The first production model 1959 Triumph Italia Coupé Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale Registration no. ANB 86A Chassis no. TS51639LCO Engine no. TS51658E
Over the years several prototypes, 'one-offs' and show cars have been built on the Triumph TR sports car chassis, some by the factory and others by independent concerns. Some of the factory prototypes led directly to new production models but the only independent effort to be produced in significant numbers was the Italia. Styled by Giovanni Michelotti, who would go on to style much of the Triumph range, the Italia coupé was built by Carrozzeria Vignale and first appeared in prototype form at the Turin Motor Show in 1958. The two-seater Italia used the Triumph TR3A chassis and was bodied in steel. Being coachbuilt, it was considerably more expensive than the production TR3A, costing the equivalent of £1,440 in Italy, some 26% more than the all-British product. Nevertheless, several hundred were made, including a handful in right-hand drive configuration.
Retaining its original engine, the car offered here is the first production Italia made (body number '001') as verified by the TR Register. It was used as a press car and has extensive and detailed history including a data sheet recording its test at MIRA on 17th February 1960 when it lapped at 109.3mph. Harry Webster, Triumph's chief development engineer, was amongst those present and it has been rumoured that this was 'his' car for a time. We are advised that the original registration number 'YVC 628' it is not in use and may be obtainable as this car is of significant historical interest.
The chassis was originally left-hand drive but it would seem that the right-hand drive conversion took place very early on in the car's life, as it appears highly original. It is likely that this was done either by Triumph or more probably by Vignale in Italy. The accompanying original chassis build document states 'no body required', delivery destination 'Italy' and finally 'do not fit spare wheel!' Other nice details are the 'Triumph Italia' script badges, which are believed unique as those of all other known survivors simply say 'Italia'. Offered for restoration, this unique coachbuilt example of a rare Anglo-Italian sports car is offered with the aforementioned history, copies of old logbooks and Swansea V5 document.