By on January 27, 2021

The Intermeccanica marque is a new one to Rare Rides, and even in scouring the obscure vehicles of the internet one does not come across the name often.

Intermeccanica has dabbled in a number of different automotive enterprises since its inception, and the Indra seen here is one of its more successful projects.

Frank Reisner founded Intermeccanica in 1959 in Torino, Italy. The company’s first products were tuning kits, though it eventually moved on to moderately successful open-wheel formula race cars. The company built the bodies for International Motor Cars’ Apollo GT in the early Sixties and then branched out into other prototype vehicle designs through the remainder of the decade.

In 1971, Intermeccanica worked with GM/Opel and Erich Bitter (a familiar name) to develop the Indra, a production car Intermeccanica sold as its own. Indra bodies were made of steel and built by hand in Italy, and then shipped to the US where they were fitted with running gear from General Motors. The chassis was bespoke to the Indra, and all examples featured power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and a DeDion rear suspension setup.

The majority of Indras were fitted with 327 or 350 cubic inch Chevy V8s, but a select few for the German market had inline-six Opel engines and were sold via Opel dealers. Both manual and automatic transmissions were available as well. But the project was very short-lived.

General Motors started feeling a bit more selfish shortly after the Indra’s introduction. They decided not to supply any further parts to Intermeccanica, and ordered Opel not to sell any more engines to independent manufacturers. That meant the Indra was in production from 1971 to 1974 before its parts supply dried up, and 127 total examples were completed. Of those, 60 were spiders, 40 coupes, and 27 were 2+2 configuration.

The Indra was the last time Intermeccanica would build and market a car under its own brand. Erich Bitter used his know-how to market a similar car of his own branding, the Bitter CD linked above. Intermeccanica moved on to building replica versions of Porsche and VW vehicles and neo-classical coupes. The brand relocated its HQ to Canada in 1985 and still exists today under the guidance of Frank Reisner’s son, Henry. The company has been in development of EV commuter vehicles since 2015.

Today’s Rare Ride is a lemony yellow over black and is one of the few German market versions with an Opel I6. It sold at auction in 2018 for $66,800.

[Images: Intermeccanica]

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6 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Very Rare 1972 Intermeccanica Indra Spider...”

  • avatar

    It looks like the love child of a TR-7 and an Opel GT.
    That’s a good thing, though.
    Bad on GM for cutting off their parts supply. This company was no threat to GM, except maybe a few Corvette buyers.

  • avatar

    It was Erich Bitter who got himself in with GM Opel as sort of “official” tuner, and who made sure Intermeccanica were left like dried leaves blowing in the wind. Who needs competition? When you’re an exclusive something or other. The Opel cam-in-head not overhead cam engines, because GM copies no one even on nomenclature, was a not very pleasant metallic-sounding mechanically tappy engine in either four or six cylinder guise. A pre-emissions 327/350 hp four barrel as available in ’66 Chevy II Novas would have made this beast dance all over the road with the tires of the day. Far preferable to a blacksmith Opel engine.

  • avatar

    This reminds me of some of the more unusual Matchbox cars I had as a kid (and still have). The Iso Grifo, the Saab Sonnet, the Monteverdi Hai were among them. So many of these unique cars were immortalized back in the day in die-cast for us kiddos (and kiddos at heart).

  • avatar

    GM’s core business was so threatened by the production of 127 units, they ordered a halt to sales of parts to Intermeccanica.

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