427 Italia?

I am not an Italia expert, but from the little I do know, I’ll bet that the following story is very unusual and perhaps not believable to Italiaphiles.

I graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1975. Back then; cadets could own personal vehicles as a senior. Most would order new cars in the fall of their junior year and take possession around June Week, which was the time of graduation for the class ahead of us. Most cadets were Corvette crazy and I was no different. After all, the Corvette was the car of the astronauts. My father hated Corvettes and thought I should consider an XKE, but that car was not affordable.

So, in the fall of 1973 I headed down to Daniels Chevrolet in Colorado Springs to place my or for a 1974 Corvette. I decided to stop by the Ford dealer (sorry, can’t remember the name of the dealership) to  look at cars. I liked the Mustang, but the new Mustang II was a huge disappointment.

There in the showroom sat what I thought was a Ferrari. It was one of the most beautiful shapes I had ever seen. The color was a light blue silver frost. There was a show car type poster in front of the car on a floor stand. It identified the car as a new 1972 Ford Italia. Not once did I see the name Intermeccanica. I thought this might be the new Ford sports car. Now here’s the part that I now think to be very important. I asked the salesman to lift up the hood…the car was equipped with a 427 big block Ford engine and a top-loader 4 speed. I was very familiar with Fords and this was definitely a big block FE with an aluminum intake and a single four-barrel. I had seen several Cobras with 427s and it looked nearly the same under this Italia’s hood complete with chrome pent-roof valve covers. Could it have been or 428 or 390? Maybe. Shelby was known to have done this with some big-block Cobras when 427s were in short supply. I considered buying this car over the Corvette thinking it must be incredibly fast and similar to the Cobra in performance as it looked to be considerably less than 3000 pounds in weight. What held me back was that I needed another 1500 dollars that I did not have. I had not heard of this car, it was already two model years old, the engine was a monster and I had a fleeting thought I could kill myself in this car…so I walked away, went to Daniels and filled out the order for an L82 Corvette.

In the years to follow, I never saw one of these again and no one I ever spoke to had heard of an Italia. Finally, I found what I was looking for on the Internet and learned of Intermeccanica. Then I went to the various websites and from what I can tell, there is no record of a 427 Italia ever made. There were some 429 Ford Intermeccanica cars, but no 427 Italias.  

Is there anyone out there that knows about this car? Was it a “one-off” put together by that local dealership? Does anyone out there currently own it? Has anyone else but me ever heard of it? What I do know is that I saw it with my own eyes and I’ll bet from what I have seen at the auctions that this car is one-car rare and could command 200K plus.

I suppose there weren’t too many Ford dealers in the Springs who were licensed to sell Intermeccanica and that knowledgeable members out there could easily identify that dealership.

The likely end of cars like this was to scare oneself, pull the engine for a small block and sell the motor to a hot rodder or drag racer.

Well, that my 427 Italia story. Where is this car?  

Captain Paul Lotakis, Alaska Airlines

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