Oh, I'd like some more . . .
Production of the Italia had ended. It's inherently high cost could not compete with the recently released Triumph TR4 which also sported a Michelotti-designed body. For reasons not yet known, Ruffino restarted production after approximately an eigthteen month gap and built a final 29 Italias on the TR3b chassis.
New information proves that these final cars, or at least most of them, ended up in the possession of Standard-Triumph. Documentation from the Heritage Museum shows that the chassis for #327 was shipped to Italy on September 10th, 1962 and dispatched by Standard-Triumph to Baltimore on June 30th, 1964! The car sat outside in Italy for a year and a half. Most likely along with the other TSF cars.
Mike Cook, of Standard-Triumph, remembers a few of the Italias in the parking garage at Triumph's Manhattan offices. They had just arrived and needed repainting and all the interiors were mildewed. Mike used a royal blue one, that had faded to a flat purple, for a weekend. A couple of the Triumph executives also used them as company cars. According to Mike, when Ruffino gave up the distributorship for Italy, his contract with Triumph required them to purchase any remaining parts and stock. So, Triumph became the (somewhat reluctant) owner of most, if not all, those TSF-based Italias. These were shipped by Triumph to Baltimore on the basis that they would probably sell in America. The cars, being left-hand drive, would not have been very desirable in the U.K.
One report from the early Eighties placed about 6 TSF Italias at John Copeland's dealership in Norfolk, Virginia. Based on a period photo supplied by former owner, Bill Clark, at least one ended up at Paquette Motors in Orlando, Florida.
These cars have Girling front disc brakes similar to those on the TR4. The engines remained 1991cc and the transmission still did not have synchromesh on first gear. The special tang on the valve cover for the temperature gauge line (added for a large part of the Italia's production) is no longer present.
The most noticeable difference in the interior is the lack of the aluminum door and rear quarter caps. The TSF cars had one piece door panels that extended up to the window. Attached to the masonite panel was a sheet steel form that slid over the top of the inner door frame. The front seat pattern now had longitudinal stitching. Just inside the front door jamb is an extra aluminum strip that holds an additional piece of rubber weather stripping. At the back of the rear seat is an additional stainless trim piece covering the seam between the seat back and the parcel shelf.
All the TSF cars had the external fuel filler door. The cars had the small trunk handle and the license plate light mounted on an eschutcheon below the boot lid. This lower light was modified for the Italias that had the external fuel filler which included all the TSF cars. Two holes were drilled to allow machine screws to fasten the fixture to the eschutcheon. This was done so that it could be removed easily to change the bulbs. The original mounting screws were not accessible with the later fuel tank.
Badges and lighting remained the same.
More soon . . .