Monday, September 19, 2011

1970 Intermeccanica Italia - An Incredibly Beautiful Car

This is not your typical JaCG car. But, any time I see one of these come up for sale, I have to post it.

Take a look at the picture above. Look at the proportions; the rake of the windshield, the subtle but sporty lines. This is what a sports car is supposed to look like.

I written about these cars twice before, in October 2009 and January, 2010. The story of the Italia (aka Torino) is fascinating. Here's a bit of text from the original posts...
Jack Griffith, of TVR Griffith fame, was, for all intents and purposes, the car's creator. When Griffith could no longer get TVR bodies to drop Ford V8s into, he turned to Bob Cumberford to design a body for a new car. He then contracted with Turin, Italy, based Automobili Intermeccanica to produce a chassis and Cumberford's body.

The original plan called for Automobili Intermeccanica to build and ship approximately 2000 body-chassis units to Griffith in Long Island, where Griffith would then add a Ford V8 and Ford transmission and rear-end. The car was to be called a Griffith.

This all seemed like a great idea, until Griffith ran out of money and closed his business. To the best of my limited knowledge, no Griffith badged cars were built, with the possible exception of the one shown at the 1965 New York Auto Show.

A small number of bodies had already been shipped to the US. Engineer Steve Wilder bought the bodies and teamed up with the car's designer, Cumberford. They moved production of the car to Holman and Moody facilities in North Carolina. They changed the name of the car to "Omega". Around 80 Omegas were built before Wilder pulled the plug on the endeavor.

This left Automobili Intermeccanica with the very expensive tooling and some unfinished cars, but nowhere to ship them. They started importing Ford engines and built the car themselves. They set up a US distribution deal with a Triumph importer. By this time the car was called the Torino, but not for long. Ford was using that name on one of their cars and objected. The name was changed again. This time to Italia....
This car is in very nice condition. Best of all, it's a car that is meant to be driven and not a 100 point show car. It has a modern sound system and a keyless entry system installed. The cooling system and suspension have been upgraded.

The Intermeccanica company still exists, although it is now located in Canada and is building Porsche replicas. (You can find their website here.) I'm sure those are fine cars, but if it were my company, I'd be build replicas of this car, too. Few cars, if any, are as beautiful as the Torino / Italia.

Located in Philadelphia, PA, click here to see the eBay listing, which has a ton of good clear pictures. (One of which is now the wallpaper my computer!)


Anonymous said...

They were trying to make it look like a Ferrari, rear light are not original. Griffith made about 6 cars or so.

Paul said...

That is correct what you say