My Car Quest

August 21, 2019

The Intermeccanica Italia: Has It Been Too Long Ignored?

Another case where a hybrid (European chassis and body with American power) was slow to appreciate.

by Wallace Wyss –

Founder Frank Reisner was a Hungarian born engineer who, although he had a good job in Canada, that had nothing to do with cars, decided to move with his wife, Paula, to Italy in the late 1950s and began building sports cars. Actually their first project was tuning kits, then they went into Formula Junior, using a Peugeot engine. That was around 1960. They were into sports cars, with twenty-one alloy-bodied Intermeccanica-Puch (IMP) 500 cc-engined cars being made, one of which won at event at the Nürburgring.

Intermeccanica Italia

Intermeccanica Italia

Then came some American would-be sports car builders, one group of which was Milt Brown and Ned Davis with Ron Plescia, who later became a well known car designer. Their idea was to put on the market a svelte looking sports car similar but with the reliability of an American V8 engine.

About 88 Apollo cars were made from 1961-‘65. The consensus of opinion was that an Italian, Franco Scaglione, touched up the design originally done by Plescia. Scaglione was somewhat of a genius, moving from one automaker and coachbuilder to another, at one time sitting outside the industry for years.

Then came another American entrepreneur, Jack Griffith, a very successful car salesman. His idea was first to buy the British TVR, stick in a Ford V8 and have a rip roaring Cobra competitor.

Intermeccanica Italia

Intermeccanica Italia

But soon he gravitated to an Italian design when TVR couldn’t keep the cars coming. The new car was designed in Italy, called the Omega and apparently only coupes were made. Engines were 273 Chrysler V8s. Steven Wilder, a writer for Car & Driver, got involved, and roped in a well respected race car builder, Holman Moody, to build out the cars with Ford V8 engines but not all of them got built. Mark Donohue didn’t stay, having gone on to be a racer, eventually driving for Penske.

Intermeccanica Italia Coupe

Intermeccanica Italia Coupe

When those cars were sold off, the Omega was reborn with slight restyling changes, and as an open version, dubbed the Intermeccanica Italia. At last they had the right styling. The Apollo had the misfortune of being designed with a wheel stance that looked old fashioned but the svelte Italia two seater had a more modern look, very Ferrari 275 GTB-ish in the rear with a grille cavity similar to the Ferrari 400SA.

Powerplants seemed to vary again, this time it was a Ford 302 but later they came with a Ford 351, the same as the Pantera engine. The wheels were Magnum 500s, made in America.

One description of the frame design, attributed by a website called Supercars.Net to John Crosswaite, was that it was cobbled together “using parts from various European manufacturers. The engineering was fairly straight forward, using square tubes to form an independent chassis which was welded directly to the body. The company boasted: ‘welded into a single rattle-free unit’. The front was suspended by unequal wishbones and a Mustang live axle was mounted in the rear with coil springs and radius rods.”

The body was steel and very heavy. I remember lifting the hood and being surprised as how heavy it was compared to the alloy hood of a Ferrari.

Who did the styling is difficult to nail down. When I wrote about the car decades ago, that Scaglione did it, I got actual photos from Robert Cumberford saying, no, he did the styling. Supercars.Net says Scaglione was hired only to do a “refresh” adding bumperettes, etc. At any rate, it was a better looking car as the Italia, marred only by having taillights from some other brand instead of its own taillights.

Intermeccanica with beautiful woman

The car was called the Torino for a short period, before Reisner ran into difficulties with Ford, who had registered the Torino name. That was more or less the history of Intermeccanica, they would be doing good and then some larger company would come along and fowl up their plans.

The general consensus was that approximately 500 Italias were made from 1966-’72 (Supercars.Net says 600 were made and the production run ran from 1967 to 1973).

But Reisner was always ready to accept a commission on a new car and somewhere from left field came a request for a station wagon (shooting brake) and eleven of those were made (1966–1972), these called the Murena G (1971) with different and somewhat heavy styling. They were sexy and powerful but you can imagine the handling with a hulking cast iron 429 in the nose.

