The Italia 2000 coupe was the brainchild of Standard-Triumph's Italian importer, Salvatore Ruffino of Naples.
Ruffino, who bought the rights to distribute Triumphs in Italy in 1957 and formed C.E.S.A.C. for this purpose, wanted to build his own Triumph TR3-based closed sports car, and he approached Carrozzeria Zagato for design proposals.
Not pleased with Zagato's designs, he turned to stylist Giovanni Michelotti, who returned with plans for a handsome slope-nose coupe.
The introduction of the two seater was well received at the 1958 Turin Motor Show.
"Italian artistry and British craftsmanship have come together and produced this new, superlative ltalia 2000 Coupe."
Vignale began production in July 1959 with only a few changes to the original prototype. (first picture)
Although it is a rare hand-assembled coachbuilt vehicle, it is not a one-off.
Ruffino envisioned building 1,000 cars, between 1960 and 1962, with worldwide distribution including the American marketplace. He had a verbal agreement to have every Triumph dealer purchase an Italia.
Over a three-year production period (mid-1959 to mid-1962) Vignale produced approximately 329 cars. Most all produced were left-hand drive with the probable exception of six cars. The last run of roughly 35 cars were based on the modified TR3B chassis rather that the TR3A, and benefited from the improved gearbox that had bean developed for the TR4.
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