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Monday, February 9, 2015

Prettiest Sports Car You’ve Never Heard of Heads to Auction


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Intermeccanica profile photo

Ferrari and Maserati get most of the glory — and rightly so. But they weren’t the only Italians building large, svelte, low-slung sports cars in the 1960s.
 There were actually a handful of companies who went the route of Sydney Allard and Carroll Shelby by utilizing big American V8s. Twelve cylinders and lots of camshafts are great, but for some smaller car makers, the cost of engineering such powerplants was prohibitive, and the appeal of similar performance from the much cheaper motors coming out of Detroit was hard to resist.
One company to make the move was Intermeccanica of Torino, which was actually founded by Hungarian-born Canadian Frank Reisner.

After making speed parts and a Formula Junior racing car, Reisner introduced the Intermeccanica Italia Spyder, which was the company’s most famous and most produced model as well as one of the all-time favorite Italian-American hybrids. Its steel bodywork resembled a leaner Ferrari NART Spyder, and under the long hood was Ford running gear.

Intermeccanica Italia Spyder photo

These Italias were very expensive cars and Intermeccanica was a small company. Only about 400 examples were built from 1967 to 1973.

 They have certainly made an impression among enthusiasts and collectors, but in general they don’t command the same big prices as comparable American-engined Italian sports cars like the Iso Grifo or the Bizzarrini 5300.

Intermeccanica Italia Spyder rear photo

This 1968 example features the 302 cubic inch Ford Cleveland V8, wears a slightly older restoration that totaled $200,000 in work, and has been with the same owner for most of its life.

 One can’t really be picky when shopping for a car so rare, but this one seems to tick all the right boxes. It will cross the block next month along with lots of other high-dollar European machinery at RM’s Amelia Island sale.