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Intermeccanica, the Story of the Prancing Bull
By Andrew McCredie & Paula Reisner
Published by Veloce Publishing at £40
Hardback - 192 Pages - 250 x 250mm
'Intermeccanica, the Story of the Prancing Bull'
This fascinating book, published in February 2010 by Veloce Publishing, tells the story of Frank Reisner who emigrated from a war torn Hungary to Canada in 1950 and established the Intermeccanica marque in Turin in 1959.
This is an interesting read, detailing iconic automotive designs like the Apollo, the Griffith, the Omega, the Veltro Titania, the Phoenix, and the Italia - but most Speedster enthusiasts will be drawn to the part of the book that covers Frank's move to California to produce the Ford powered Indra and how he came to produce a replica of the 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster.
The book describes how Reisner began a partnership in 1975 with Tony Baumgartner to produce Speedster replicas. Reisner used a real '57 Speedster for his moulds, interior design and dimensions and by 1977 they had sold over 200 replicas with an excellent reception from the motoring press. However by 1979 after producing over 600 Speedsters the book tells how the two partners decided to go their separate ways.
When the Reisner family moved back to Vancouver in 1982 Frank found a group of investors to back his project to produce a 356 Convertible D replica which he called the Roadster RS and the car was developed in the 80s with a steel box frame rather than using VW derived floor pans. Frank was selling around 30 cars a year and continuing to refine the design so that by the early 90s the Roadster S was probably one of the best 356 replicas available.
At this time Frank and his son Henry developed a Porsche Type 62 Kubelwagen replica alongside the Roadster S and Speedster and the book tells how international sales continued to prosper even after Frank's death in 2001.
The latter part of the book has some excellent photos of Speedster replica production and of Speedster rallies and gatherings. This is an inspiring book and I certainly aspire to owning one of Frank's creations - especially one of his Speedsters with 911 engine and running gear!
John Mercer March 2010