Intermeccanica Murena

Intermeccanica Murena

After the Italia was gone there was a car called the Indra, a totally modern up to date design. The Indra had both coupe and convertible versions, and looked like it would succeed with the help of a major automaker Opel, and then suddenly after hundreds were sold, Opel pulled the plug on supplying the Chevy 350 engines, leaving the Indra program in the lurch. But fate intervened. Reisner had heard that the city of San Bernardino CA would make it possible for him to move there in a move to help jump-start manufacturing in their perpetually woebegone berg, but when he got the chassis and body shells to the dock in Los Angeles, they had changed their mind.

Intermeccanica Indra

Intermeccanica Indra

He then went into making replica cars, a copy of the SS100 Jag called the Squire, that was short lived and a much better car that copied the Porsche Speedster with a fiberglass body. The Speedster survived for decades and was taken with them when the company moved to Canada. After Reisner died, his family continues to make the Speedsters.

NO RESPECT FOR THE ITALIA

I recommend Mrs. Reisner’s book but my purpose here is–similar to my article on the Pantera–to delve into why the Intermeccanica Italia gets no respect. I attribute that to these reasons and am willing to hear more:

1.) The car is perceived of as a “Mongrel” in that it has an American engine not made by its maker, i..e., not purebred. Yet that doesn’t hurt Iso Grifos at all.

2.) The car changed names at least twice, and distributors in America at least twice, so it gave the impression that it was built by a fly-by-night outfit. You didn’t know where you could re-order body panels, windscreens and the like. When Intermeccanica would go into a new type of car they wouldn’t keep making parts for the former models so prospective owners were worried where they could get parts to restore a rough one they found.

3.) No racing. I am not aware of a single Intermeccanica Italia competing in a race like Sebring, Daytona, nor have I ever seen one race at the Monterey Historic. I have seen Iso Rivolta four seaters race at Laguna Seca so I am concluding the Italia was not developed to the point where it would lend itself to racing.

4.) Frequent customizing by owners. This is the bane of the hybrid Italian cars, some owners feeling that, without the automaker there to lean on them for making it non-stock they are home free and can paint it candy color, change the wheels, seats, taillights, you name it, all of which damages the reputation of the car as an appreciating classic. I would say Intermeccanica Italias are generally worth no more today than they were ten years ago, while, for instance, some Ferraris are worth ten times what they were ten years ago (particularly Dinos).

Intermeccanica Italia

1968 Intermeccanica Italia with custom hood scoop

5. Inconsistent Auction Results. With cars like the 275GTB, or Porsche Speedster, you see constantly rising prices fetched at major auctions like RM and Gooding, etc. Porsche Speedsters are now nudging a million for a 4-cam. But the Intermeccanicas are more often found at the more middle class auctions and get wildly inconsistent results—under $25,000 at one auction and over $75,000 at another. I could be way off on values, a ‘72 sold at a 2010 auction at Monterey for $143,000. But I am saying in general you can’t bank on them as a solid investment practically guaranteed to appreciate. When they do sell for heavy bread, I bet they are strictly an “emotional buy,” some high roller sees one for the first time and falls in love (better that than the pole dancer at the casino, though).

6.) No consistent Club. With many marques, such as the Porsche 356 club, many of the editors have been writing about the cars for decades so much is known, there’s many listings for suppliers of parts, and fabricators. But the Intermeccanica clubs seem to come and go, they aren’t a strong force in representing the marque at shows year after year. Yet the Iso and Bizzarrini Owner’s Club started out strong and, though they changed hands, got the word out on the cars and they have, in some models, gone up as much as ten times in price since the club started. A strong club with a nice magazine always helps grow interest in the marque. The Ferrari marque for example, has CAVALLINO and FORZA, both pushing up values by showing fine examples in color and showing the events for the marque around the world.

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THE DRIVING

For some long ago assignment I went to Santa Barbara where I met a man who had both a Daytona Spyder and a black Intermeccanica Italia. I liked the husky sound of the Intermeccanica more and, on short sprints around Montecito, it seemed every bit as exciting as the Ferrari. Now Daytona Spyders are worth nearly a million and Intermeccanica Italias are back at the starting gate on value.

RARITY NOT A HELP

You can’t put it down to rarity, for instance if you lump Ferrari Daytonas, putting coupes and spyders together, they outnumber Italias more than two to one. But the phrase “rarer than a Daytona” doesn’t move the value meter needle a single millimeter.

