Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, and built by Alfredo Vignale in Turin, the Triumph Italia 2000 Coupé was built between 1959 and 1962, during which time only 329 of these hand-crafted bodies on Triumph TR3 chassis were ever built. Powered by a 1991 cc Straight-4, it was thought that these cars would appeal to people willing to spend more for the dependability and ease of obtaining stock mechanical parts of a Triumph, but who wanted a better looking car than the standard Triumph.
At the time, Dr. 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. Until he was later introduced to the young Giovanni Michelotti that led to the Triumph Italia. “Italian artistry and British craftsmanship have come together and produced this new, superlative Italia 2000 Coupé.”
The first 13 cars were assembled completely by Vignale. These cars have a number of different badges. After the first 13, Ruffino took over production on an assembly line he leased from Vignale for the remainder of production. The car was no longer billed as the "Triumph Italia" and was now referred to as the "Italia 2000." Other than a cloisonné Vignale-badge on the front wings and crossed-flags on the rear wings, all other references to Vignale were removed. The only reference to Triumph were the "T.M. Triumph" badges on the rear wings. Perhaps the easiest method to identify a "production" Italia is the use of side marker lights on the front wings. While aluminum was used for a few internal panels, all Italias used steel for the bodywork.
(Photos from supercars.net, flickr.com, autowp.ru, petrolicious.com & supercarfrance.com)