About Manuel Olivé Sans


Manuel Olivé Sans was born in Barcelona the 9th of November 1924. His professional life as a model-maker started at the beginning of the 40’s making trains, following his father tradition. He made his first automobile in 1945, while he was complying with his compulsory military service.

It was “a model born out of my imagination, as I didn’t think of copying from any existing model”, as the artist said. This was the first of a series which really started in 1948, when the president of the Royal Automobile Club of Catalunya at that time proposed him to make a complete collection of 40 automobiles at a 1/20 scale.

Between 1950 and 1964 he made approximately 300 pieces at a scale of 1/20, among then were automobiles, lorries and motorbikes for Spanish and foreign companies and collectors. During those years he also wrote a big number of articles for specialized magazines throughout the world.

From 1960 onwards he started to make models at a 1/12 scale, a lot of them were prize winning pieces at the most prestigious international exhibitions.

In 1986 he made his last qualitative step when he started to make his models at a 1/10 scale, with which he reached an absolute perfection. They are 8 outstanding models with more than 6000 pieces which reach an uncommon degree of detail. At the same time, the accuracy in the reproduction of pieces and forms is unrivalled.

He died the 27th of April 1995 after a long illness and leaves a legacy of more than 300 pieces. Manuel Olivé is considered the most perfect maker of automobile models in the world.

Manuel cohabited with miniatures since he was a child for his father was an excellent model-maker of trains. What he preferred, though, were automobiles. His studies in electro mechanics were of great help afterwards.

He started working at a 1:20 scale. His cars were already outstanding because of their perfection of form and proportions though they were almost empty inside. In these models we can clearly see how his style improves as the number of details grow.

In 1960 he changed to the 1/12 scale. Models are more perfect but most important is that they are complete inside, hundreds of pieces impossible to see once the car is finished: “but I know they are there” he used to say.

Manuel Olivé Sans reaches the perfection of his art a 1/10 scale. Cars seem real and detail reaches an incredible spot of perfection. They are made of an average of four thousand pieces and he needs about a year to make one of them.

He was working in several pieces when he became sick. Even though they are unfinished they are dumb and impressive examples of his creative process. The unpainted metal allows us to see the perfection of this mechanics of precision.

Family was his life treasure. Elisabeth, his wife, and his children, Juan Manuel and Patricia, were a very close family which shared with Manuel his passion for automobiles and the models he made. Unaffected, kind and a person of an excellent and sharp humour, he has let an indelible memory in all he has known.

The Manuel Olive Sans FOUNDATION


On initiative of his models’ proprietors, admirers and friends, “Manuel Olivé Sans Foundation» was created in 1995 a few months after his death. Through the Foundation we want to make known to the general public the work and professional trajectory of this universal inhabitant of Barcelona as miniaturist, whose work enjoys an international prestige and high recognition. Foundation activities consist on data and documentation compilation of the master’s work, organization of exhibitions and holding of Olivé Sans modelmaking Courses

Related to this objective there are also: a human and a social objective.

Master pieces

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“E lunga un palmo ma costa più di una vera Manuel Olivé Sans, è considerato come il più grande costruttore di automobili in miniatura mai esistito”.


“Nel 1973 ha vinto il primo “Quatroruotine d’Oro” … alcune miniature de grammofoni realizzate con la stessa fedelta e preciosione delle auto”.



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