ONE MAN’S OPINION: HOW TO SAVE A MARQUE

I think first a club has to be adequately funded to make a strong show of support. Then too, there has to be one or two owners making the plunge to take one all the way to Pebble Beach quality in restoration and to resist the temptation to “do it better” than the original automaker.

Then too I think owners of restored ones will have to loan them to magazine editors, at least for an hour or two, to get some favorable publicity.

Third, I think a yearly award should be established at some event like Concorso Italiano for the best Italia, get them some recognition.

Intermeccanica Italia

Intermeccanica Italia

Fourth, I think Intermeccanica should make replacement parts and stand behind what they built. It is embarrassing that they disavow it; even Mercedes and Ferrari are making old parts again, realizing restored cars help sell the new ones. Though Intermeccanica no longer makes Italias, the fact that they don’t make parts makes would be owners wary.

And so it goes. I wish Frank and Paula Reisner would have stuck with the Italia or even Indra and not gone into replicas, but replicas, according to Mrs. Reisner’s book, saved the family and kept them making money.

Now I expect brickbats, and am donning my helmet and flak vest. I am sure Italia owners have something to say….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of 18 automotive histories and co-host of “Autotalk” broadcast weekly from KUCR FM Riverside.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Editor’s Note:

Intermeccanica is now Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. a public company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange as SOLO. They make electric vehicles. I own shares of Electra Meccanica.

Mike Gulett

Maserati Ghibli Advertisement

Maserati Ghibli and an Intermeccanica Italia Advertisement

Summary
The Intermeccanica Italia: Has It Been Too Long Ignored?
Article Name
The Intermeccanica Italia: Has It Been Too Long Ignored?
Description
The Intermeccanica Omega was reborn with slight restyling changes, and as an open version, dubbed the Intermeccanica Italia. At last they had the right styling.
Author

Comments

  1. Hi Wallace, I’ve been following Intermeccanica cars for over 20 years. My father had a 1969 Torino-Italia and was part of our family until around 2002. My father passed away and I have been hunting for it since, I heard it was sold to someone in California who was going to restore it. That being said in my years searching since then I’ve amassed a trove of photos and details other of primarily Torino-Italia-Omega cars, but have some other details on Indras and Murenas. Happy to discuss further with anyone. Attached a photo from my youth, standing next to it!

  2. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I ALWAYS LIKED THESE CARS. BUT I ALWAYS THOUGHT THEY PUT THESE CARS TOGETHER IN PASADENA , CALIF. TOO BAD EVEY TIME I PRINT OUT THE INFO I GET THE “YOUR VIEWS SO FAR, BLOCK , BLOCKING OUT SOME OF THE PRINTING.

  3. imwithstoopid says

    Back around ’72, I worked with a fellow who had a black one. It was around the end of the “kit-car” era and the first thing I thought of was perhaps it was an early well made Devin then looked closer and saw the “Italia” badge. and he lifted the hood and the small block confused me. But he convinced me it wasn’t a kit, obvious from the overall workmanship once looked at. He allowed me a chance to drive it and it was very tight and flat on the suspension, a very nice all round car.
    I do believe that its somewhat generic look and the era it comes from, causes the “kit-cat” first impressions and therefore its auction pricing. My old 246GTS and the Fiat Dinos were of the same era and people did show disdain toward them, try to buy one now, finally some respect.
    I did and still do like the Intermechanica very much and agree with Mike, it should be recognized.

  4. It feels like Deja vu having owned Iso Rivoltas for the past fifteen years and most of the printed article getting many of the facts wrong. Round two with the Intermeccanica cars.

    Wallace I suggest you read the book “INTERMECCANICA the story of the prancing bull” by Andrew McCredie. This book documents the story of the Reisner’s humble baggings to current day car production in Canada.

    Frank Griffith wanted to purchase and sell the Apollo with Ford V8’s but because Apollo was on the verge of bankruptcy Frank Reisners lawyers suggested he design a new body. That was the birth of the Intermeccanica Griffith. It was designed to use a SBF but Griffith didn’t pay his bills and Ford recovered their inventory, so Griffith was forced to use the Chrysler engine. Later the Griffith would be called Torino, Omega, Italia and the Italia GFX. Early cars used the 289, 302 and later cars used the 351Cleveland.

