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This is a 1973 Fangio Renault Torino Pininfarina
…and it’s gorgeous

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So there this olelongrooffan was hanging out at the all Brit show beachside there in Burt Reynold’s hometown and I stumbled across this Rambler American. Wait! What?

No my fellow Hoons, this is no mere mid 60’s Rambler American but instead it’s a crossbreed of a Rambler, Renault, and Pininfarina design all mashed together and sold in the Argentinian market during the early 70’s. Renault licensed a version of their Torino to IKA-Kaiser Industries/Argentina from 1966-1983. This particular example was found by its current owner in 2006. He then had a frame off done to it and brought it here to the good ole USA in 2009.

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Of course, this olelongrooffan had to strike up a conversation about it with him. Turns out his Dad had a 1972 version of this back in the day and the owner had been looking around for one of these for years. When he found this one in a barn in rural Argentina, he bought it sight unseen. He told me he thought there are only six of these in the US, “two here in Florida, one in Indiana, another in Texas and two in California.” Yeah, he knew pretnear everything there is to know about this hybrid.

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Turns out at the time, Renault and American Motors had just merged (is that the correct term?) and were sharing platforms and body styles across the board. This particular Torino was manufactured in Argentina and was known as “Argentina’s National Car” and was only offered in South America. It was, in fact, based on the Rambler American that this olelongrooffan had originally thought it was.

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He told me all of these were offered with a 230 cubic inch overhead cam 6 cylinder Tornado engine originally found in offerings by Jeep, specifically their Gladiators. It was mated with a 2F transmission of German origin and rode on a Hotchkis suspension. A Renault Torino ran in the 1969 Nurburgring race and performed quite well although it appeared to have forfeited a victory due to having acquired a significantly large number of penalties throughout that race.

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Between 1970 and 1976, this was considered a luxury car by Argentinian standards and several world leaders including Fidel Castro and Leonid Brechnev owned one of them. Yeah, a lowly Rambler American based sedan a luxury car. I am certain at least one of our fellow Hoons agrees with this assessment.

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That prancing bull seen in the center of the front grille and in the center of that steering wheel is actually the city emblem for Turin, the home of the Kaiser/Renault Torino.

But all in all, this Pinanfarina design really caught this olelongrooffan’s eye that day amongst all of those Lucas electrics driven vehicles and I was certainly glad to have seen it. I doubt another will be seen by this olelongrooffan again.

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2013/longrooffan

  • FuzzyPlushroom

    "All Brit"? Well, there is at least one British-built car in that lead photo, possibly more…

    • Fuzzy: There was a section at this show simply titled "Other Makes" which is where I found this one.

      • FuzzyPlushroom

        Still, if I had a Jensen-built P1800, I'd go visit the British side of the field with it. 😉

  • wisc47

    Dig the pillar-less windows, and those driving gloves.

  • Van_Sarockin

    It's a whole lot more luxury than the Rambler American my mom had – her first new car. The heater was an option, and the three speed was on the steering column. And Georgia in the summer didn't get along with its water pump. Still, we got about eight years worth of grudging service out of It.

    • dukeisduke

      We got 11 years and 85,000 miles out of our '66 American. It was $2400 brand new, and my mom got $550 for it when she traded for her '78 Malibu Classic. Borg-Warner automatic and air conditioning, AM pushbutton radio and *windshield washers*!

  • Best in show. I don't care what else showed up.

  • scroggzilla

    I'm partial to the racing version myself.
    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3008/2642233693_491bd3c88b_z.jpg"&gt;

    Same car at the 1969 Marathon de la Route (aka the 84 Hours of the Nurburgring!)
    <img src="http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1144/5100010284_6fd9bce28e_z.jpg"&gt;

    If your Spanish is up to snuff, google La Mision Argentina

    • According to Wiki, that #3 is in the Juan Fangio museum in Argentina.

  • dukeisduke

    The coolest Rambler American I've ever seen. Also, it's "unit body" construction, so no frame.

  • RSDeuce

    Man, that car is PRETTY. And I am digging the dashboard as well.

  • Texmarc

    To quote Austin Powers, "Thanks not a Fangio-Renault-Torino-Pininfarina, that's a Rambler, baby!" But it probably would have been a lot more exciting than the Alliance.

