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1961 Triumph Italia 2000GT Project


Only 329 of these Italias were ever produced and the beautiful Italian bodywork gives this Triumph an exotic look. It is rough though. A restoration was started so the frame has already been gone through and the engine is rebuilt. It is going to take a lot of work to finish, but the end result will be able to run with much more expensive machinery. Find it here on eBay.


These cars were built for customers who wanted Italian style with more robust and cost effective mechanicals. Sounds like a good combination to us. Signore Ruffino, an Italian Triumph distributor, came up with the idea and pitched it to the bigwigs. It was based off the TR3 and the body was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and built by Vignale. Few were ever finished though because Leyland killed it off when they took over Triumph. Too bad because we think this body would have looked even better mounted on the TR4 chassis.


This one is a mess, but it deserves to be saved. Unfortunately previous owners did not understand how special this car is. Rust was allowed to take hold and someone applied an interesting paint scheme. The other unfortunate part is that this car is offered by a dealer and has been on the market for a while. Their site lists an optimistic asking price of $35k. Lets just hope that the auction’s reserve is set at something a little more realistic.


  1. scot c

    ~ back in August ii had a call from my Volvo, Saab mechanic asking if i would be willing to ride with him to retrieve a car he’s had out on loan. when he mentioned the car was located in Washington, Mo i dialed Wilson Motor Company into my phone and asked Dennis if he would mind a visit form Petr and i to have a brief viewing of the Italia 2000. “please feel welcome”, he invited then hosted a very enjoyable 3/4 hour or so discussing the many interesting cars for sale and undergoing restoration. this car looks quite rough from the topside for the simple reason that when Dennis sold it 10 or so years ago it went to a doctor in Rockford, Illinois for a complete mechanical restoration with no attention given to the exterior cosmetics. the suspension and running gear are fresh rebuilt including engine overhaul which, according to him was unnecessary. when the shop that the physician who bought the car was using closed it’s doors the good doctor called Dennis asking if he had any interest in helping him to move on to other projects. Wilson has had this Triumph back for a few months, plus or minus,and seems very willing to help a new owner finish setting this rare example straight.
    . Dennis is a wealth of Truumph knowledge and parts, as the site points out.

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  2. Horse Radish

    to start with the mechanical aspects of a car’s restoration, especially given the geographic set backs and the rough condition, is a rookie mistake.
    Body and paint have a tendency to not always cooperate with the restorers wishes so normally one awaits that outcome to determine the scale of investment in the drive train , no ?
    This may turn out to be a horrible money pit, given you’re starting with $35k in the hole……….

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  3. Rancho Bella

    Pay serious attention to what Horse Radish wrote.

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  4. jim

    Rare or not, I can’t imagine seeing very many Triumph’s going for this much coin, especially in this condition. Opening bid is set at $20,200 with zero bids so far. That says all I need to know.

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  5. paul

    Some one has been watching too many movies or Barret Jacksons, 35 g !!!

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  6. Wayne Norman Delegate

    Fifty years old and still exciting to look at. Like an Italian woman, beautiful lines. Makes me think of Sophia Lauren, or Gina Lolabridgeta or however the heck you spell her last name. Merry Christmas all!

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  7. FRED


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    • Horse Radish

      I totally agree, and that puts you with rest of us 99%.
      Very common place in Europe for a decade (that one can hardly afford a restoration on an old car, a shop to go with it etc…) now more and more common place in the US as well.
      “they” just want you to buy buy buy new new new….like that’s the solution to everything.

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    • Horse Radish

      BTW: can we all chip in a dollar to buy you a keyboard, where the cap (un-)lock button works?
      ……so you don’t have to SCREAM ALL THE TIME !

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  8. Heinrich

    Wow, some really ignorant comments here. You people really don’t know anything about this vehicle?

    They are exquisite machines with hand-formed aluminum coachwork (pre-Leyland at least, steel after) crafted in Turin . Incredibly rare, and rather historic as they presaged the TR4 form (also a Michelloti design). Someone mentioned Barrett Jackson…. you probably won’t see one of these at a BJ auction. But if you look, you may see them come up for sale on occasion and the amounts they fetch (driver condition to pristine) are pricey. Make no mistake there is competition to get these and there’s precious few of them around.

    I saw some comments on the TR250 (another rare and wonderful Triumph) from last week and was shaking my head. I suppose if it isn’t a muscle car it’s not worthy?

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    • Horse Radish

      To each his own.
      Ignorant ?
      Compare apples with oranges ?
      I don’t see you running to buy this jalopy, (or are you ?, and if you,are, could you report back here , please?)
      Put this $35 out there and see what you can get:
      an immaculate 80ies Porsche 911, maybe an eighties No2 condition Ferrari, and the list goes on.
      So any takers on this E-bay auction, yet ?
      Maybe ONE buyer ?

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      • Heinrich

        No, I’m in the midst of an expensive resto right now. The Italia is on my bucket list, but I would have bought the nice black one Wilson had last year over this had I been in the market. From the rust, I’m guessing it’s a post-Leyland steel panel example and the custom metal will be difficult (expensive) to set right.

