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1959 Intermeccanica IMP 700 GT Coupe

The Steyr-Puch IMP (short for Intermeccanica-Puch) was an aluminum two-seater coupe with a top speed of 160 km/h. Intermeccanica came into existence in 1959 when a chemical engineer named Frank Reisner founded Construzione Automobili Intermeccanica in Turin, Italy. Born in Hungary in the winter of 1932, Frank Reisner fled Budapest seventeen years later with his parents to Montreal, Canada, after a particularly miserable winter. He became indirectly involved with cars by working in the paint industry. After marrying in 1957, Frank and his wife Paula, both car fanatics, built and raced a sports car for a while before visiting Europe and deciding to move to Italy. Mr. Reisner designed racing chassis for Giannini Automobili SpA in Rome before settling in Turin.

The first Intermeccanica products were, innocently enough, speed equipment kits and free-flow exhaust systems for various automobiles. In 1960 things got more interesting when a Formula Junior racing car, one of the first rear-engined ones with a highly-modified Peugeot motor, was constructed. The same year a prototype of an aluminum two-seater coupe called the IMP (short for Intermeccanica-Puch), with a top speed of 160 km/h, based on the small rear-engined Steyr-Daimler-Puch 500cc car was developed. A racing version of it won the 500cc class at Nurburgring.

It proved so fast in races that, after Carlo Abarth was frequently beaten, he persuaded Fiat to stop supplying Steyr-Puch with chassis after just 21 were made.


Images: Steyr-Puch; Intermeccanica