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1960 Triumph Italia 2000 Restoration

Another Italia Comes Our Way!

Sometimes, we just can’t believe the opportunities that come our way. Exhibit A: Yet another Triumph Italia 2000 ground-up, nuts-and-bolts restoration. This is the third Italia we’ve been fortunate enough to get our hands on. This particular Italia is a 1960, and is car #102. It is a two-owner car that has what we believe to be 26,000 original miles. We found this car sitting in San Jose, California where it had been in storage since the early seventies. This was one of the best Triumph Italias we’d ever seen. The car was very original and looked to be rust and accident free. We knew we had a long road ahead of us, but what an amazing car to start with.

As soon as we dove into the project, our excitement started to build. We were amazed to see the differences between the three Italias we’ve had in our possession. As many of you know, these are extremely rare cars, and were all 100% handmade. Just over 300 cars were produced, and not one was exactly alike. Things would change on the production line depending on what Vignale was producing at the time, as well as who was working on the car. One very noticeable difference between this car and others we have seen is that the bonnet prop rod is on the passenger side.

Triumph Italia Restoration
Triumph Italia Restoration

We were so pleased to discover an Italia in such solid, straight condition, with no visible signs of serious rust. We had our fingers crossed that once this car was stripped down to bare metal, we wouldn’t find any hidden problems. We sent the car off to the steam cleaners to remove all the mud and oil and get it ready for media blasting. Things were progressing very nicely. The car was completely sand blasted down to bare metal, and we were more than pleased we found none of the hidden problems we were worried about. We rested easy now knowing for sure the car was nearly rust-free, and had never suffered any body damage or accidents in its entire life. We were going to need to replace one rocker panel and repair the other due to rust, but that was just about it. The two other Triumph Italias we restored both needed extensive rust and accident repair, so it was great to have our hands on such a solid car right out of the gate.

Triumph Italia Restoration

The car was now in epoxy primer and waiting on Hank’s Welding & Fabrication to get to work on the rust and panel repair. Hank worked his magic and the car was ready for paint and body. As usual, Kens Body Shop here in San Luis Obispo did a great job, and the paint looked fantastic. We now had the suspension fully rebuilt—both front and rear–and chose to go with 60-spoke, 4.5-inch wide chrome wire wheels with Verdestein 185/70 15 tires. They’re a little wider than stock, but would help fill in the wheel arches as well as improve handling.

The next phase was rebuilding the engine. Once the engine was done and installed, we got started on finishing up this fantastic specimen. We were finally done, and our hard work paid off in spades. We brought this one up to show-quality standards, and now this little beauty looks great and drives fantastic. We even got a little extra validation for our efforts when the car placed third in the Special Coach class at this year’s Concorso Italiano in Monterey Bay, California.

Triumph Italia Restoration

These Italias drive much nicer than their TR3 cousins due in large part to the added support the roof provides. This particular example was optioned from the factory with the rare and desirable overdrive transmission option, which really makes this a great cruiser at freeway speeds.

To have restored just one of these incredible cars is a rare treat; to have now completed three restorations is beyond belief. These are unbelievably gorgeous cars that were woefully underappreciated for many years, but are now finally getting the attention, praise, and yes, even the glory they deserve. These cars turn heads. And their eye-appeal is matched on by their rarity. This is one of about 100 cars known to exist, of which approximately fifty are roadworthy. And we’ve been lucky enough to have had four of them in our possession. We couldn’t be more proud or honored to work on these rare and beautiful jewels in the British car crown.

We’ve taken care to document the entire restoration process from the day it rolled into the shop to the fantastic finish, so please take a moment to check out the photos.

Triumph Italia Restoration


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