- Written by webmin
The story of the Intermeccanica Torino/Italia is one that doesn’t get repeated often nowadays. It started with Jack Griffith, the New York car dealer (see “Hot Rod Hero,” HMM #92), who attempted to follow up his TVR-based Griffith 200 and 400 with the clean-sheet, Bob Cumberford-designed, Mark Donohue-engineered, Chrysler V-8-powered Griffith 600, but ran out of money after building less than a dozen of the cars in 1966. Intermeccanica, which Griffith chose to produce the bodies and chassis, continued to build them for Steve Wilder, who bought the rights to the 600 and offered it with Ford power as the Omega, selling about three dozen before he closed up shop in 1966 or 1967. Somewhere in there, Genser-Foreman, the Triumph distributors in New York, sold it as the GFX, then ultimately Intermeccanica took over production entirely, calling it first the Torino, then later the Italia. Production halted in about 1972. One of the less than 500 Torino/Italias built is this 1969 Intermeccanica Italia for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:
A very rare and unusual hand-crafted Italian barchetta built from 1967 to 1973 using Ford V-8 engines and drivetrains, this early production car has about 55K miles and is completely rebuilt. These pretty cars were built in limited numbers in a small factory in Turin, Italy, by Frank Reisner, using custom-made bodies and parts from many manufacturers, including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Simca, Peugeot, Ferrari and Ford. More historical information is available at http://intermeccanica.org/ It is believed that less than 425 examples of these cars were built, some with Ford Cleveland engines, but most were built with the Windsor engine. Probably less than half of these remain today, and it is exceedingly rare to see one at any event. All cars sold in the USA were equipped with factory air conditioning lifted from the Ford Mustang of that period but with special interior ducts and shrouds. This early example is believed to have been manufactured and sold originally to a vineyard owner in Italy in 1968 or 1969. In 1970, he shipped the car to his vineyard near Santa Barbara, California, where it was titled as a 1970. It remained in Southern California most of its life. It remains a rust-free example with the body and sheetmetal in remarkably original and unmolested condition. The car is believed to have been repainted in its original color and reupholstered around 1980 by a local shop. It apparently was never fully assembled and driven much after that and may have languished in a series of garages until purchased in 2004 by the present enthusiast owner, who completed the mechanical upgrades and restoration to the highest standards possible.
This rare example has its original 351 Windsor engine that has recently been professionally rebuilt by a noted Ford expert. It was bored 0.030 over, with upgraded pistons and crankshaft, lightened flywheel, modern Roush heads and special camshaft with roller lifters and special valve springs to bring the redline up to 6,800 RPM. It uses an Edelbrock dual-plane aluminum manifold, with a Barry Grant Demon 750 CFM carburetor with mechanical secondaries with an electric choke. A less-aggressive 650 Holley with vacuum secondaries is also included. The engine was tuned and tested extensively on a chassis dynamometer and recorded over 440hp! The car is also equipped with a new Tremec TKO 600 five-speed close-ratio manual transmission replacing the original Ford “top-loader.” A special gearshift lever was fabricated to faithfully replicate the original. This sturdy and well-built car also uses the original but completely rebuilt Ford 9″ narrowed rear with new limited-slip and 3:52 gears. The original but completely rebuilt Girling disc brakes from Jaguar and Volvo are fitted front and rear with a newly rebuilt vacuum assist, rebuilt Peugeot 504 steering rack, factory rebuilt Bilstein struts, four new springs, new suspension components eliminating poorly designed original parts such as lower control arms that were derived from Fiat trucks of that period and new, adjustable shocks in the rear. A new fuel system with a high output electric fuel pump, rebuilt and sealed fuel tank was added, and a new cooling system with oversized custom aluminum radiator and electric fan was designed and built. The car has a new electrical wring harness replacing the original Simca harness and the instruments were rebuilt by Palo Alto Speedometer. Everything mechanical and electrical has been replaced, redesigned and improved or rebuilt, and the car is now 100% reliable. The factory air conditioning system has been removed pending restoration, but is complete and is included. The stock Alfa Romeo heating core and control valve was replaced, and works as originally designed.
This is a strong and reliable car that is as quick as you might imagine. It presently uses Enkei 18″ Racing Wheels with Yokohama high-performance tires and has Sparco racing seats with approved four-point belts installed. The beautiful Dayton 16″ wire wheels shown have stainless steel spokes, alloy rims and both three-ear and two-ear knock-off wheel locks are included. All stock interior parts such as the OE seats and steering wheel are included. The car was built for vintage road rally use and is well suited for this purpose but has never been used for this purpose. Complete history is known and all documentation and spares are provided.
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