Intermeccanica and the Epilogue of the Work of Franco Scaglione

The history of Intermeccanica is that of the last five years of Scaglione’s work. Professor Grandi takes a look back over the events and the models he worked on, and the unlucky adventure with Frank Reisner that would lead him sadly to withdraw prematurely from the car design scene.

Drawings courtesy of Massimo Grandi

Frank Reisner was a Canadian citizen of Hungarian origins, a chemical engineer, but a car fanatic and above all a skilled business and public relations expert. In 1959 he came to Italy, and opened a company in Turin, Intermeccanica, a branch of the Canadian NEEC (North East Engineering Company) which also belonged to Reisner.

In 1960, at the Grand Prix in Monaco, Reisner met a Californian engineer who had designed a “European style” GT with a Buick 3500 cc engine. Reisner began to produce the bodywork at Intermeccanica in Turin. It was 1962, and the car was the Apollo GT. But the car, designed by Ron Plescia, wasn’t particularly attractive, it appeared rather unbalanced, and a bit rough-and-ready because it had no back window.

And so, Reisner got in touch with the firm Scaglione in Turin, to have them review the Apollo and make it more attractive.

Scaglione accepted the appointment, and with a few but intelligent touches created a fast-back coupé with typically European, indeed Italian, lines, given the similarity with the Ferrari Gran Turismo of the time: the car was later manufactured by Motor Cars of Oakland in California, in 3500 GT and 5000 GT versions, with a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic gearbox.

The car soon became all the rage, and was very popular among the Hollywood stars. Between 1961 and 1965 a total of 88 were built: 76 coupés, 11 convertibles and the 2+2 prototype.