These exotics used a sporting Italian chassis and hand-made body penned by Robert Cumberford. Under the hood is a reliable, high-revving, 271 HP ford 289 High performance V8 mated to a four-speed manual transmission. With a curb weight barely over 2500 LBS, performance is spectacular with immediate power throughout the rev-range and excellend handling from a buttoned-downed chassis.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
The Carrozzeria Automobile Intermeccanica was formed in 1959 by Hungarian Frank Reisner. Reisner had been born in Hungary, raised in Canada, and later moved to Italy. He was a man of many talents including chemical engineer, chassis designer, and even raced sports cars and specials.
The 1950's and 1960's was a glorious time for the automotive industry, and continued the long and proud tradition of dramatic designs with creative technological advancements. Hot Rodders had their theory on the automobile which was 'there was no substitute for cubic displacement.' Where the American market often excelled was their potent powerplants stuffed in a body in true Hot Rodder fashion. On the other side of the pond, aesthetics often outflanked high revving performance. Many tried, some rather successfully, to marry these two into the ultimate package. Carroll Shelby was one of the first and most successful with the Cobras. Another was the Apollo sports car featuring a body designed by Ron Plescia and Franco Scaglione and built by Carrozzeria Intermeccanica. It was launched by Newt Davis and Milt Brown in fastback GT configuration. The body was lightweight yet sturdy aluminum built atop a ladder-type tubular steel frame. The use of aluminum was also in the engine, which was a Buick V8 powerplant; other Buick parts were utilized such as a Buick suspension. Unfortunately, the Apollo was never a success. Only 88 examples were ever created with 76 being coupes, 11 convertibles, and a single 2+2 coupe prototype.
The Apollo cars had nearly everything they needed to be successful; attractive styling and potent power. What they lacked was the necessary marketing, dealer network, and financial backing. Another shortcoming was the expense of the cars and the poor reputation of the Buick V8 engine.
The production of the Apollo Sports cars helped in cementing Carrozzeria Intermeccanica as an automobile manufacturer, even though production numbers were not that significant.
After the Apollo project came to a close, the company created survived by creating one-off prototypes and custom ordered cars such as the Corvair-powered Phoenix constructed for John Fitch, an Apollo 2+2, an English Ford 106E based car called the Veltro, and even a Mustang Station Wagon.
After creating many prototypes but not seeing any make it into mass production, the decision was made to pursue the construction of cars in fully assembled and running condition and in mass quantities. After sufficient funding was secured and a distributor was established, the creation of the cars began. They featured Ford running gear and Ford V8 power. By 1970 around 500 of these cars called the Torino, and later Italia, were created. The name was changed because Ford had Torino registered. Eventually, the Italia was created in both coupe and convertible configuration.
The Italia was powered by a 5-liter, later a 5.7-liter, V8 and had styling similar to a Corvette but with influences from Pininfarina's work for Ferrari. The Italia proudly claimed a zero-to-sixty time of just 6.2 seconds.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008