The Italians are famous for their impressive car manufacturing skills and extensive range of manufacturing companies that have churned out one best-selling vehicle after another. However, you don’t necessarily have to have a Ferrari to count yourself as one of the very few with an iconic Italian collectible in your hands.
Ferraris are at the very top of the financial scale, so you can expect to gain some pretty hefty bargains from the list we’ve put together below. Here are some Italian giants besides Ferraris that, while being relatively expensive, are already or well on their way to becoming an emphatic choice for any comprehensive supercar collection.
The Fiat X1/9
The Lamborghini Miura may well have inspired the Fiat X1/9 when you consider the similarities in layout and design. Some of the noticeably similar features include rear-wheel drive and a transverse mid-engine. Of course, what’s likely to give it away is that it was actually designed by the same man.
The Fiat X1/9 may not possess the same tire-melting power of a Lamborghini, but then what does? The Fiat offers an unprecedented handling experience, weighing in at 2,000lbs. What’s the major attraction for this beauty? The fact that you can pick on up for a hundredth of the cost of the very similar Lamborghini Miura.
The DeTomaso Mangusta
You may think that Mercedez-Benz is responsible for the entire gullwing market, in which case you are mistaken. The DeTomaso Mangusta utilises a gullwing configuration as well, except not for the doors like most Mercs. Instead the rear of the car has a pair of dorsally mounted hatches covering the spare tire and engine, as well as the storage compartments.
Alejandro De Tomaso is rumoured to have named the Mangusta after a Mongoose because it would be replacing the Cobra, which is a Mongooses natural enemy. This was until Carroll Shelby became involved in Ford’s GT40 program.
The Iso Grifo A3C
Giotto Bizzarrini was the chief engineer at Ferrari for five years and was in charge of development of the 250GT as well as numerous other vehicles. He was relieved of his duties by Enzo Ferrari in 1961 and subsequently began work on his own car projects. He came up with the Iso A3C alongside his partner Renzo Rivolta.
There was however a clash between the two as both had differing obsessions when it came to cars. Bizzarrini was keen to see endurance and racing capabilities pushed to the limit, whereas Rivolta wanted practicality to be reflected through sales to the general public. There are around 130 A3C’s out there and 25 Grifos, both of which ended production after the two split due to their differences.
The Maserati Khamsin
Marcello Gandini was responsible for the Fiat design and the Maserati Khamsin as another from his innovative car-manufacturing mind. The first and quite clearly the stand-out feature you notice with the Khamsin is the asymmetrical hood, which is one of very few differences between the Khamsin and the Lamborghini Urraco.
The Uracco shares many similarities with the Khamsin but there is a clear difference in proportions, which are much preferred by enthusiasts in the Khamsin. The Khamsin features rear seats but, like the modern day Audi TT, we highly recommend that you view this as a 2-seater. As far as performance goes, it can reach cruising speeds of around 170mph.
The Lamborghini Countach
The Countach has struggled to stay out of the limelight since its introduction over the last few decades, with appearances on the concept form at the 1971 Geneva Auto Show and on the big screen in Cannonball Run (1981). This is a timeless masterpiece thought up by the seemingly consistent Marcello Gandini.
Its production process was gradually becoming all the more aggressive as time went on, with NACA ducts incorporated to cool the 4-litre V-12 engine and intakes on the rear quarter panels. Its over-the-top final design is one for enthusiasts to debate over despite its popularity, with some branding the Countach as a bit too flamboyant. It’s certainly more bat mobile than it is car and would stand out in any car collection.
Article contributed by Mike an automobile enthusiast who works for international car hire firm Apex Luxury Car Hire.