The market is packed with accessories for the stylish petrolhead who wants to add that extra touch and feel to every mile. Not all companies however can give you the same heritage and sense of handmade perhaps as you car, where many makers of luxury goods are revived after years of slumber. The few are there though, and we feel its important for you to know of them - Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Hungant !
Meaning Hungarian Gloves in translation, Hungant has been in business of making high-end leather gloves since 1925. A soon 100 year hold continues heritage and know-how.
“The inspiration is in our blood “
When we at Nordic Overdrive got to Hungant, we were met with enthusiasm and were put in touch personally with Istvan Mandoki, who’s born into the business.
“Record indicates, that leather gloves manufacturing start in 1925 and the first company name was Manpel” explains Istvan. “My mother was the production manager and after the privatization she opened a company called Hungant - we are Hungarian, we just live here in Romania”.
Hungant has acted through most of their life as a manufacturer for many of Europes luxury and fashion houses. Only recently have they decided to sell for them selves as well. “I was a student at the Business Management university and now I work as a driver at our company " Istvan tells. "After I started working there I realised that almost all the well know brands are producing their gloves with us. I have been thinking and I started to sell online."
Why gloves ?
For centuries, men and women have protected their hands when hard labour stressing the skin was happening over and over. Fast forward and the automobile shows up, in the beginning not for the faint hearted, being not more than a motorised horse carriage. Plenty of reason to keep hanging on to the same gloves used for riding the ol’ fashioned horsepower of yesteryear.
Anyone who has done just a limited amount of gardening in their lives, knows that gloves can be essential if you ever want to grab anything again the following day. So as well with driving. Hardcore driving with hands glued to a steering wheel can really make its mark.
A day with Hungant.
We had the chance to spend a day testing two models of gloves by Hungant in deerskin. A pair with cut-off for the fingers, and a pair fully covering, in the company of three quite different cars. Driving gloves are for most people today just an accessory, but for gloves to be good it is not enough to look the part - they’ve got to work !
The morning presented the north-copenhagen country side unusually inviting in bright, almost piercing sunlight. Luckily, we had an equally shivering cold wind to make sure we didn’t dream away too much. This gave a chance for the engine of the beautiful 1957 MG A coupe to proof useful no only for moving four wheels forward but also to heat cold hands of its driver. We took the fully covering gloves out of their humble packaging, and removed the little paper note saying “ Hungant - since 1925”. An unusual understated appearance altogether nowerdays . The gloves quickly took a nice and snug grab around both fingers and palm, and were put into use on the patinated mahogany steering wheel.
Turning onto the small and neglected danish countryside roads, the soon 70 year old suspension showed an unglamorous and honest feel of how it surely has felt for most when driving this car from new. The gloves had a nice, almost sticky feel against the varnish of the wheel which helped tremendously when a crack in the road made the steering wheel turn 90 degrees either direction by itself. Also, the fully covering model showed very comfortable when handling the metal pencil that is the gearlever in this pretty little automobile.
Before heading back, the MG found a suitable moment to invite us for an unplanned visit to the engine bay. Against the model fully covering the fingers proofs suitable, where had it been the cut-off model, I would undoubtably have managed to burn my fingertips endlessly on the hot cast iron engine while fumbling with the oil check. No oil on the fingers though - plenty on the shirtsleeve.
Flamboyance between the fingers
Finding ourselves back at the garage, the next car up is a little red 1980 Alfa Romeo Spider. We chose the cut-off model for this car, which to myself brought many memories back to my own ownership of such a car and many great drives - with equally many breakdowns. Ah, those were the days.
The gloves surely helped making the occasion with their yellow on black colour scheme. Would work great for trying out on a classic Ferrari with the matching colour scheme to that of the famous emblem (hmm, good idea that is).
The sun has kept shining and in the little closed area that makes our garage, it now feels warm and summary - down goes the roof. A decision immidiatly regretted when leaving for our quick spin. Cut-off models, great for exotic summers - ice tap converting at any other moment.
The gloves are made from the same deerskin as the other pair and the thickness of the leather dims down some of the at times too enthusiastic vibrations from the long gearlever. The Alfa being a much more modern design and offering both more power, directness and clearness compared to the MG, the gloves really gets to work when handling quickly in corners where the softness of the convertible's chassis tend to flex, which can leave some unsureness with the driver. This is where you feel a pair of good gloves showing their importance.
Back at the garage swapping for the last car, and also the one car that might put a question to wether gloves are needed anymore - a contemporary piece of engineering, an Aston Martin Vantage 2008. It might to many seem pointless why to wear gloves driving modern cars. Packed with luxury, comfort and easy driving caracteristics compared to classic cars, the driver is rarely strained as much and so as well neither are the hands. Covered in leather all around, the interior of the beautiful car does everything it can to make it pleasent - and it is pleasant !
Not much is left for the gloves to do in this environment other than to bring spirit, and this they do with flying stars. The stitching done by hand compliments the level of detail found even in the high level of the Aston. But we miss putting the gloves to work, now that we have tried how well they handled their original and practical intention.
After a day of testing, we feel positively surprised. How incredible is it, that even in todays world, packed with search engines, SoMe and what not that oldfanshioned traditional craftsmanship still exist without having turned into a loud and shouting brand. The understatement and humbleness which Hungant works with reflects in their products. This really is not only an accessory, but a tool that will give you that extra bit of smile per mile.
Hungant is really a fantastic story, and the result of life long passion and hard work. It is wonderful that today it is possible to honour this by shopping directly with Hungant in Rumania. We only hope that this article can help shedding a bit more light on these artisans work.
Hungant can be purchased at: