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Built between 1959 and 1962, The Triumph Italia 2000 is based on the Triumph TR3A chassis and running gear.
Designed by Michelotti and hand built in Turin by Vignale, production was originally planned for a limited run of 1000 cars, but it proved to be too expensive against the competition.
Salvatore Ruffino was the owner of CESAC, the Italian company that distributed Standard-Triumph in Italy. He approached Standard-Triumph to supply chassis and mechanical components to build 1,000 cars and at the time had a verbal agreement with every Triumph dealer (720) to purchase an Italia. The Italia never became an official model of Standard-Triumph.
Faced with ensuing financial and labour problems, Standard-Triumph was taken over by Leyland Motors in 1961. The new management did not follow through with the verbal contract that Ruffino had made with Triumph.
Perhaps fearing increased competition, Triumph concentrated their efforts on the new TR4 to be released in 1962. The TR4, also designed by Michelotti, clearly borrowed many elements from the Italia: the distinctive bonnet bulge, kick-up door with wind-up windows, and roomier modern body design.
With Triumph's decision not to distribute the Italia, Ruffino S.p.A. re-badged the car as the Italia 2000 and continued production. Over a three-year production period (mid-1959 to mid-1962) it is commonly quoted that Vignale produced only 329 cars, although this number does seem to vary, with the factory records suggesting only around 200 chassis' were supplied to CESAC by Standard Triumph, but 326 Body Numbers were allocated, we'll probably never know the actual number.
Options included overdrive (this was indicated on most cars by an extra "O" at the end of the chassis number), leather interior (rare), Borrani wire wheels (very rare, period photos show these only on the second prototype), and a Nardi wood steering wheel (also rarely optioned).
Most Italia sales in America were handled by Stutz Plaisted Imports (Salem, Massachusetts). Even though production came to a close in 1962, the last 30 cars sat in Italy until 1964. When Ruffino relinquished his Standard-Triumph distributorship, Triumph shipped these last cars to the U.S. Some were used at S-T's office in New York, and others were sold through various dealers, the last few being sold in 1965. Slow sales can be attributed to the expensive $5,000 price tag ($1,000 premium over the TR3). Body parts were not stocked outside Italy and buyers were required to sign a release form of acknowledgment. Cars were also distributed by Inter National Motors of Los Angeles starting in late 1961 with a considerably lower $3995 price tag.
Now eminently collectible, it is believed there are around 75 examples left according to the worldwide register, and only 45 of those are known in detail.