My Car Quest

January 27, 2021

Editorial: A Suggestion for Pebble Beach – An Intermeccanica Class

by Wallace Wyss –

When I was a kid I’d go to the Greenfield Village Old Car Show, in a village built by Henry Ford to recall America as it was in his youth. But I’d be a little bored because too many of the cars were from the teens or ’30s. And this was the ’50s!

Now I’m wondering if all concours should be up-dating their classes to appeal to young demographics? Pebble Beach is already doing this and we much appreciated the Bizzarrini class they had in 2016. I daresay that this was, for show goers, a revelation–to see 16 cars that most of them had never seen before. Iso was to have a class at Pebble Beach in 2020, which has been moved to 2021 – so what not Intermeccanica?

Intermeccanica Italia

Intermeccanica Italia – photo by Dan Eastwood

Part of the reason was the major car magazines like Motor Trend, didn’t regularly feature them because they din’t buy ads. I know, I was at Motor Trend when we turned away the Iso importer with the implication “no ads, no coverage”.

What is the cosmic significance of starting a new class for a heretofore uncelebrated brand? It serves as a beacon to car owners–a goal and a date to shoot for as in “I’ve got to get my car ready for Pebble.” Even with the pandemic, a class can be announced and a date for entries set.

I am proposing that the Intermeccanica company, once an Italian automaker, be recognized as worthy of a class. Now it is true that besides the svelte Italia sports car (which also existed under the names Omega and Torino) it had a lot of sisters and brothers in the form of a replica SS100 Jag, the Murena shooting brake, etc. and now many decades later, Porsche Speedster replicas. Intermeccanica are now based in Canada.

Intermeccanica with beautiful woman

So would say starting an Intermeccanica class be like giving a class to a replica car maker or a kit car maker? No, because just like De Tomaso, which also started in the same year–1959–Intermeccanica built race cars first and segued into production cars. For several years they made cars in Italy. But were never fortunate enough to have a big automaker come in, checkbook in hand, and subsidize them as happened to Shelby with the AC Cobra and De Tomaso with the Pantera. So for several years they were just as legitimate an automaker as De Tomaso. It’s just that they took the side road to replica cars, and we give them credit for having good survival instincts and keeping their company going.

So this display I am proposing would be just focused on one model, and how it evolved, with only 100% stock versions being displayed the goal. That way the audience will know what the cars looked like when new.

Now the question is: should the Intermeccanica class only have the Omega/Torino/Italia or other cars? I say only the two seater sports cars of the same family branch but who knows what others want to see? (for instance the Bizzarrini class at Pebble did not have the Iso Rivolta four seater on display though, for a time, the A3C/A3L were made under the Iso brand).

Intermeccanica Indra

Intermeccanica Indra

I would hope Mrs. Reisner could come and receive some award honoring Intemeccanca’s achievements. The ultimate result of there being Intermeccanicas honored at Pebble Beach with a class would be a re-doubling of efforts by owners to restore their cars properly so they can be truly representative. Sure, those Mickey Thompson mags looked good but, just for the show, can we run the wheels it came with, etc.? That’s what in my mind, caused Italias to lag in value compared to, say, Iso Grifos–because no one knew what a stock one was supposed to look like. After a good showing at Pebble of 100% original looking examples, we would all know and I am sure the good examples will appreciate and be appreciated…at long last.

What say you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has been reporting on concours for many years and is the author of 8 car histories.
 
 
 

Below is Mike Clarke’s Intermeccanica nearing restoration completion. It could be available for Pebble Beach.

Intermeccanica

Intermeccanica

Intermeccanica Italia

Maserati Ghibli and an Intermeccanica Italia Advertisement

Maserati Ghibli and an Intermeccanica Italia Advertisement

Summary
Editorial:  A Suggestion for Pebble Beach - An Intermeccanica Class
Article Name
Editorial: A Suggestion for Pebble Beach - An Intermeccanica Class
Description
Pebble Beach should have a dedicated Intermeccanica class.
Author

Comments

  1. Howard Davies says

    don’t forget the Griffith 600

  2. Robb Northrup says

    Wallace, we should suggest a low-volume constructor’s class to include the Apollo 3500 & 5000 GTs (bodies made by Intermeccanica, but NOT Intermeccanica cars), especially with the first convertible selling for over $500K last year at auction. That class could also include the Momo (of which a handful were made), Cunningham, Edwards, Gordon Keeble, etc. There are some really neat cars out there that are very underrepresented. This would give them a chance to shine and restorers the incentive to keep these cars original.

    Robb

    • Spot on you and I are in total agreement these all belong at Pebble Beach…

    • Well if you don’t want to see any Intermeccanicas on the field that’s a great idea. Properly restored Intermeccannics are far and few between. There are numerous reasons for this, but at the end of the day its a handful. Apollos, Momo’s, Cunnighams, Edwards , Gordon Keebals would just fill and dominate a class of maybe 10-12 cars. Vauge classes like this don’t impress me as much because there’s just to many builders/manufacturers involved. You don’t get to see the breath of work the manufactures had. Now if its a guy like Edwards with 2-3 cars I understand, but Intermeccanica could field IMP, Apollo coupe, Apollo Convertible , Torino Coupes, Italia Spyders, Indra coupe and Spyder, the finch Spyder.

  3. Personally I think the idea of a small coachbuilders class at Pebble Beach is a great idea… there have been many small companies that go completely un noticed as they have no classification as such… would be great to see this happen. attached is a picture of an Italia that we have just finished for a client in California…

  4. Would love to see a class for newer coach built creations as well, there are some spectacular cars build in the spirit and taking inspiration from cars of 50 years ago that are worthy of highlighting

  5. Wallace Wyss says

    Rather that confuse the public, whose knowledge of obscure marques is spotty at best, I’m going to send my suggestion to Pebble Beach narrowed down to just recommending a new class for Omega-Torino-Italia because 12 or so might be found that are concours correct. Owners of the other cars that Intermeccanica made as a subcontractor will have to make their own pitch for recognition but I doubt if enough concours ones are ready (and if the owners have deep pockets sufficient to transport them, etc,) It’s like a war, one bridge at a time and since Bizzarrini as a marque already crossed the bridge to recognition at Pebble so can the Italia and its near kin. Those misc. cars by Intermeccanica could perhaps apply for an Exceterini class– cars that there are only a handful of….

  6. Concours correct iis a very high standard with just 100’s and not 1000’s of examples produced in the 60’s and 70’s. There’s no matching number option, as the motors weren’t tracked like that, and there are variations between examples from the factory depending on parts available. But I love this idea so much that I just completed a restoration with this exact aim, should it ever come to fruition. In fact, Wallace’s article summary features my red Italia as shot for RM Sotheby’s some 5 years ago in a barren field.

    That’s the red car I restored over the course of the last year at Mike’s Service Center in Conshohocken PA. Every chance I had to go with originality, I opted for stock. The aluminum headed 351W was taken out and replaced with a date code correct (from carb to exhaust manifold) 1970 351 Cleveland. Sourced all the odd Fiat, Renault and Volvo bits required for the suspension/steering rebuild and topped it off with an original Becker radio.

  7. I’m still looking for an original steering wheel, and a real set of Borrani wheels.

    • Steering wheels can be made, I had a friend who just had a Apollo wheel made, and Borrani sells new rims for almost every model they ever made rims for.

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