There's a big stack of rusty parts just to my right. . .

While no two Italias are exactly alike. Most parts remained surprisingly constant throughout the production. The cars are typically broken down into four categories, the prototypes, the show cars, and for the production run, the TS chassis numbers and the TSF chassis numbers (TR3b-based).

Unlike many coachbuilders, Vignale did not use a wooden buck to test fit parts. He believed that every car should be a "work of art." So, body panels from one car probably wouldn't fit another. These variations are noticeable from side to side on the same car. As an example, the driver's door on Italia #311 is 1/2 inch longer than the passenger door. While the cars were being assembled most parts were stamped with the body number as they were made to fit that specific car. They weren't meticulous about this, especially later in the production run and you will often find parts originally meant for one car used on another being built at the same time. Even the floors were made in two sections to be able to adjust for a slight variation in width.

A Tale of Two Italias.

Secondi Automobili, a Peugeot dealer in Milan, specialized in buying up excess stock from defunct dealers. According to Jörg von Appen, many of the cars were relatively generic econoboxes from the sixties. They would put the cars away and occasionally display one in their showroom. But there were, as it now turns out, not one but two very special cars in with all those run of the mill Renaults and FIATs. Both Italia #126 and #215 were hidden away in Secondi's stock. In 1981, he decided that it was time to offer them for sale. This presented some problems as he now had to apply for an exemption from the current emissions standards. There is one visible concession to modernity in both cars. They have a crankcase breather apparatus installed to recycle engine fumes rather than discharge them to the atmosphere as was the practise until later in the Triumph TR4's run. I have to admit that the breather apparatus was my one concern with #126. The discovery of #215 has answered that question.

Italia #126.

#126 was purchased from a dealer in 1987. It had been in dealers stock since 1962. Occasionally, it was brought out into the showroom over the years but was never sold until Jörg von Appen happened to come across the car. He was in Italy when someone told him of #126. Jörg went to the dealership and entered into long negotiations and it was some time before the car changed hands.

#126 is an excellent reference for owners of earlier Italias. With only 27km from new, it represents a unique opportunity to see a car as it was when it left the factory. It has the aluminum taillight housings with the Altissimo lenses. The seat pattern, both front and rear, is the early style. The two-part door panels, with a lower strip in addition to the main section, carried through for most of the run. These were to change with the TSF cars (see above).

Italia 126 front three quarter view.<br>©2012 Adrian C. Sinnott Italia 126 rear three quarter view. Italia 126 drivers side interior. Italia 126 engine bay. Italia 126 passenger side front three quarter view. Italia 126 passenger side interior door panel. Italia 126 rear view. Italia 126 passenger side view of front seats.

Click on any of the photos to start a slideshow. Once the slideshow starts, click on the right of the large photo to move ahead and on the left side to see the previous photo. Click the "X" or click outside the image to close the slideshow.

Italia #215.

#215 was purchased from Secondi in 1981 by Mr. Umberto Croce. It was most likely used to gain emissions approval and had approximately 400km when first sold. Mr. Croce added another 6,000 km before offering it for sale in 2013. As with #126, this car is a perfect reference point for Italia restorers. We are extremely fortunate that two such cars have survived from the tiny initial production run.

Paul Harvey purchased #215 from Mr. Croce. It's Paul's aim to photographically document every part of his Italia. Below are just a few sample photos. Many more can be seen here on Paul's Flickr page.

Italia 215 front three quarter view. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 driver's side view. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 front view. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 passenger side view. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 rear view. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 driver's side interior door panel. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 original bill of sale. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey Italia 215 Certificate of Origin from Ruffino's company, C.E.S.A.C. S.p.A. Copyright 2013 Paul Harvey

Click on any of the photos to start a slideshow. Once the slideshow starts, click on the right of the large photo to move ahead and on the left side to see the previous photo. Click the "X" or click outside the image to close the slideshow.