  • Sjalabais

    It is gorgeous! Normally, I would be distracted by the Swedes in the second row above, but this car has plain perfect proportions. I'm impressed.

  • danleym

    I don't think that "merged" is the right term- at least not at that time. They had some sort of cooperative agreement where they shared technology, but to my knowledge there wasnt any shared ownership or control.

    Now, fast forward 15 years or so, and it's a different story.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    It's important to remember that American compacts like the Rambler and Falcon were considered big cars most everywhere else in the world and that in a lot of places, an engine as big as the Tornado OHC six was an almost unaffordable luxury (the Tornado was bigger the a Rover V-8, remember). One side effect was that IKA came up with a performance version of the Torino, the 380W, with three Webers and 176 hp; that's the Nürburgring racer.

    One minor correction: The Torino had a ZF (not 2F) transmission.

  • busplunge+

    I thought it was a rambler too, when I first saw it, it's a beautiful car.
    Did I ever tell you about the Rambler I drove when I worked for the Ozark Beverage? The clutch kept slipping and I'd have to get out and push it to get it rolling then it would be fine.
    I tended to avoid stoplights and make a lot of rolling stops.

    One day at Grand and National I got stuck in the middle of the intersection….. some guy in a pickup pushed me through. I tooted the horn, waved and drove off.

    The next day I bought a Vega. This was in 1973

    jeez.

  • Frank

    Okay, lets get som FACTS straight! The car is a hybrid of a 64 Rambler American, 64 Rambler Classic, and Kaiser OHC six engine. Kaiser moved their car production to Argentina in an agreement with the Argentine government in the late 50s as "Industries Kaiser Argentina" (IKA). The "Dragon" platform was first built, but was getting long in the tooth. Rather than build the last Kaisers (which were also a bit dated), IKA contracted with AMC to produce their Classic and Ambassador body. IKA had been assembling earlier model Ramblers (I think they started in 62), so building the 64 design was a natural. The IKA Ambassador was just the Classic with Ambassador trim after 64 — in 65 AMC lengthend the wheelbase (front end) of the Ambassador but IKA didn't. IKA used the Kaiser OHC six in the bodies they produced, the earlier Ramblers were assembled from parts kits sent from Kenosha (AMC plant location) with AMC engines.

    The Torino was designed by Pinnin Farina for IKA. It uses the AMC Classic center body with the shorter American front and rear clips. That gives it a 112" wheelbase instead of 106". Farina designed the new grill and taillight treatment, and the dash board, giving the car a more European flair. IKA extended the trialing edge of the front sills ("frame" rails) all the way to the back, greatly stiffening the body over the AMC design. This was done due to rougher roads in many parts of Argentina.

    Renault bought into IKA in the late 70s. Then the company became known as IKA-Renault. By the late 70s IKA was totally owned by Renault. Renault continued making the Torino through 1983.

    I didn't look up exact dates on anything, but this is all close. If someone needs exact dates or more info contact me — farna AT amc-mag.com

  • EDUARDO

    LA COUPE DE LA FOTO YA NO ES DISEÑO PININFARINA. EL CARTELITO QUE POSEE EN EL PANEL DE COLA ESTA AGREGADO. EL DISEÑO ORIGINAL DE PININFARINA EN EL TORINO FUE DE 1966 A 1970. ESTA SEGUNDA SERIE (1970-1973) ES UN REDISEÑO ARGENTINO.

  • Sebastian

    This car is in manufacturing Argentina, between 1970 and 1973! Here in Argentina is the category called tourism road where very still and technology remain at this kind of car! Here there is a saying that says, ford and chevrolet are like a river and mouth! But the torino as the national team in football, everyone wants to torino or have a great affection for this car in Argentina! http://www.polepositionweb.com.ar/wp-content/uplo

  • Adrian

    For more information on this car or other cars built in Argentina, go to http://www.cocheArgentino.com

  • ESD

    es un renault torino MADE IN ARGENTINA COMO MARADONA Y EL PAPA!!!

