Anglo-Italian Combination: 1960 Triumph Italia 2000

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

As the owner of a Triumph Italia 2000 since 1987, I obviously am biased towards these beautiful cars. Yes, that’s the sight of bias you are reading! With no more than 330 produced (sources vary) and a combination of mostly TR3 mechanical components and Michelotti-designed, Vignale-produced bodywork, these cars are much loved by Triumph enthusiasts. This particular one is for sale here on britishcarclassifieds.com and is located in San Luis Obispo, California. The asking price is about half of what restored cars go for, $55,000. Thanks to reader Darren Y. for sending us this fabulous, stupendous, beautiful, gorgeous (okay, I told you I was biased!) find!

If you are wondering how these cars came about, a couple of prototypes were produced around 1959, and when Triumph didn’t jump to produce the car, an Italian enthusiast named Ruffino did. Unfortunately, by the time things were done the aluminum bodies of the prototypes were replaced with steel and the price as delivered was close to $5,000. To learn more and see how pretty one can be, check out where I posted about a restored car previously.

The grille for this car is in the interior, but the mesh is not the original. Luckily, it can be obtained, as it’s the same as a contemporary Maserati 3500. The seller tells us that the car has never had an accident, which is a good thing since panels have to be fabricated at this point. I can tell you from experience that there’s a lot of lead in the original body, as parts were hand made to begin with. We’re also told it has little rust, and I’m pleases to see intact glass and chrome, although obviously it will need restoring.

The odometer is showing 47,092 miles but considering I’ve replaced the speedometer cable at least four times in the ~75,000 miles I’ve driven my car, that may not mean much. The seats have been reupholstered in velour, but are at least in the original pattern. If nothing else, this will give you templates to work from. However, remembering a trip to San Antonio and sticking to the seats (vinyl, not leather, was original) like crazy, that velour has some attractiveness.

One of the neatest things about Italias is how much room they seem to have and how comfortable they are versus the separate frame TRs.

The car was last titled in 1969 in Georgia and comes with that title. It was taken off the road in the early 1980’s when it threw a rod. Luckily, there are many places to get mechanical components for the car! Be sure and let me know if you decide to purchase this one — there are only a few of us owners but we enjoy the cars a lot!

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Comments

  1. boxdin

    Very Good Looking Car. The Italians improved many cars like this one. Brits & Asians don’t style cars well. Datsun 240z & 510 come to mind. Ruined after the contract w Italian designer ended.

    4+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Can you honestly say an XK120 and Toyota 2000 GT, or Lotus Elite and third-generation RX7 aren’t gorgeous? Personally, I think there are both beautiful and not-so-gorgeous cars produced from pretty much any country!

      13+
      • Kevin

        The word Edsel springs to mind.

        2+
    • grant

      Datsun 240z isn’t styled very well? What? Coming from someone who randomly Capitolizes Important Sounding Words, I’m pretty sure nobody is putting a lot of stock in that…

      6+
      • Luki

        Capitolizes? Try again. That would be capitalizes.

        2+
      • boxdin

        Early Zs were italian, ruined in 1979.

        4+
    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      boxdin,

      the person/persons who did the body design of the original Fairlady/240Z has been debated—sometimes hotly—for years, but I get your point.

      I think the major design influence for the Fairlady/240Z was the Ferrari 365 GTB/4, otherwise known as the Daytona—-an Italian car, as you said.

      1+
  2. Sam

    Very good write up….sharp car. All the proportions look “right”…less is more sportiness and style. I like the velour as well.

    But does it have bias tires?

    6+
  3. Steve R

    I get that it’s a barn/garage find and the seller needs to establish that with a few pictures. But why not wash it and clean it up. I can’t see that hurting the value, it might even help if all a potential buyer was interested in doing was a sympathetic mechanical only restoration.

    Steve R

    6+
    • Vegaman_Dan

      I would do both. Pics as it was picked up, then after it was thoroughly cleaned inside and out. The more details and images you offer, the stronger the bids.

      I would even throw a battery in it to light it up.

      3+
  4. Andy

    Wow–so much prettier than a TR3. Reminds me a little of a P1800 with the weirdness ground off.

    4+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      What mine’s been mistaken for the most is a Maserati, which actually makes sense as the 3500 Vignale Spider was being produced at the same time and was also a Michelotti design.

      4+
    • Sam

      I was thinking the same thing…P1800 up to/through the doors

      1+
  5. Mark Member

    What shape is your car in. You should add some photos.or have you shown it before ?

    1+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Mark, thanks for asking! I posted my cars before here. I’ll be getting it out of storage and firing it up again later this year. I need to go through the car again; I’ve done a bare metal refurb on it once, but this time I’ll be going for a 100% concours restoration. The problem is that I love driving it so much, I’m sure it won’t stay that way!

