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Intermeccanica Italia: potted history , what did I leave out? Opinions? anyone?

Discussion in 'Other Italian' started by bitzman, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
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    Intermeccanica Italia Spyder





    There's been a lot of guys who go up against Ferrari, trying to build an exotic car that has all of the visual appeal of a Ferrari but an engine that's dirt cheap to fix. One that succeeded briefly was Intermeccanica.

    Construzione Automobili Intermeccanica was founded in 1959 in Italy’s automobile manufacturing capital, Torino. The company’s founder, a engineer born in Hungry was Frank Reisner, It was a ma and pa operation, he and his wie=fe. He would build different styles of cars changing the name each time.

    .They started out in Italy with race cars-- Formula Junior racers fitted with Peugeot engines, but then some Americans approached him to make a GT car with Buick aluminum V8s. That was the Apollo. Those were good for their time but had tall narrow wheels and not the low squat stance of a Ferrari so dated fast. Roughly 100 were made

    That led to the Omega, with an assembly shop on the East Coast, originally those had Plymouth cast iron block pushrod V8s. Those had a notchback roof. Holman & Moody was involved in their completion.It's difficult to nail down who the designer was, Some say the mercurial Scaglione but Robert Cumberford, a one time GM designer says he did it . At any rate they fulfilled the mission of a low cost American engine in an Italian built body although it was steel bodied. The Omega was redesigned into a spyder called the Torino spyder (until Ford objected so they re0named it the Italia) and then marketed as the Italia.

    The Italias were first imported to the U.S. in 1968. The car magazines didn't get too excited, after all they weren't buying full page ads. It was fast, not Ferrari fast but Corvette fast. RM Auctions who sold one in 2018 said it would go 0–60 in 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph, with a Ford 351. The steel body was hand-formed, and its chassis made from tubular steel.

    The original U.S. distributor was Joe Vos in New York. The car was U.S. DOT compliant. so it was not a gray market car. You could order options like electric windows, full headrests, and air conditioning. Price was $11,000?

    Fewer than 400 were built during its production run, which ran from 1967 to 1973, The dependable Ford 351 Cleveland V-8 engine, the same one that was stock in the DeTomaso Pantera was the most common engine.

    The main flaws of he car was only average quality build, ill handlng and no sales and service. Pus resale was difficult because there were not factory dealers in the US and the car had no image.



    DESIGN CRITIQUE

    FRONT Very sexy and Italian, better than most Ferraris. Bubble headlamps are a bit narrow compared to 275GTB. Running bull badge looks cheap on the leading edge of the hood, and it's 20% too large and finished flat so it looks like a stamping instead of it having rounded surfaces like Ferraris horse,.

    SIDE rake of windscreen just right

    Side vent a little plain, maybe chrome surround would have dressed it up more, Mag wheels were aftermarket and made it kook like a kit car unless you has wire wheels

    REAR Very voluptuous concave rear valance panel topped by ducktail spoiler; spoiled somewhat by use of some other marque's taillights Rear fenders a tad highly peaked, and narrow without the fuller more satisfying effect of say the Ferrari 275 NART spyder.

    IN SUM: A very aggressive design, that still looks modern today

    VALUES These are all over the place. RM sold one for $172,000 in 2018 which has to be the top of the game for an Italia,

    Only 400 were made which numbers wise is the same as the Mangusta but Mangustas have the benefit of a famous designer, Giuguiro so are worth more.
     
  2. Mang

    Mang F1 Rookie
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  3. NYC Fred

    NYC Fred Formula Junior
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    There was one for sale in Ft. Lauderdale a few months ago. V pretty car. Caught my eye from across the lot.
     
  4. MK1044

    MK1044 F1 World Champ
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    I think the same body style was first called Omega, (although there was a prior body style also called the Omega), then with some minor changes Torino, then virtually unchanged as Italia. The Torino was imported as a 1967 model with Ford 289 power and Borg-Warner 4 speed trans. There may be a few automatics as well. The rear was a narrowed Ford solid axle. Coil spring with solid disks at all four corners. Early on the cars were imported without drive trains. These were installed by Holman and Moody in North(?) Carolina. The full run was a little over 400 but I cannot remember the exact number. It was built mostly as a notch back coupe and only about 100 were drop tops.

    The running gear was off the shelf from various European cars but there was a good owner's club with much posted info and you could carry any part into a foreign car parts store and they could match it up for you. Some of the front end pieces were a little weak. The engine was Ford.

    I owned 1967 Torino # 40057 for over 20 years. I disagree with some of the assessments. The quality of the build was fine. The handling on smooth roads was excellent. Perfectly balanced 50/50 weight distribution. The clutch was a real workout to operate and the solid disk brakes were good for one good stop and one prayerful stop. After that you better downshift. In the summer the cabin was an oven.

    If I still had it I'd beef up the front end, replace the brakes with vented disks, and install an air conditioner. All around it was the nicest car I've ever owned. I'm sorry I ever sold it.
     
  5. DWR46

    DWR46 Formula 3
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    OK, here you go:

    Griffith: 6 cars
    Omega: 33 cars
    Torino: 28 cars
    Italia: 274 cars
    Coupes: 121 cars
    Convertibles: 220 cars
    Chrysler 273: 6 cars
    Ford 289: 69 cars
    Ford: 302 106 cars
    Ford 351 Windsor: 98 cars
    Ford 351 Clevleand: 62 cars
    4-Speed: 302 cars
    Automatic: None (I do not know what gearbox was in all the Griffiths and Omegas)
    Updated Front Suspension: 208 cars
     
  6. MK1044

    MK1044 F1 World Champ
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    Where are those numbers from? I'm not sure those production numbers are correct for Torino/Italia.
    I recall from the owners club that something over 400 of that model were made. (But I sold mine over 20 years ago so memory may be failing me).
     
  7. MK1044

    MK1044 F1 World Champ
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    Are you writing a book or magazine article?
     
  8. DWR46

    DWR46 Formula 3
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    #8 DWR46, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    MK1044: The numbers are from Paula Reisner and her copies of the factory records. For years, stories featuring these cars have greatly exaggerated the actual number of cars produced.
     
  9. MK1044

    MK1044 F1 World Champ
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    Sounds like a reliable source. :) I believe you.
     
  10. DWR46

    DWR46 Formula 3
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    MK1044: I think that while Frank was alive and especially during the time when they were actually building the cars, he encouraged the reporting of exaggerated production figures, as it made the car seem more successful. Over the years, as we have seen so many times, something in print becomes gospel, and it is set in stone. Intermeccanica was certainly not the only small volume manufacturer to "encourage" and "report" optimistic production numbers.
     
  11. MK1044

    MK1044 F1 World Champ
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    Which notably goes against the standard exotic car joke: "Of 50 originals, only 75 survive". :D
     

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