    I am currently restoring a Torino and I can say the the frames are not tubular but square, and the bodies are not heavy they are made of very thin steel and very light. Overall weight is light for a steel car.

    There is a very good source for many parts in California and many of the internal parts of the Italia was shared with Fiat so parts are available and in most cased much more available than say Iso .

    I look forward to your revised article.

    • With regard to the Apollo story, there’s only a wisp of rumor to that part of the Griffith history. The first of the “GOTI” cars, (Griffith-Omega-Torino-Italia) was designed by Robert “Bob” Cumberford and commissioned to Frank Reisner for the build. It was Jack Griffith, not Frank Griffith as noted above. The Intermeccanica body with Ford-to-Chrysler powerplants were simply named the Griffith Series 600, not Omega, Torino or Italia.
      I’m wondering where the Griffith is named in the index list above.
      A good place to start is at.www.griffithmotorcars.com.to learn about the Griffith story. Back in ’64-’67 I was the Griffith factory test driver and wrote the definitive history of the car. There were 10 proposed Griffith Series 600 cars at the factory when the company went white side up but only 7 saw the light of day as three of them were destined to go back to Intermeccanica on the collapse of Griffith Motors.
      The next book, “Griffith, The Man, The Car, The Legacy” is close to completion.

      • I’m looking at a Griffith ad and it doesn’t mention anything about a Griffith “600” it just calls it a Griffith ? I think everyone agrees that the first 7-10 cars weren’t Omega’s, Torino’s or Italia’s.

        • Mike,
          With all due respect to your research, the Intermeccanica-produced Griffith 600 was and always will be referred to as the Series 600 Griffith. Their VIN identification plates are issued as 600/6/XXX. No matter what you provide for evidence, especially the ad copy, it will not take it away from its official corporate designation. If you were at the factory and worked there, as I did, I would defer to your translation of an ad copywriter’s poetic license.
          With regard to my comment about the various post-600 Griffith names, look back and see this in your previous note:
          “…Later the Griffith would be called Torino, Omega, Italia and the Italia GFX. Early cars used the 289, 302 and later cars used the 351Cleveland.”
          Very sincerely,
          Mike Mooney
          President
          Griffith Motorcar Co, LLC

          • Just saying next time maybe someone should tell the marketing department what’s going on. This all sounds like very serious business over on the Griffith side of things, I wish you the best.

          • This ad shows the ” Griffith 600 “as a completely different bodied car ?

          • The ad copy in that advert was done very early on in 1964 before the Reisner/Cumberford connection came on scene. The TVR bodies were mostly from the very fertile mind of David Hives, the late design engineer who spent 6 months here in the Colonies helping Jack Griffith get the company on its feet. The two designs in the ad above eventually hung around in the TVR design department for a few years but never went into production. The base design was named the TVR Trident and there were only 4 Tridents built. The attached photo is a later translation of the design of the stillborn TVR Tina.
            more information can be seen at:
            https://www.pistonheads.com/tvr/trident/
            These stories and many others will be included in the upcoming Griffith hardcover.

  5. Torino

  6. wallace wyss says

    When you say the body panels are light, when I photographed a black one in Santa Barbara I lifted the hood abd was shocked how heavy it was, maybe used to alloy lids on my Ferraris. So it’s all in who;s doing the lifting and what cars they are experienced with. I can only bench press 60 lb. alas.

    I read the book you mention but was disappointrd that Frank would always go to the next car and not announce a fix for the flaws in the last one, like a guy who didn’t plan on being in business very long. Actually DeTomaso was worse (the Mangusa was hugely flawed) as he would jump to a new model rather than fixing the last one but he had the cloak of responsibility that Ford laid upon him so his cars are thought of as better built and more reliable. I remember Ford sent a legion of mechanics with toolboxes all across America to find the first 100 or so Panteras made so they could replace parts right in the owner’s driveway!

  7. Robb Northrup says

    Wallace and Mike:

    The Apollo has suffered the same fate as the Italia. (Note that Griffith was approached by Ned Davis to invest in International Motor Cars — mfr. of the Apollo GT — when IMC ran short of cash. Griffith decided to go his own route.)

