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.

11 Comments

  1. There was one of these scooting around the paddock at The Lamest Day 24HOL race at Nelson's Ledges in Ohio, and if I remember right it was for sale. Looked like a fun little runabout.

    1. I see the Yugoiness, but it's not enough to dissuade me – diggin' the Daihatsuiness of it all. Really want to hear what that uncorked turbo 3 sounds like – any chance of a vid/sound clip??
      Plus, how cool would it be to tell someone you've got a DeTomaso (they assume Pantera), but you do a 4 wheel drift around the corner in one of these guys. Bam!

  2. As an Italian, your stereotypes delightfully offend me, for I am also Loud, generally Angry, and Old(er than I would like). Unfortunately my coachwork is more "Chef Boyardee" than "Alfa Romeo", so I'm not small – but no matter. I would hoon one of those in a heartbeat. And wear my best Mustachioed grin while doing it.

    1. Don't forget your green overalls, green hat and white gloves!
      "EETSA MEEEE! LU-EEEEEE-GEE!"
      I grew up in a town that is 80% Italian, and while my particular parental clump is Irish-English, most of my dad's Irish brothers married Italians of some sort, so my extended family is largely Italian. I can't claim it directly myself, because I look terrible in gold chains, but there is a definite Italian link in my family. All stereotypes are meant lovingly, and with a deliberate effort to offend you hairy bastards as much as possible. 😉

    1. I liked this the first time it was posted yesterday — I still have my ears ringing the songs from this game from when I was twelve — but I don't think I can bring myself to watch it a second time.

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