Intermeccanica Italia Spyder

Car producer : 



Italia Spyder





A new project was started with Jack Griffith of Long Island, N.Y. for a larger production all steel car with more financing. Ex-BRM chassis designer John Crosthwaite, working as a consultant for Jack Griffith (and later for Frank Reisner on the Italia), designed the chassis for the Bob Cumberford shaped car called the Griffith GT. A Griffith was shown with a Plymouth 4.5-litre V8 engine at the 1966 New York Motor Show.

Tooling was built and production started. Around fourteen cars were shipped, when Jack Griffith's company closed. A new customer, Steve Wilder, decided to take over the project, called the cars Omega and had them assembled by Holman and Moody in North Carolina. A total of 33 of these were delivered to the US.

It became obvious at this stage that the only way to pursue the construction of cars was if the cars left Italy fully assembled and running. In cooperation with an Italian bank, Credito Italiano, Intermeccanica found a distributor in Genser Forman of New Jersey, and finally production and sales reached the 100 to 120 cars per year level. These cars were Ford V8 powered, with Ford running gear.

The distribution was occasionally changed, but up until 1970 about 500 cars were built, first called Torino and later Italia. (Ford had the name 'Torino' registered). The Italia was eventually produced as both a coupe and a very successful convertible.

Ford objected; having their own Torino model at that time and the Intermeccanica name was soon changed to Italia Spyder so not to infringe upon the name of the primary engine supplier.

The first Italias (née Torino) were exported to the United States in 1968. The cars were unlike anything else on the market and quickly gained the attention of discerning American car lovers. However, with limited production and a price tag of $8,500, only the affluent could afford them. To many aficionados, the 1968 Intermeccanica Italia Spyder was an automotive masterpiece. The car’s “prancing bull” badging was a gracious nod to Torino's coat of arms. Its styling, which was classic Italian with vintage Ferrari undertones, was elegant. Its performance was equally impressive; as it could reach 0– to 60-mph in 6.2 seconds and had a top speed of 155-mph, which was attained through a powerful and proven Ford V-8 engine. The Italia’s steel body was hand-formed, and its chassis was made from tubular steel. With fewer than 400 of these models being built during its production run from 1967 to 1973, the Italia has since taken on an appealing mystique as a rare automobile.

A Corvair-based all steel prototype called the Phoenix was built for Fitch of Lime Rock, Connecticut.


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