    According to Paula Reisner, Frank’s widow, Scaglione did a masterful job in smoothing out the Apollo’s form as designed by Ron Plescia, and Scaglione did the same on the Italia, making the design work for production.

    Both the Apollo and Italia are excellent cars. While Milt Brown engineered the Apollo chassis, Frank Reisner was the one who engineered the body. He was an absolute genius. And the Apollo experience prepared him to do the Italia and it’s successors.

    Italia owners can contact Italia Reproductions in Atascadero CA for parts.

    Robb Northrup

    President, Apollo Owners Registry

  8. Wallace,

    I currently own several of these cars and have been around them for over 40 years. Mike is correct in that numerous pieces of misinformation gets published causing a great deal of confusion. Jack Griffith went from a Ford powered TVR to the steel bodied Griffith 600 GT. The names attached to the cars design included many of the greats of that time. The 273 Plymouth was a bit heavy for the car that was designed for a 289 Ford. When Griffith folded after 6 or 7 cars, the Omega was born. As a point of interest, I own the original Griffith 600 NY show car. Only 33 Omega coupes were completed by Holman Moody. That is when Intermeccanica made the decision to build the cars in Italy and ship them over complete. Despite your lifting the hood test, the curb weight of an Italia is 2600lbs. Compare that to a similar sized 67 Corvette that had a curb weight of about 3300lbs.

    When people with little knowledge write about a car they know little about, it will likely impact the values at auctions. Additionally, when others repeat all the misinformation, the cloud continues. To suggest that a small company like Intermeccanica have parts on hand is unrealistic. If I’m wrong, why not head over to your local Plymouth dealer and try to buy a Superbird nose cone. Those parts were not serviced 5 years after the cars were sold new. These cars were hand built. Stocking parts would be very difficult. You are correct in that many were modified over the years. I would say that a correctly restored car will still top 100k. To say that prices have not increased over the last 10 years is more incorrect information. If you find any for 25k, let me know, I will take all you have.

    If you are going to write about a car, why not base the article on facts instead of personal opinion.

    • Dan, recently a Italia Spyder sold on BAT for what I thought was a low price of 95K . I did a little research and found that RM had sold over ten Spyders at auction all for over 100K two cars going for close to 180K without commission. The recent sale on BAT was an automatic car that had not had a full restoration and I believe the dealer just wanted to move it out of inventory. IMO the market for Spyders and all Intermeccanica cars is still very strong. Wallace just needs to do his homework.

  9. IMO Frank was one of the most efficient builders in Italy. Yes he was prolific building The IMP, Apollo, Italias, Indra, Murena, Squire, along with special projects like the Mustang station wagon, Fitch Phoenix , Scaglione’s Veltro Titania just to name a few. He often used workers from other companies like Maserati on swing shift or graveyard schedule to meet deliveries. Frank did what it took for his small company to survive in a competitive market.

    As far as the Italias hood weight is concerned it is a long hood that requires more stiffening to keep its shape. Italias also didn’t use a gas hood shock rather a spring shock, so maybe that’s why you had a hard time lifting the hood. A better way to judge a cars weight is by reading the curb weight specs rather than lifting a hood. Here are a few for comparison, please note that the Intermeccanica’s are substantially lighter than their counterparts.

    Apollo- 2271 lbs

    Italia -2449 lbs

    Iso Grifo – 3550 lbs

    Camero- 2920 lbs

    Pantera -3123 lbs

    Maserati Mistral – 2799 lbs

  10. Photo from the assembly line.
    Must have been a run of coupes that day.

  11. Robb Northrup says

    Mike, just to clarify: The Apollo GT is NOT an Intermeccanica car. Intermeccanica was the contractor that engineered and built the bodies (working through subcontractors who actually did the work). Milt Brown engineered the chassis and did a preliminary blueprint for the car and body. Intermeccanica was to Apollo (International Motor Cars) as Pininfarnia is to Ferrari. Final assembly with engine, gearboxes, brakes and suspension was done in Oakland CA (later, Pasadena). IMC did a lot more of the assembly than Shelby American did with the Cobras (essentially they only dropped in the engine and gearbox). Frank Reisner did build one complete car to display at the Turin show in 1963.

    The Italia et al, when assembled by Intermeccanica, IS an Intermeccanica.

