Born in Piscaia, Tuscany in 1891, Ferdinandi Innocenti started his business career by establishing a hardware store in Rome. The business grew, and in 1920 Ferdinandi established a factory in northern Italy in Milan, in the Lambrate district. The factory produced everything from soccer stands to railways, and the reconstruction boom in Rome in particular boosted demand.
The factories suffered in the Second World War, but Innocenti had kept them up and running productively for wartime needs even through difficult times. After the war, the factories also started producing for the vehicle industry, inspired by military motorcycles. Enrico Piaggio had introduced the Vespa in 1946, and Innocenti introduced their first scooter, Lambro River by Lambretta, just a year later. The scooters became a huge success and were manufactured under license in Spain, India, Argentina, Germany, France and Brazil.
At the end of the 1950s, another economic boom followed in Italy, and the working class could for the first time get their own car, such as the Fiat 500. Ferdinando’s son Luigi had taken over as vice president of the company and began to explore the possibilities of manufacturing passenger cars. A cooperation partner was first found in Germany, and a small Iseria passenger car was born in cooperation with Goggomobil. However, production was very marginal until the early 1960s when Innocenti entered into a cooperation agreement with the British BMC and began to produce Innocenti Austins and Mini Minors under license.
Innocent’s first in-house model followed just a year later when it introduced the Austin-Healey Sprite-based 950 Spider. Encouraged by Innocenti’s first sports model, the collaboration with Ferrari also began, and two 186 GT prototypes equipped with the V6 from Maranello were completed, until Ferrari decided to bury the project in 1966.
Innocenti was not discouraged, and developed their own small Coupé model, which was presented later in the same year. Ghia used the earlier Spider model as the basis for the design, and Sergio Sartorelli, who has made a name for himself with models like the Karmann Ghia Type 34 and the Fiat 2300 S, was given the main responsibility for the design. The wheelbase was extended and the rear of the car was completely redesigned. Special attention was paid to the quality of the materials in the interior, and the GT spirit was also exuded by dashboard including five gauges, the oil pressure gauge was straight from the Ferrari 250 GTE. New Innocenti C was powered by BMC’s A-series 1098cc engine, producing 58bhp with two SU carburettors – enough for a coupe with a curb weight of just 695kg.
In the Tricolore spirit, the car was initially produced in green, red and white, until later Giallo Positano yellow also became an option. This 1968 model has been sold new in Sicily, where it has been the fourth car of a wealthy family. All of the car’s original documents, including the first registration certificate, manuals and service book are still on file. The car was bought in 2019 by T. Vilagi, who brought the car to Finland. The car had only 37 thousand kilometers on the odometer at the time, and Vilagi has driven about ten thousand more during the last three summers. The car is still in amazing, extraordinary original condition. The interior is completely original and untouched. A Cooper steering wheel is installed, but the original is preserved.
During Vilag’s ownership, a few parking dents have been repaired, the car has been serviced, and the master cylinder of the clutch and brake has been renewed. The car has been repainted in Italy to the original Giallo Positano yellow shade and the body is in really good and impressive condition.
An exceptionally original Innocenti C, which, to our knowledge, is the only specimen in driving condition in Northern Europe.
The car is Classic Data inspected with a rating of 2.
Innocenti is located in Vantaa, Finland – 25 minutes from Helsinki–Vantaa Airport. Views by appointment.
Worldwide shipping with generous rates.