Innocenti was formed in 1931 by Ferdinando Innocenti with the purposes of manufacturing steel tubing. The company experienced success in the years that followed until their progress was slowed by World War II. Their facilities were destroyed which left Innocenti scrambling to secure government grants to rebuild their factories. The buildings were reconstructed in Milan where the company ventured in the scooter manufacturing business. This led to the production of automotive parts and car-body presses for many companies such as Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and more. Later, with a merge with BMC, Innocenti began producing automobiles beginning with the A40 Farina.
The Turin based design studio, Ghia, was tasked with designing a bodyshell, based on the Austin-Healey Sprite. The result was a an MK1 Sprite with a stylish body and luxurious amenities. A 948 cc A-series four-cylinder engine, borrowed from the Mini, was slightly modified and placed in the engine bay. The interior was plush with amenities such as roll-up windows, glove box, heater, and interior light. Practicality was reinforced with wider doors and a trunk that was lockable.
In 1961 the 950 Ghia Spyder was introduced, a time in history when the MK1 Sprite was nearing the end of its lifespan and the mechanical components were no longer being produced. This meant that only 624 of the 950 Spyders were created using the MKI chassis. With the introduction of the Sprite MKII, production continued for the Innocenti 950 Ghia Spyders with around 4176 examples utilizing this configuration.
By 1964 the 950 received mechanical and visual updates that included a larger 1098 cc engine and an improved chassis. The name was changed to reflect these changes becoming the 1100 Spider. Production of the Ghia Spider continued until 1968.By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009