    Regarding the workers: Reisner used the same subcontractors that other companies did (I’ve got a great shot of one of the body subcontractors working on the production Apollo buck sitting on the chassis built by Milt Brown with Alfa 2600 spyder body shells in the background). An example: Zagato really didn’t build much, but subcontracted out to folks such as the Corna brothers, who built the prototype Apollo body. Corna built the Lancia Zagatos

    To dismiss the Italia because it uses components from “lesser” cars, note that all the old Ferraris and Maseratis used a plethora of Fiat and Alfa door handles, switches, etc. Maserati Ghiblis and Indys used front suspension components bought from England (I want to say Alford and Alder). Frank Reisner learned a lot about chassis design from Milt Brown when building the Apollo bodies. He saw the prototype chassis upon which he constructed the alloy body, the first production Apollo chassis, and the prototype Apollo 2+2 chassis. Frank was extremely gifted and could put together the right combination of parts to make a superior chassis.

    Also, to criticize the Italia for it’s live rear axle, just look at the handling reputation of Maserati Ghiblis, Indys, etc. Remember, too that IRS wasn’t always viewed by Europeans with admiration as many examples experienced rear wheel steering. I have a copy of a letter from Frank Reisner to Milt Brown documenting this.

    Regarding weights: The Apollo 3500 GT (with the Buick 215 alloy V8) was listed by the company at 2400 lbs. The 5000 GT (Buick 300 V8) a little heavier (around 2500 lbs.).

    Italias, like the Apollo, should have higher values.

    President, Apollo Owners Registry

    • Thanks Rob my point was that Intermeccanica built the Apollo bodies /chassis’s. But I have to say IMO the Apollo is a Intermeccanica just as a SZ Alfa is a Zagato. As I understand the story the Apollo was designed in six months mainly through correspondence between Frank Reisner and the men in Oakland. Quite the feat for both parties.

  12. wallace wyss says

    Overall, I can congratulate all those voicing opinions–gives me more faith in the cars than I had before. I am most impressed with the low weight. Is there one shop in the entire US that you can call up and read the SN and find out if it was the model with the weak front suspension? Is there a standard kit to replace the weak parts and what is the price for parts plus labor? I think the Iso cars, once they had a strong club, a club magazine, parts lined up, mechanics who knew the cars–that all resulted in Iso Grifos going from $14,000 when I bought a long nose 351 in the ’80s to $400,000 plus today..Celebrity owners help add value. At least one of the Beatles owned a Grifo. I can’t remember the name of the game show host who ran an ad in th LA Times for an Italia and I told him it was too low so he took it off the market and re-listed it years later. I even think Panteras will go up though they made many more than Italias but they’ve got to outgrow the customizing penchant of present owners.

    • Wallace were do you dig this stuff up ? I have never seen any proof that a Beatle owned a Grifo. John Lennon sat in one at the London motor show but he ended up buying a S4 Fidia. There was one in the Magical Mystery tour video but it’s been proven that car was not owned by a Beatle. Any proof?

  13. wallace wyss says

    To throw some gasoline on the fire, I found a 2013 article on MyCarQuest on a very well planned Italia restoration and that also raised up the old battle over who designed it. One commenter said “There’s been a long-running controversy between Robert Cumberford and Frank Reisner as to who deserves credit for the Griffith/Omega/Torino/Italia styling. Cumberford claims all the credit since he’d been hired by Griffith to submit the initial design. Frank Reisner claimed that Scaglione deserved more of the credit for productionizing. Cumberford’s sketch and drawing to make the design actually work – based on Scaglione’s many years of actually designing real production cars that had to be fully functional. Reisner said that the Cumberford design would not fit the full-sized Americans for whose market the car was designed. Karl Ludvigsen, and authority on automotive history probably said it best in his homage to Steve Wilder, when he referred to the Griffith/Omega/Torino/Italia as “built in Italy by Intermeccanica to a design by Bob Cumberford productionized by Franco Scaglione”. In another article written by Mr. Ludvigsen on Scaglione’s body of work, Ludvigsen gave Scaglione full credit for the design of the convertible version of the Italia.”