      5+
  6. Mountainwoodie

    I think the Italia has beautiful proportions as does the orignal Z imho. Jamies car looks really nice in white. I think thats a great color for the proportions. Jamie has it going on. I could never in a million years hold on to more than two old cars at a time……just not enough time to wrench!

    3+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thank you sir, you’re very kind. Unfortunately you are correct, and I’m selling some of them…you’ll see them here soon enough!

      0
  7. CitroenManiac

    Wow It is great to see a great BARN FIND. That I have never seen or heard of before.Keep up the good work. Where is my Frisky Sport hiding. ???

    2+
  8. Howard A Member

    Man, I’m sorry, but this looks like an Italian TR4 to me ( same designer) Such an unlikely pairing, and must have ruffled some British WW2 vets feathers. Probably, for the time, the best of both worlds, tho. Pretty cool car.

    1+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Howard, it pre-dates the TR4 by at least two years. Not aware of any issues, and my Dad was a RAF WW2 vet 🙂 Triumph blessed the car’s production, it just wasn’t an economical venture.

      1+
  9. Scott Marquis

    This one now apparently on its way to the Philippines. I find my Italia offers plenty of head and leg room, but is pretty narrow. Suspect Jamie and I are of different proportions.

    2+
  10. misterlou

    Jamie, I’ve never seen one in person. It appears to be very TR4 in size. How’s the fit? Is it one of those if your over 6′ forget it cars like the Lotus Elan? I gotta say this is one of the most gorgeous cars out there. I’d buy it in a second.

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      No, plenty of headroom!

      0
  11. Britalian

    These are gorgeous cars, like a miniature Maserati 3500, and I’ve wanted one for many years. I think this one looks to be a great starting point for a nice resto, but needing a replacement engine block means it’ll never bring top dollar. This is way overpriced in my opinion based on this fact and condition. Yes, it’ll be easy enough to source a tr3 engine, and the restoration should be straightforward, but who knows what rust is lurking, and replacement parts for these are extremely pricey. 30K would be more like it.

    0
  12. rob pearcey

    Triumph made many more ugly cars than good looking ones. Herald, Triumph 2000 TR7 truly awful. TR6 and Stag good looking. All had mechanical issues, some had body work issues. To raise any Triumph up to compare with Alfa cars of the same period, took an Italian designer to step in and the design the Italia and the Stag. Pity they did not put a Buick V6 in these cars would have been masterpieces.

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      You know, Rob, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find it fascinating that you call a 2000 ugly when the Mk. II 2000 is almost identical to the Stag apart from being four doors. Google it if you don’t believe me. Sorry, I’ll take my Triumphs (including our Herald and 2000) over any comparable Alfa.

      2+
  13. macvaugh

    I am most curious about this comment: “One of the neatest things about Italias is how much room they seem to have and how comfortable they are versus the separate frame TRs.”

    Wouldn’t these have nearly the exact same frame as a Triumph? Else did they mount the suspension to a tubular frame?

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Nope, it’s the same frame. But the body extends much further to the sides than the TR…think about the slab sides on a TR3 versus the rolled rockers on this car. That’s one of the reasons you see a lot of restored Italias with wider wheels than stock–they actually look better that way. Also, the seats are much, much more comfortable than any TR seats (apart from the 7/8 seats, which are great.

      0
  14. scottymac

    Jamie,
    If you haven’t already seen it, July 2017 issue of THOROUGHBRED & CLASSIC CARS has a feature on a Italia that had been rolled, took a two year rebuild to set right. Ice blue with chrome wires, absolutely stunning! Wonder what happened to the taillights on this example? Were the headlamp bezels/doors bespoke, or sourced from another car?

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I believe the headlamp bezels were also used on some Fiats and Lancias. My car actually came to me with Lucas ones, but I’ve managed to source an original set. And no, I haven’t seen the article yet, thanks ScottyMac!!! Oh, as far as the tail lights go, the bezels are there, but they’ve been painted for some reason. Those are the original lights for early Italias. Trivia: the lens (not the bezel) is the same as some Nash Metropolitans!

      0
  15. Jimbosidecar

    Oh this is painful for me. In 1974 I had just gotten my tax refund back and it was burning a hole in my pocket. I picked up the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe and in the classifieds there was a 1960 Italian. No mention of Triumph. I was sort of familiar with the later Italias but not the earlier ones. I called the seller and it was a running and driving car and he wanted $750. That was precisely the amount of my tax return. I lived about an hour and a half north of him in NH. When I got down there the car was even better than I imagined with just the drivers lower door skin needing replacement. But the seller told me someone else had just left a deposit so I was too late. On my way home I saw a ’67 TR4A for sale sitting in somebody’s yard. Also $750 I bought it on the spot. Turned out the frame was terminally rusted. Then the next day the seller of the Italian called me to tell me it was back on the market and if I still wanted it, he would hold it for me. But I was out of money now so I had to pass. It still hurts…

    5+
  16. Ric Parrish

    It’s very obvious where the TR 4 styling came from.

    1+

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