1971 Intermeccanica Italia Roadster

As Classic & Sports Car said in 1993: “The Italia may be one of the most gorgeously-styled cars ever made, but you may never have heard of it. The Italia is one of life’s great mysteries; it’s an especially beautiful car. It also looks curiously familiar… a touch of the Nembo Ferrari, or a NART Spyder, especially the grille. The only identification is two small badges, on the flanks, that say Carrozzeria IM and are adorned with rampant bull emblems. What is it? A Lamborghini? Nope. What you’re looking at is a genuine Intermeccanica Italia.”

It’s an Italian chassis with some modified Ford bits, and a steel body hand-formed in Turin. The Italia is a
descendent of the Griffith GT, whose chief engineer was a young engineering graduate named Mark Donohue. When Donohue and Jack Griffith couldn’t make a go of it, Steve Wilder, Sports Car Illustrated writer and MIT engineering graduate with honors, got Lee Holman of Holman and Moody to do more development of a high-performance Ital-American car, the Omega. This was followed by a few cars built under the name Torino until Ford objected. The final flowering

occurred when Frank Reisner’s Carrozzeria IM completely assembled a few hundred Italias in Turin, with excellent quality control and with the benefit of four years of engineering development.

Most early test reports were favorable. As David E. Davis said about the Omega in Car and Driver in 1967, “Everything about the design is clean. There’s an expensive feeling of quality about the whole vehicle, fit and finish are excellent. But enough looking—what about driving? The driving is, quite truthfully, a pure song, dyed in the wool, absolute gas… 150 good hard miles and from our standpoint the Omega was a complete success.” Sports Car Graphic said in 1970, “handling wasn’t bad, not too good, but not too bad… but it has the potential to be the FoMoCo version of the ’Vette. And it’s a lot more exciting.”

The vehicle pictured here had a ground-up restoration to a very high standard. The engine is brand-new, with four Weber carbs. The interior is black Connolly leather, stitched and piped in red, and the car is fitted with a black Haartz canvas top. Famous trumpeter Miles Davis once owned this stunning hybrid.