1950 Italmeccanica IT160: Italian Flair with American Muscle
European styling with American muscle. It has been the mantra of more than one car designer through the years. Carroll Shelby made this formula quite famous by tossing a Ford V8 into a British AC Ace to create the first of a long line of Cobras. The DeTomaso Pantera is another example; with exotic European lines, but the power of a Ford Cleveland 351 V8. Another shining example of this is the 1950 Italmeccanica IT160 Coupe. The idea was to create a stunning European design, but simple mechanical components meant to be familiar to the average American mechanic. The design called for a tubular chassis and rather simple suspension components. The body was aluminum and crafted by Italian coachbuilder Stabilimenti Farina. PHOTOS: See More of the 1950 Italmeccanica IT160
The initial prototype had a Cadillac V8 under the hood, but the example you see here has a Ford flathead V8. With a curb weight of just 2,450 pounds, the IT160 was built to move, and the Cadillac powered prototype could go from zero to sixty in under 10 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 140 mph. Both figures are impressive for the time.
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Little else is known about this car, in terms of number produced, or where many are today. The car had a column-mounted three-speed manual transmission and drum brakes at all four corners.
A 1952 issue of Speed Age featured a four-page spread featuring the IT160. It was written by one of the investors in the concept, Richard Adams. Here’s how he described it:
“We sought to manufacture a sports car combining the chassis, suspension, and luxurious body of European cars with the ease of maintenance and simplicity of the best American models. The IT160 is designed to take its place among the best American and foreign automobiles for speed and performance, but it may also be driven into an American garage and left with the simple instructions, ‘Fix it!’”
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It might be a car that is easy to fix, but with its limited numbers, it sure is not easy to find. An example was sold in 2010 at an RM Auction for $143,000.