Arizona Barn Find: 1968 Intermeccanica Italia Spyder

Some classic project cars appear, and even in their unrestored state, they are still achingly beautiful. This 1968 Intermeccanica Italia Spyder is a perfect example. It looks pretty sad at present, but if you look past the baked paint, it has beautiful and elegant styling. It now needs someone willing to commit to restoring a car that could easily command a six-figure value once completed. If that sounds like you, then you will find the Italia located in Los Angeles, California, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the price for the Spyder at $67,500. However, there is the option available to make an offer.

Let’s face it, $67,500 is a lot of money to pay for a car that needs complete restoration. However, this car was found languishing in the dry climate of Arizona, and this augers well for the buyer. Italian vehicles from this era were renowned for dissolving like a soluble aspirin, but this Italia has been afflicted with little more than a coating of surface corrosion. That doesn’t mean that restoring it is going to be a cheap or an easy undertaking. The reality is that the vehicle will need to be fully dismantled if it is to undergo a high-quality restoration. It’s also worth noting that items like the bumpers, some of the lights, and numerous small trim pieces are missing. This is likely to cause the next owner some real headaches because these are not a car that is thick on the ground. While numbers have been disputed by various parties, it is believed that only around 500 Italias were ever built. I have been able to locate a few of the missing parts, but being a rare car, these parts do come with a premium. A replacement grille can be yours for $900, while a front bumper is an eye-watering $1,800. Thankfully, the glass all appears to be intact, as is the frame for the convertible top. The wheels are original and appear to be in reasonable order.

This is an expensive, hand-built,  Italian sports car, so the interior would originally have been upholstered in supple leather. However, that was a long time ago, and a full retrim is going to be in order. This is not a car where the owner can order an interior trim kit, but the vast majority of the replacement trim will have to be hand-made. That is going to make this area another that will consume some serious money, but at least the interior is mostly complete. However, the lack of door trims might cause a few headaches. Still, life wasn’t meant to be easy.

When considering this as an entire restoration, whipping the mechanical components back into shape could potentially be one of the least expensive parts of the project. Forget highly-strung, multi-cam Italian engines. What we find below the surface is some good old American iron. The Italia is powered by a 351ci Windsor V8, which is hooked to a 4-speed Top Loader transmission. Acceleration was perhaps not as impressive as you might expect. The Italia Spyder took around 6.5 seconds to accelerate from 0-60mph. This was mainly due to the Spyder’s weight. There wasn’t any lightweight fiberglass or aluminum. It was all steel and tipped the scales at a relatively hefty 2,950lbs. It would probably be stating the obvious to say that the Spyder doesn’t currently run, and it isn’t even clear if the engine turns freely. However, rebuilding a 351 Windsor is a relatively straightforward proposition, so if it does require that, it could be the least expensive part of the restoration process.

As a restoration prospect, the price of admission for this Italia Spyder is not low. What makes it tempting is the fact that returning the body and paint to its former glory would appear to be a straightforward process. Similarly, the drivetrain holds no mysteries to anyone who can find their way around a Ford V8. Restoring the interior will consume some cash, but it is all of the small exterior trim pieces that are likely to test the budget. So, is it worth it? Depending on prevailing market conditions, pristine examples can sell for figures between $125,000 and $180,000. That’s a pretty wide value spread, I know. However, these usually find their way to market via auctions, and that helps to explain that variation. There is no doubt that it is a car that should easily command a six-figure value once restored, so there is potential there. Would you take the risk?

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Comments

  1. Steve Bush Member

    It’s being sold by Beverly Hills Car Club, so of course it’s way overpriced, especially as it looks like it was pulled out of a lake. They cost $8000 new and yes, they’re very sharp cars, but no way I’d pay $125-180 k for one even if I had the cash.

    12
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    It’s been a while but this car gets the “you’ve got to be kidding” award of the month. $67,500 for what?

    17
  3. RayT Member

    Let’s do some math: Adam says this car could, if restored with all the rust gone and all the missing bits in place (plus, of course, a mechanical refresh, paint, upholstery, carpets and repairs/replacement of whatever else has gone bad while the car was rotting away somewhere) be worth as much as $180K if you found the right auction or buyer. That leaves about $115K to spend on a restoration after paying Beverly Hills Car Club what they think it’s worth. Not being an expert, I’d estimate the tab for a quality resto is going to be north of $120K. That means the owner is already $5K in the hole.

    They’ll have a lovely car, though.

    I’d be all in if it were $5K or so, with all the detail parts in a box in the trunk. IF, that is, I had the skills to do the majority of the work myself, plus the time and space to work in for a couple of years, which I don’t.

    8
    • Tom Member

      Not being an expert your math is right on the money IF NOT abig short IF you consider going above and beyond a normal restoration or very good quality moving to a concours restoration that WILL be more than $120K IF you are paying someone else to do all the work. Sourcing parts WILL be difficult and expensive.

      3
    • chrlsful

      tools or $ were the other components you left out…
      8^0

  4. TimM

    $67,500 is this another pull it out of my a$$ number!! It might be a blast to drive but not for that kind of money!! 351 with a 4 speed top loader is like something Carol Shelby would build!!

