Italian-American import gem, Intermeccanica Italia roadster

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Italia
The Intermeccanica Italia features styling by designer Robert Cumberford

Editor’s note: November is Import Month on the ClassicCars.com Journal. Get all the news you could ever need about Italian, German, English, French, Japanese and lots of other cars at our dedicated page.


As we start Import Car Month at the ClassicCars.com Journal, the Pick of the Day is an Italian-American hybrid that’s considered to be one of the best of them, a 1972 Intermeccanica Italia, an Italian roadster powered by a Ford V8.

The Italia comes on the heels of several other Euro/US vehicles that have made Pick of the Day recently, including a DeTomaso Pantera with a Ford V8 engine, a Buick-powered Apollo GT (actually a predecessor of the Italia), and a fanciful farm tractor fitted with a Jaguar engine.  There was even a Japanese-American, an Acura Integra with a Cadillac V8 under its hood.

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A Ford 351 Windsor provides the power

The Italia was built in Turin by Intermeccanica, a company founded by Canadian expat couple Frank and Paula Reisner, who started out making performance parts for small-bore European vehicles.  They produced a few racing specials and sports cars – the tiny IMP roadster and the short-lived Apollo GT – before hitting on the formula for the Italia, with 350 produced from 1968 through 1973.

“The Italia was a well-constructed car, with a chassis designed by ex-BRM man John Crosthwaite and wrapped in a handsome steel body designed by Robert Cumberford,” according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. “After production began, a deal was eventually struck with Ford Motor Company to supply engines, transmissions, rear axles and Magnum 500 wheels from the Mustang.

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The round quad taillights are a custom touch

“As engine options for the Mustang evolved, so did the Italia: The 289 V8 led to the 302, and finally to the big 351. Ford shipped the components to Intermeccanica in Turin where the chassis and bodies were built. The Italia was a thoughtfully engineered and well-built car, not to be confused with a kit car or homebuilt special.”

The seller notes that there were several Italian automakers, aside from DeTomaso, using American components to power their exotic sports cars.

“In the tradition of the best American-powered hybrids such as Iso and Monteverdi, this Intermeccanica Italia beautifully pairs exotic Italian style with burly V8 power,” the seller says.

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A Moto Lita steering wheel has been added to the nicely finished interior

As a later production model, this Italia has a beefy Ford 351 Windsor V8 with a 4-barrel Holley carburetor linked with a 4-speed manual transmission.   The roadster overall is in very good condition with glossy red paint and shiny chrome, an original black interior that’s in nice shape, and a few custom touches.

“Some subtle revisions have been made to this car, such as quad-round tail lights, shaved filler cap, and ‘Frenched’ tailpipes and rear license plate mount,” the ad says.

These Italias are highly sought after by collectors, and this one is priced at $149,500.  But as the seller notes, you really would get the best of both worlds:

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“This well-presented example is an excellent choice for a collector wanting to experience the thrill of a proper Italian sports car without the associated complexity.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ford’s dream to take on Ferrari was rather short lived, unfortunately due to the fuel crisis of the 70’s. By the end of the decade they were more content to build a Granada and compare it to a Mercedes. Consumers didn’t want performance anymore. Now they wanted their Pinto to feel like a Lincoln!!

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