1962 Triumph Italia 2000
Part 1: A Rare Treat
We were very excited at the prospect of a full restoration of a 1962 Triumph Italia 2000. This is car number 301 of 329 built by Vignale and is one of just a handful that still exists today. This is actually the second Italia 2000 we have been lucky enough to restore. These cars were built on a TR3 chassis and had custom bodies made by Vignale in Italy. Mechanically, they are quite easy to restore but when it comes to the body, it’s a whole different story. Parts are, as we like to say, made of ‘unobtainium’ so anything missing or damaged beyond repair would need to be custom made to the vehicle.
Part 2: Getting Down to Business
On arrival, the first thing we did was drive the car to see what we were dealing with. To our surprise, the car ran and drove excellent. This was a great sign as we now know the engine and transmission were in pretty good shape. The next step was to get the car stripped down to a shell and off to the sand blaster to see what we were dealing with under the paint.
Now that the car was sand blasted and all of the paint stripped off, we could see that it was in fair condition with some accident damage to the driver’s side. There was also accident damage to the front nose and rust in the lower fenders and sills. Rust in these vehicles is very common as the bodies were made quite crudely and no rust protection was used. All panels would need to be fabricated by hand just like Vignale did when they originally produced these vehicles.
Once all the lead and bondo was stripped off, we found lots of rust lurking underneath. For the body restoration, we turned to Hank Van Gaale of Hank’s Welding & Fabrication. We are very lucky to have access to such a great shop. Hank is an expert metal worker and did an amazing job of hand fabricating all of the panels.
Once the car was mounted on Hanks jig, we found that the driver’s door post had been pushed in more than three-inches due to prior accident damage, and the driver’s front fender was almost two-inches higher than the passenger fender. The whole car was literally twisted. With lots of pulling and beating we were able to get the car back straight and sitting just like it should. It was a long, tedious process but we could not be more pleased with the finished product.
The car was then off to the paint and body shop where they for all of the fine detail work to ensure an excellent paint job that will last.
When the car came back from paint and body, it looked amazing. Ken’s Body Shop and Hank’s Welding & Fabrication did an amazing job on the body of this car. It’s hard to believe that it was even the same car when we look back at what we started with. Our client chose a beautiful dark-blue color, which was sprayed out using Glasurit paint. The car was been color-sanded and polished to perfection; it looks like a mirror!
We then started on the assembly process and couldn’t wait to get this classic back on the road. We knew this was going to be one rewarding project to have in the books.
Part 3: The Finished Product
The Italia 2000 restoration is now complete, and we could not be happier with how it turned out. It has been a long and very hard process, as we had to fabricate so many pieces. It’s unbelievable to look back at what we started with, and to now have such a gorgeous, fully restored car.
Thanks to all the blood, sweat, and tears we and our team have put into this car, our client now has one of the nicest Triumph Italias in the world. It’s amazing that we have had the opportunity to restore two of these very rare Triumphs, and now have a third in the shop for a full restoration. Please be sure to check back and follow the progress as we restore another one of these great cars.
If you have any questions about this car or any other classic car restoration projects we have in the shop, we would love to hear from you. Make sure to visit our British Sports Cars Blog to get the most recent updates on what's going on in and around the shop, and to see all the photos from this project.