It's a hit . . .
The Italia caused quite a stir in the magazines of it's day. Reviewers were impressed by it's beauty, power and handling.
November 3rd, 1959
The first article to mention that the Italia appeared on both the Vignale and Standard-Triumph stands at the 1959 Turin show. The dark colored car shown is, most likely, #1 and is on the Vignale stand.
November 15th, 1959
This French language newspaper has reviews on both the London and Turin Shows. While there is no photo, the Italia is mentioned in the article on the Turin show. Here's a translation of the paragraph outlined in red (by me) in the second image: "Along the same thought, another brand took advantage of interest in new bodywork, bringing an order for 500 cars to Vignale for the execution of a series of Triumph TR 3 intended, in principle, for the trans-Alpine market. It’s unfortunate, however, that the Italians were the only ones to benefit from Michelotti's design, one which represented an enormous progression from the standard bodywork. This TR 3 is sold in Italy for 2,500,000 lire."
A German language motor magazine with a report on both the 1959 Turin and Paris Auto Salons. The photo shows the Italia on the stand at the Turin show.
A short review of the Italia on the stand at the 1959 Turin Motor show (possibly #3). Click the image for the full article.
Standard-Triumph Review February, 24th 1960
This is a very important piece of Italia history. In the photo you will see Mr. C. L. P. Edmonds from Standard-Triumph shaking hands with Dr. Ruffino at his new Triumph Dealership in Naples. It also mentions that Ruffino was to start a separate company to import the new Italia 2000. Click the image for the full article.
This is the first American article to mention the Italia. This particular car may be Italia #3 based on the time frame, color scheme, badges and information from #3's second owner.
April, 1960 and November, 1960
Two issues of this French magazine. The first, an article on the Geneva Auto Salon from April 1960, has a brief mention of the Italia (on page two) indicating that the car had been seen before.
"Vignale could boast about showing the most beautiful car of the Salon: a FIAT 1500 designed by Michelotti and neighboring a Triumph, which was also designed by Michelotti and displayed last year."
The second, from November 1960, pictures two "production" Italias on display at the 1960 Paris Auto Salon.
This article shows Italia #1 (the first of the show cars) at Standard-Triumph. It also shares article space with the Triumph TRS LeMans car. In the late 1970's, this article's layout led to a little confusion. A rumor went around that the Italia should have had the "Sabrina" engine which (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) was not the case. All Italias were equipped with the TR3 1991cc engine. This article may also be the beginning of the "aluminum" Italia rumor. As found out by subsequent owners, Italia #1 is definitely not aluminum! So far no aluminum Italia has appeared. If you hear of one, be sure to bring an extra strong magnet as lots of body filler has led to mistakenly identified "aluminum" Italias before.
Another error is "the 60-spoke Borrani wire wheels." One look at the photos shows that this is not the case. I believe they were on the TRS which would account for the mix up. Borranis were always considered as an available option but, other than on the two prototypes, I have never seen them on a "production" Italia. They would be a fitting addition.
On a side note, the floors of the TRS cars bare a striking resemblance to those of the "Show" Italias.
With today's standing jokes about British sports cars, pay special attention to the sentence, "for people willing to spend a little more for the dependability and ease of obtaining parts that go with the TR3." Also, be sure to read the last sentence!
Sports Car Graphic
The most comprehensive period article known, Jerry Titus, journalist and race driver, gives a detailed account of the Italia from a professional automotive reviewer's perspective. This car is Italia #2, reputedly at one time Ruffino's personal car. If you look closely, you'll see that "riumph" has been cut from the badges on the rear wings. According to the article, this car was sold at the Paris Auto Show after Triumph and Ruffino had disagreed on terms. The car would no longer be sold as the "Triumph Italia." Rather than remove the badges and fill the subsequent mounting holes, they were modified to remove the reference.