility study for the production processes, to end with the making of a milled tridimensional model which will be used for the production of bodywork moulds.

  • 2004: The “CinquePosti” hearse

    A joint venture with the German Binz for the production of the “CinquePosti” hearse, based on the Mercedes Benz class E model 211.

  • 2006: The “StarFighter” hearse

    At the Modena show the revolutionary “StarFighter” is presented: a hearse based on the long chassis and a never-before-seen rear part design and with two variants for the front: one with the class E original headlamps and the other with the CLS series headlamps. In this original way Pilato expresses a new way to design the hearse which blends practicality to the unmistakable Italian style.

  • 2007: The new “Dream CinquePosti”

    The very popular “CinquePosti” model undergoes a restyling: the new Dream is born, the hearse based on the long Mercedes Benz E 280 CDI 211 Model chassis of 3900 mm pitch, which once more is confirmed as the best-selling, most prestigious and refined flagship in Europe.

  • 2008: The year of the Jaguar

    From the collaboration between Jaguar Italia and Pilato is born “The Queen”, a hearse with five seats, based on the Jaguar XJ vehicle: a hearse which spaces both into the present and into the future, with refined elegance and self-assured majesty, the classic style of the Jaguar brand.

  • 2009: The “Skyline” hearse

    Enters the stage the initiator of the new VF 212 model hearses: the Skyline hearse based on a VF 212/3700 Model chassis and on Mercedes Benz E250 CDI mechanics. With it, Pilato interprets in an exclusive and original manner the new class E evolution which expresses itself in the bodywork’s outstretched and muscular outline projecting a strong design power and an imposing and forceful personality.

  • 2010: The reappearance of the Jaguar

    In the wake of “The Queen” success, the new “Aurora” is born: the Jaguar hearse in the 2 seat version from the Jaguar XF Model. This hearse continues and strengthens the partnership with the prestigious Jaguar car-maker which began in 2007 and which has brought to this model European type-approval as a hearse.

    It also sees the beginning of production of the “SuperStella” hearse based on a VF 210/4000 Model chassis and on Mercedes Benz E 250 CDI mechanics, the CinquePosti mod.211’s evolution, in a new and very original interpretation capable of expressing an outer dynamism and power and a natural, soft feeling in its interior fittings.

  • 2011: Skyline FourPeople

    Production begins of the “Skyline4People” with 2 + 2 seats based on a 3700 mm pitch, Mercedes Benz chassis: a compact four seater, agile and easily manoeuverable. Its newly conceived rear seats can be inclined in order to obtain a large loading compartment to carry all the implements needed for work. It guarantees maximum safety levels for those travelling in it thanks to reinforced suspensions on the base vehicle, fitted by Mercedes Benz.

  • 2011: toska

    Nella seconda metà del 2011 esordisce l´autofunebre “Toska”: l´autofunebre ispirata al design mitteleuropeo e progettata per trasportare due cofani.

  • 2012: The Queen II

    At the international funeral Fair in Bologna on March 2012, the spotlight was turned on the Jaguar Brand. Pilato launches the “Aurora Sprint”, a two-seater hearse based on Jaguar XF with compact dimensions that make it ideal for manoeuvring in town centres, inside cemeteries and in hilly areas. In this occasion, Pilato also introduces through digital renderings and sketches “The Queen II project”: the Jaguar XJ flagship that will approach the funeral world from a new perspective and mark the birth of a new age in the luxury hearse market.