Numerous small batches of Italian-bodied British and American cars have come about over the years. Ghia did some for Chrysler, Bertone did some for Arnolt/MG, and Vignale did some, like this car, for Triumph. The concept for the Italia actually came from Italian Triumph distributor Salvatore Ruffino, who strongly believed that there were customers out there who wanted the rugged mechanicals of the standard TR3 but with a little bit of that styling flair that only comes out of Italy. The body was designed by Michelotti and eventually assembled by Vignale in Turin, and the new Italia 2000 debuted at the Turin Motor Show in 1958. Ruffino naturally had big dreams for the beautiful coupe and wanted every Triumph dealer in the world (over seven hundred at the time) to sell at least one Italia. There was one fundamental problem, though, and that problem was price. At around $5,000, the Italia was $1,000 more than a normal TR3, but it didn’t have any real improvements in performance and cost damn near as much as quicker Jags and Corvettes.
Just over 300 examples were built in the end, and of the ones that are still around, this must be one of the very worst. The seller gives no detailed history of the car, but it looks like it racked up the 28,000 miles it currently shows many years ago and was then parked in less than ideal storage conditions. It does appear remarkably complete, but there is enough rust to make one nervous and since even the best Italias haven’t quite hit six figures at auction, this will be a labor of love kind of restoration. There seems to be plenty of love out there, however, as there are numerous bids on this rusty old beauty already.
Check out the 1960 Triumph Italia 2000 here on eBay, where the reserve is not yet met at $21,000.