Concepts and prototypes : Innocenti IM3/I4/I5 facelift
It’s often been said that Innocenti had the unswerving knack of being able to take a BMC car and make it look just a little bit more appealing. The Austin A40 transformed by the Italians into the fully hatchbacked Combinata, and the already pretty 1100/1300 was tweaked to become the better-looking and more appealing Morris IM3 and Austin I4/I5 models. First signs that the Italian company was keen to beat the British at its own game in 1961, when it took the Austin-Healey Sprite and turned it into the 950 Spider. And okay, that car didn’t look as good as the Midget, but it spelled out that Italians preferred their cars to sport an Italian style…
As the A40 and 1100/1300 were both the work of Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, there wasn’t much to do there – but that didn’t stop them trying to give the latter car a bit of a brush up – as the picture above clearly shows. Actually, we don’t know a great deal about this proposal. As it’s parked alongside an IM3, we can only assume it’s a proposed facelift, and the two have been placed side by side for comparison purposes. The date is unknown, but given the 950 Spiders in the background, it’s safe to assume it’s pre-1968, which is when that car went out of production.
We don’t know who styled it, either. A safe bet would be Pininfarina, due to doing the original car, but that’s not a forgone conclusion give Michelotti’s tweaking of the ADO16 to become the Apache/Victoria. The new front-end does look nicely integrated, and adds a little modernity to the ADO16, if not prettiness.
So, if you know more about this mysterious Innocenti, we’d love to hear from you – and fill in yet another small gap in the company’s fascinating history.