    • wallace wyss says

      That’s him; I am glad he waited and got the Italia to a reputable auction company. Now he has a major concern, pancreatic cancer. He vows to fight it (saying he’s got a 30 year contract) but it’s a tough disease to fight.

  14. Wallace, As I stated, numerous articles have been filled with misinformation. To repeat the incorrect info does not make it fact. I spent several hours with Jack Griffith a few years ago when he explained the story of his Griffith 600 GT. As I recall, the car was initially designed by Bob Cumberford. Scaglione refined the design in Italy, but it still retained the Cumberford design. John Crosthewaite designed the Chassis the was further perfected by Reisner and Mark Donohue. How is that for famous participants? The Alex Trebek car was sold years ago and was resold at the auction posted. I too wish the best for Alex Trebek and hope he overcomes his battle with cancer. Sonny Bono’s Omega surface and was for sale about 20 years. I’m not sure were it ended up. Famous Racer Mark Donohue test drove and had a Griffith 600 as his car while he worked and raced for Jack Griffith. The number of Griffith 600’s made was actually 6. Six production plus the prototype. The cars were not plated and numbered in any particular order, so cars with numbers greater than 6 created confusion. The heavier 273 commando created a bit of a challenge in the Griffith 600 GTs, but had the company stayed in business, I’m certain that problem would have been corrected.

    The comments about the weak front suspension were based on the lightweight fiat parts in the early design. I can attest, the Italia had several different suspension parts used over the years. I don’t know if it was based on availability or design improvements. This creates confusion for the restorer. Many opt to remove the pieces in question and replace with an improved modern design. For those that wish to maintain originality, parts can be found. A bushing is not a very complex part, and replacements can be found. A tie rod end is also not a very complex part, and can be sourced with out much trouble. Some parts are simply not available, and those few parts can be updated. With so few cars and changes made through out the years, it would be very difficult to stock parts not knowing that they will fit or be returned.

  15. wallace wyss says

    U suppose t.here is, on the part of automakers, a presumed “shelf life:” with any car.Nobody expects makers to make new parts for cars they sold 30, 40 years ago Thankfully Mercedes realized the good PR value to re-making parts for old 300SL cars so we see more of them out on the road. I think all luxury car makers should be doing this. I am still puzzled why Iso Grifos are going for $400,000 or so compared to the Intermeccanica Italias. Maybe it helped that a co-founder of the club was a writer who promoted the cars with two books. It took mote than a decade for the first complete Intermeccanica book. It may be the designer, Giugiaro. The coachbuilder, Bertone. Or the fact Iso Grifos started out as full blooded race cars. All those helped to make that sleeper brand a winner now. Now that you cite the RM sales prices, it looks like Italias are rising in value,so now the only Italian brand with American V8 I can talk about lagging values is DeTomaso.

  16. Having owned Iso’s and Intermeccanicas I can understand why Iso is on top. First the racing , second the build quality/engineering and third the clubs. Intermeccanica has never had a strong club to promote the marque. There has been very little documentation done. Iso really only has one car that is in that range (the Grifo) and it’s one of the best designs ever. No bad angles and it’s built to last. Heck they’re still trying to figure out what Frank used to build the front suspensions. Alas I think it’s a bit late to make a big difference as collectors are buying these cars now , not enthusiasts. You know, the type of guy that shows his car at all the events and has passion for the marque. In hindsight it’s too bad because Intermeccanica is one of the few small car Italian companies still in business. They could have succeeded with little effort, promoted the brand, sold some parts for the old owners. With some cars topping 180 K I think the marque has done well considering the lack of promotion especially compared to DeTomaso.

  17. wallace wyss says

    I agree with Mike, no strong club continuing to promote them and appear with them at major events hurt the value th first few years.
    Plus the company going on to widly different models, like a prewar Jag replica, You don’t see Ferrari in the middle of Daytona production going back to make a ’49 styke barchetta again (though oddly Jaguar recently ran off some more D-types so now retro is “in”) Plus fans back then writng the books early on in the Iso’s rediscovery helped have a base of knowledge. How long did it take before the first Inermeccanica book-30 plus years? And look how many books there are on Ferrari plus a website like barchettacc.com where you type in a SN of a rare model and oft times it comes up with an owner history in seconds. Not so easy with more obscure marques.
    But like you say they are fetching good money now….

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