    9
  5. Vincent

    I like the fiat 124 / 850 60’s instrument cluster, worth a dollar if their working, cos nothing else looks like it does. Lots of work to be done…

    2
  6. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Gorgeous car…with solid enough bones. Accept my appropriate 20k cash offer…and free up the space in your inventory for something that actually runs.

    2
  7. Brian S

    They call that “bare metal” eh? These are beautiful cars, have definite value potential, but this one needs $100K spent on it to be a $100K car.

    3
  8. Brakeservo

    Italia, Intermechanica, Torino, Griffith 600, all different names for basically the same car.

    1
  9. Achman

    These cars average between $90-$135k usually. They are easily found in good restored condition. The mechanicals are simple, the bodywork will be costly. Not many people are buying a $180k spyder simply because you can get a lot of other well-known cars for that price. These are great to drive but will be held back long-term because of the lack of history of the firm, no racing history, and hybrid build nature–the same reason a Pantera is not a $250k car

    3
  10. John

    As a true Italian “hand-built” car, it matters little if the appropriate parts can be found as they likely won’t fit anyway. This is best thought of as a pre-built kit car. Getting it back to what the original design was supposed to be is going to be an exercise in semantic gymnastics. No two of them was ever exactly alike. In the unlikely event of a restoration actually being completed, one would be left with a car that would bring little more than a “Gee, that’s nice” remark. The more likely remark will be “Look, somebody took a Fiat and stuck a Cobra motor in it – nice paint though.”. About that time the $180,000 hole in the wallet will begin throbbing violently. While I could see spending maintenance money to prevent a car this WAS from becoming something like it IS. I cannot see spending money to bring it back. Its sad. Nice looking motor, though.

    5
  11. lew

    Hagerty price guide values this car in #4 condition (Fair) at $82,000, but that price caveat is that it runs well and needs little to run and drive and otherwise looks good.
    That fair price assumes that the chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing.
    That is NOT this car. This car’s value today should be $5,000; $10,000 at best.

    If it was me buying it, I’d restore the body, paint it Fly Yellow, drop in a Ford Coyote engine with Tremec 6 speed, four wheel Brembo or Wildwood disk brakes, Autometer gauges, and Miata seats, then take it on a long road trip across the country, top down and wind in my face!

    4
  12. jcny Member

    How subtle yet how huge the difference in the front end design of this vs the unlamented1958 Packard Hawk!

    1
  13. AMFMSW

    I can think of far better uses for that kind of money. Not that the car isn’t worth saving; it’s just hideously overpriced.

    1
  14. MikeH

    I’ll wager that in the past, this was a parts car for another restoration. It was used and put in the back lot— until now. BHCC has now decided it’s worth big bucks. You will need a parts car to restore this parts car.

    1
  15. Maestro1 Member

    I think the car is overpriced and could be consigned. If that is the case, then the owner is on another Planet. You will absolutely be North of $160,000.00 to give this car what it deserves and, after pulling all your hair out, I’m doubtful that you would have the desired return in motoring pleasure.
    One other thing: I have friends who have done business with Alex Manos at Beverly Hills Car Club and the transactions have been straightforward and without any B.S. Alex sells projects and nice cars, and it’s up to you, which is called taking responsibility for your own purchases to make the judgments.

  16. Mike

    I’m currently restoring one and I can tell you from experience (my car was from Arizona too) that over half the parts would need to be replaced. Then there is the big weakness these cars have. The front suspension. There were at least three versions of the suspension and nobody over the years has been able to identify all the replacement parts for those suspensions. I would love to have the marque’s value appreciate , but that price is very very optimistic .

    1
    • Paula Reisner

      Correct there were three versions of the front suspension. The early ones had Fiat 1800/2100 front suspension with Girling discs brakes with the discs made just for the car in Italy. When Fiat stopped producing the car Intermeccanica had spindles forged and made the suspension parts. The weak spot were the replacement Fiat ball joints. Embarrassingly they collapsed leaving the Italia with the nose on the ground. No better quality ball joints were available. Finally a redesign used Bilstein ball joints and steering parts and the later suspension worked well. I have a record of the car numbers with each type of suspension almost exactly.

      2
  17. araknid78

    Too much work. These are nice cars when restored, though

  18. Arthur

    Adam Clarke wrote: “Would you take the risk?”

    Standard restoration? Not really.

    Given the amount of work this car would need, I would be better off doing a Pro Touring conversion with this car.

    First, I would give it a custom chassis from either Art Morrison or Roadster Shop, a Tremec T-56 Magnum, and a 5.2L Predator engine from the GT500 if I wanted to keep it Ford-powered. Since I’m a Mopar fan, however, my preference would be the Hellephant engine. Either engine would make a new fuel system necessary, however.

    Second, I would give this car Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires fitted to American Racing VN407 wheels, with LED taillights, headlights, turn signals and side marker lights to replace the factory lights.

    Finally, I would install a Painless Performance wiring harness and a replacement convertible top, which would probably have to be custom made if no one makes an off-the-shelf top.

    As for the interior, it would be completely custom, with Recaro Sportster GT seats, a new dashboard and center console, Auto Meter NV gauges, Vintage Air climate system, a new sound system with 2 speakers and Bluetooth capability, leather upholstery, Dynamat, new carpeting, and new power window mechanisms if the originals can’t be repaired.

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