When thinking about Italian cars, brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini probably come to mind. But there are many, many others – Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, to name several. But there are also the lesser-known Italian marques like DeTomaso, Intermeccanica, and Iso.
Today’s post is about that last one – Iso. Founded in 1939, they made cars and motorcycles in Italy through 1974 when the company went bankrupt. I have previously written about the Iso Rivolta Fidia S4, which was briefly the world’s fastest 4-door car when it was introduced in the late 1960s. Around the same time, Iso was also manufacturing this car, the Lele. With its 2+2 layout, it would likely have been a competitor to the Lamborghini Espada, another Grand Tourer. The Lele was one of the last models that Iso made before shutting down production entirely.
I stumbled across this car at the Barrett-Jackson 2019 collector car auction in Scottsdale. Funny enough, the car was not part of the auction, but rather parked outside in the parking lot! It’s not often that I see a car I cannot identify, and I thought at first it might have been another Lamborghini Islero, as they have quite similar body lines. With no visible badging, I went in for a closer look. The only emblem was a small Iso Rivolta badge on the hood. These are extraordinarily rare cars, with only 285 produced during the five year production run. The chances of simply happening upon one in a random parking lot are unbelievable! After some research online, I learned that the cars came with either small block Chevy or Ford engines. I am not sure which engine this car has, though the split is pretty even with 125 of them being Chevy powered and 160 of them Ford powered.
The Hagerty price guide places the value on these cars at about $30,000 in Fair condition to $70,000 in Concours condition. For those who dream of owning an Italian sports car but with a Ford or Chevy budget, the Lele may be a great alternative to the more common Italian brands. I think it is a super neat car and would love to own one!
Now HERE’s something you don’t see every day! In fact, I would be quite surprised if you had heard of an Intermeccanica Indra before. I certainly had not, until I was standing in front of this one at the monthly Cars and Coffee car show in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was vaguely familiar with Intermeccanica because of the Italia, the car which took me years to figure out what it was.
Founded in Torino, Italy in 1959, the company began producing small numbers of sports cars such as the Apollo GT. I think the design of the Indra is very representative of what was happening in Italy in the 1970s. You can see a little bit of everything in this car, yet it doesn’t look like a carbon copy of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or DeTomaso. The Intermeccanica has some distinct design elements, like the shape of the quarter windows, the flares over the wheel arches, and the vents on the front fenders. The Indra is an exceptionally rare car, with only 127 examples completed between early 1971 and mid-1974. According to the website intermeccanica.org, the breakdown was approximately 60 convertibles, 40 coupes and 27 two plus twos. That makes this yellow 2+2 the rarest of the rare! This one is well-equipped with an automatic transmission, power windows, air conditioning, a stereo, and a full complement of gauges.With a Chevrolet 350 under the hood, maintenance is both affordable and easy on the powertrain. I spent a few minutes chatting with the owner of this wonderful and unique car. He told me the car has had a complete restoration on the paint and body, with everything sorted out. Standing next to it, I can attest that for a 1970s Italian car, this one was in stunning condition.
The one custom touch the owner made was to have the Intermeccanica logo embroidered on the seats – he said it didn’t come that way from the factory, but he really liked it.
I really enjoyed learning about this interesting piece of automotive history, and I hope that you enjoyed reading about it!
Seriously, I saw it at a car show and could NOT figure out what the heck it was! It wasn’t until over 2 years later when I saw a picture of a similar car online and learned that I was looking at an Intermeccanica Italia!