        A basket-case example was recently sold in the mid-to upper teens (via eBay, I believe). Whether Wilson’s reserve is set at 35k or not, I would trust they know their market. They’ve traded in these and the fact that he’s had a few through his doors points to someone who knows the market. He may be sitting on his price, I don’t know. Absolutely beautiful cars when restored.

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    • Dolphin Member

      Heinrich, the TR4 is a good design—-for the time and considering it came from a relatively small British car manufacturer with limited resources. Of course the Italia is even better because it predated the TR4, contributed significantly to the design of the TR4, and is much rarer. BTW, all this predated British Leyland, which did not come into being until 1968, so we are still talking about Standard Triumph, a pretty small company, as carmakers go.

      But many of the smaller British carmakers, although doing a heroic job with limited resources, had… resources. They adapted designs that had been engineered for other purposes, like the TR2/TR3 engine, which was based on an engine for Ferguson tractors. The chassis of the Italia and the TR4 was adapted from the earlier TR2/TR3 chassis. So I would suggest that although it’s a nice design, we are not talking about a sportscar with a high performance milti-cam engine and a body by, say, Zagato or PF. It’s a nice car, but the market seems to have said it is not as well liked as some other cars that command significantly higher prices. That may or may not align with your opinion of the car’s value, but it does convey relevant information.

      But if you like the Italia/TR4, that’s all that matters. I can respect your opinion…and I have owned numerous vintage sportscars of both British and Italian origin, so I would bet that you and I would share some opinions in common…but in return please do not think that everyone who does not agree with you is a muscle car fanatic, as if that were unworthy. I also like some muscle cars, and have owned one or two despite preferring European, so I can see the attraction of that genre also. The point is to exchange views and information, with a good degree of underlying respect. This site works best when that happens—in my opinion.

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      • Heinrich

        Dolphin, you have your facts wrong.

        Leyland Motors acquired Standard Triumph Motors in 1960. Please feel free to look it up, I assure you it is a fact. British Leyland came later through consolidation.

        Your repeating of the myth that the Triumph 4 banger was derived from Ferguson is also inaccurate: Standard Triumph designed and built the engine for their cars, and sourced it *to* Ferguson (for revenue). I fail to see your point, though. The proof is in the pudding, and these cars have done very well in competition with this engine.

        In fact, Ken Richardson set the class speed record with the TR2 in ’53 (and besting the XK120).

        If you’re interested in twin-cam designs, Triumph did experiment with them but failed to make a case for using them in production (they showed up in the Lemans TRS cars). I seem to remember MGA becoming disillusioned with their design subsequently.

        I can spend some time citing worldwide competition wins if you’d like. The 4-banger did very well through the various iterations well into the 60s.

        As for the desirability of the Italia, I’ll let the market make that judgment.

        Merry Christmas

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      • Dolphin Member


        You have misstated my comments. I did not say that the TR engine “was derived from Ferguson”. What I said was that the TR engine “was based on an engine for Ferguson tractors”, and that is accurate. .
        Based on a 1945 agreement, the Standard Triumph engine was made for and installed in the Standard Vanguard car made by Triumph and also in the Ferguson tractor beginning in the same year for each—1947. This was 5 years prior to the first appearance of the engine (in a higher state of tune) in the TR2. The engine was obviously a multi-use engine, but however you may want to think of it, it comes down to the fact that an engine that was initially developed for installation in both a large 4-door saloon car and in a tractor was used, 5 years later, in a Triumph sports car. There is nothing wrong with that, but those are the facts. The implication of this is that the TR engine was not a purpose-built, multi-cam sports car engine, as were some other sports car engines of the 1960s. That alone is probably a factor in the desirability and valuation of TRs and Italias on the one hand, and some other sports cars of the 1960s that carry a higher specification and state of tune.

        There is no issue about whether Triumphs ever won races. Of course they did, as you have pointed out.

        I am happy for you that you like the Italia, but just because others do not share your personal view of the Italia and its value does not make them “ignorant”. As I suggested before, the point of Barn Finds is to exchange views and information, with a good degree of underlying respect.

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  9. scot c

    ~ happy holidays to Barn Finds and all the readers. hoping to see many more great discoveries for 2013 !

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  10. Barn Finds

    The auction only saw one bid of $20,200, but it wasn’t enough to meet the reserve so this Italia remains unsold.

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  11. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’m a happy Italia owner (since 1987, have had two but sold a project on). Driving one is remarkably different than a TR (have had TR4, TR4A, TR250, TR6, TR7/8 and Spits as well) and I’ve put over 50k miles on mine (it was my only car for a long time).

    This car has been floating around for a long time. I’ve seen worse Italias, or at least as bad, restored. If you’re willing to do the welding and forming panels yourself, which is NOT impossible, the main issues are glass (now at least available from Europe) and trim.

    VTR through Dave Hutchison and Tyrone Stoner offer a lot of help, and there’s a dedicated group of us owners that all band together occassionally to have parts reproduced. Best of luck to whomever eventually decides to take on this car :-)

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