  • relbmar16

    The history is a bit incorrect….IKA which was part of Kaiser Industries and built Kaiser and Frazer and Willys Jeep vehicles, had a Joint Venture in Argentina, IKA. IKA licensed in some other brands of cars and built them in Argentina, Renault, Alfa Romeo and Rambler. Some where along the way, Renault bought controlling interest in IKA and phased out some of the other cars with the exception of Rambler. AMC and Renault had many associations as far back as 1961 where Renault Built Ramblers and sold them in various countries, Brussels and France particularly. Ford was in the picture too part of the time with IKA so some of the engines were Ford engines if I recall. The only exception I take to this idea or concept that Pinnin Farina designed the Torino is the attached photo of a custom Rambler Hardtop from 1964 by the Jo-han model company…….this 1964 toy model car looks an awful lot like the Torino…..so I’m not sure how Pinnin Farina can be claimed as the designer of the Renault Torino. AMC never merged with Renault either. AMC was a private company but Renault at one point owned 47% of the company…..later on, Chrysler would come in and buy up all the shares on the NYSE and from Renault.

  • George Zima

    Wow, is interesting to witness how people give different versions of something that is well documented by even who was at one point the president and original founder of IKA. I am referring to Mr. James Mc.Cloud. The “Argentinian” Torino was based on the 1964 rambler 440H. Together with Mc.Cloud and a team of engineers already in charge of project X vehicle, one famous Argentinian race car driver, Mr Juan Manuel Fangio went to se Mr. Gian Battista.Pininfarina who was Fangio’s friend. and convinced him to take the project for a possible adaptation of the 440H to the very peculiar Argentinian market.
    To make the long story short and after choosing and adapting the power plant ( Tornado Interceptor), ZahnradFabrik (ZF) gearshift, 4 link bar suspension, different and stiffened semi chassis, new front, new rear, new roof and rear window, plus a complete redesigned and a very Italian interior, the ” Torino” was born, adapted logo from the city of Turin ( Torino) Italy included. Granted, the adaptation of engine, suspension, weight distribution, etc was done in Argentina, particularly by Miroslav Mayer and other prominent staff members.
    Sluggish sales in the very beginning but with an outstanding success after the car was put through the paces as a race car and more so after the famous event in Nurburgring Germany. The legend was born and rest is history.
    Facts : Ford had absolutely nothing to do with IKA, the Torino or Renault.
    Renault came later on when they acquired control of IKA, becoming IKA-Renault and just because the Torino was successful they kept it in production until 1981 with almost 100.000 units sold. In fact Ika Renault discontinued the Rambler line after a short time of introducing the Torino..
    The original Pininfarina styling was never touched although there were some minor changes such as a modified instrument panel and console, slight modified grille, tail lamps, etc. For Ika and Mr. Mc.Cloud the Torino was a gamble but it turned out to be a good one.
    If anybody needs the complete story in detail I highly recommend the book by James F. Mc.Cloud, “The IKA STORY”
    I sincerely hope that this clarifies missconceptions.
    … by the way I am the owner of the car being pictured in this article.

    • danielm26

      Very well explained and very accurate, maybe you could add something on the power plant development, my understanding is the Argentinean engineers made the Tornado unit much more reliable.

      • Hugo Gallina

        Hi George, You have a nice car. Like you, my father have a few Torinos ,
        the second one was similar to yours only black leather and meta lick
        light blue outside.

        Like to get same information from you on haw
        to get one into the USA, If you can share it , please contact me. Thank
        you !!!! Hugo Gallina

  • Somebody

    Wow, that truly is a beautiful car!

  • Marcelo Rodriguez

    Mr. Zima I appreciate you sharing the correct information and congratulate you for owning a fine example of the Torino. My father had a 1967 380W in my youth and I simply adore the car. In fact, about 15 years ago I almost bought a fine example of a 380W but ended losing to the Pininfarina Museum who ended purchasing it (as per my communication with the seller). I’m still looking for a 380W or a GS model in original condition. Unfortunately, that type of quality units currently demand a price tag that I can’t justify investing on, but at 47 years of age still hope one day I could have a Torino of my own. By the way I live in Florida so Mr. Zima if you read this post and ever consider parting ways with your coupe, please keep me in mind.