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Selling on Saturday Evening

1968 Intermeccanica Italia Spyder

  • Rare Italian flair sports car with American power
  • 1 of approximately 500 examples produced
  • Recent cosmetic and mechanical restoration
  • Early production example from the inaugural model year

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Costruzione Automobili Intermeccanica, best known simply as Intermeccanica, was established in 1959 in Turin, Italy’s automobile manufacturing capital. Company founder Frank Reisner was a Hungarian-born, American-educated entrepreneur who would later move the company to the United States and finally Canada. In addition to producing and marketing racing parts and tuning kits, Reisner’s first car produced during the early 1960s was a Formula Junior Monoposto for an American buyer. Reisner also designed and built 21 alloy-bodied, 500cc competition coupes, one of which won its class at the Nürburgring and caused Carlo Abarth’s demand that Fiat block Reisner’s engine supplies. Soon, Intermeccanica participated in the design and construction of aluminum prototypes and the steel production bodies for the promising Apollo GT project, which ended after just 88 of these very fine road machines were produced.

Undaunted, Reisner developed a new two-seat sports car, initially named “Torino” but subsequently re-branded “Italia” after Ford registered the “Torino” name. Styling was penned by former GM Designer, Bob Cumberford, with a fresh and modern overall theme that has aged incredibly well, influenced by timeless elements of the Ferrari 275 GTB and 400 SA. Ample power for the Italia was delivered by Ford’s latest small-block V-8 engines, initially displacing 302 cubic inches and later the 351 “Cleveland,” as used in the De Tomaso Pantera. Chassis engineering was performed by racing legend John Crosthwaite, using square tubular members welded to the Italia’s hand-built steel body into a single unit, mounting rack and pinion steering, independent front underpinnings, a Mustang live axle at the rear, supported by coil springs and radius rods. Performance was outstanding, comparable to contemporary Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini road cars at a fraction of the price.

The elegant and sporty Italia caught on quickly, with the first cars imported to the U.S. early in 1968 and some 40 sold by March of that same year. Production numbers are not precise, but most frequently cited to be around 500 examples produced. Surviving examples are admired wherever they appear, whether on the road or at select shows and Concours events.

Acquired by the current owner in 2019, this Intermeccanica Italia Spyder was soon after treated to a cosmetic and mechanical restoration that entailed new front and rear bumpers, a new windshield, and paint. All of the mechanicals were sorted to ensure it was in proper driving order and items such as new air cleaners were also installed to increase reliability on the road.

Finished in striking Fly Yellow with a contrasting brown convertible top and dark brown upholstery, this Intermeccanica Italia convertible is an early-production 1968 model from the inaugural model year. Power is delivered by a 302-cubic-inch Ford V-8 engine equipped with a Holley four-barrel carburetor and mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Other features include a heater/defroster, power windows, Ford AM/FM radio, with deeply bolstered late-model adjustable seats, and useful instrumentation including a tachometer, ammeter and oil-pressure gauge. Riding on a set of five-spoke alloy wheels mounted to newer Continental ExtremeContact tires, this Italia is also equipped with a Pontiac “Formula” wood-trimmed style steering wheel. Now, as when new, the Intermeccanica Italia delivers exceptional design, reliable American V-8 power, and fascinating history; this example from the inaugural model year marks a truly rare opportunity for astute collectors.


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