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Stone me! Albanians unveil rock ferrari

THE car above looks like something from the Flintstones, but it is, in fact, a tribute to the speed and power of a Formula One racing car, carved out of six tonnes of red stone by three brothers in Albania.

What the three Gjini brothers -- hardworking and humble stone masons -- started as a gift to a cousin has already turned into a sensation in one of Europe's poorest countries, where F1 races have many fans.

"I started working on it but I dared not tell anybody because I was not sure of the result," said the youngest brother, Alfred, 24.

"I did not really know what to do but I promised him something nice. I found the picture of a Ferrari on the internet."

Alfred said he started thinking of carving an F1 car in stone when a cousin began looking for something extraordinary to exhibit in his car parts and petrol garage.

During the last of three months of carving, chiselling and smoothing, Gjini said many locals came to watch him work. Many were doubtful his efforts would come to much. Amazed journalists first came upon it while travelling past the village of Tresh, on the way to Shkoder in the north, to cover a flood.

The car body is of red marble, called rosso Albania (red Albania). The mirrors, exhaust and fuel pipe are made of white stone and the tyres are mud-green stone. The wheel, also of stone, moves around. The car, however, does not.

The attention of the rather less lofty Formula One car has helped drum up new business.

"The car has created a lot of trust in our clients. Before Christmas we had orders for seven fireplaces," said Gjonarin Gjini, 27, Alfred's older brother.