The son of a farmer, the young Italian Francesco Zefferino Sbarro very quickly became interested in all things mechanical, in particular the mopeds and scooters which he had an extensive experience in. In November 1957 Franco Sbarro moved to Neuchâtel where he worked as a mechanic. Two years later, he bought a small garage in Grandson and set up his own business. His meeting with Georges Filipinetti led him to the role of head mechanic of the famous Filipinetti motor racing team. In 1968 he formed the ACA - Atelier de Construction Automobile (Automobile Construction Workshop). His first creation was the Dominique III, a small sports car with an enormous rear fin! With this single model sold, Sbarro made a start on converting the competition Ford GT40 into a more civilised "road" model. In the following years he would go on to produce an impressive number of prototypes each more brilliant than the last.
With nothing left to prove, and wanting to make the most of his knowledge, Franco Sbarro founded l'Espace Sbarro, a not for profit organisation. This is a specialist school where the students, in addition to studying design, must also lend a hand with the construction, from A to Z, of models they must produce according to precise specifications. The school was opened in 1992. A second school was opened in Casablanca, then in France in 1995, in Pontarlier, the Espera Centre. The study cycle is one year and work is presented each year at the Geneva show in March. In June 2007, the company Espera Sbarro left Pontarlier, the town in which it had been based since 1994, to set up in Montbéliard, in line with the competitive cluster for the Vehicle of the future. Montbéliard had the advantage of gathering together many of the car suppliers in this cluster and being close to Grandson where Sbarro lived.
There has been much talk about this dynamic concept-car since it was presented in March 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. Created by the students of the Esperra-Sbarro school with the designer's guidance and advice, the Gecko offers a fun and original body for a motorised roadster.
The body is made of synthetic materials installed on a structure of welded tubes. The Gecko roadster is equipped with a 3 litre V6 PSA engine, identical to the one in the current Citroën C6. It is paired with an automatic gear box. This concept car is running, but is not approved for the road.