Dealership Find: Two Innocentis, To Go

The Patron Saint of Hoonage?
When you’re car shopping, it’s really quite amazing what you find sitting in showrooms and dealership lots. In this case, we had a pair of Italian beauties that I didn’t even recognize.
Small. Angry. Loud. Old. Italian. It reminds me of the lineup at the grocery store in my home town.
Well, perhaps calling them full-blooded Italian is a little bit strong. They’re mostly Italian, with a little bit of British, and a little bit of Japanese. These are twin Innocenti DeTomasos — yes, the same DeTomaso who built the Pantera also built these little terrors. Based loosely on the underpinnings from a Daihatsu Charade with touches of Mini tossed in here and there — the previous generation of Innocenti was just a rebadged, “Italianized” Mini with some Bertone bodywork mounted on the Mini frame — these little terrors are powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine producing about 72hp stock, or around 100 hp in their current trim. The dealership informs me that these cars had virtually nothing in the way of equipment to try and dampen the engine noise; apparently company owner Alejandro de Tomaso heard one started up without proper mufflers or intake installed, and liked the sound so much that he insisted on keeping it as pure as possible. As such, starting an Innocenti DeTomaso is rather like starting a subcompact Touring Car. People for blocks around will know the moment you do it. The owner informs me that they’re not quite as quick and nimble as the Mini, but they are a fair bit more powerful, and draw an awful lot of looks every time he takes one of them out. And for those of you wondering, no, they’re not for sale.

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