The IKA Torino: AMC Should Have Imported This Car

One of my favorite cars is a car that I have never seen in the flesh.  And I might never see it.  You see this car was a special Argentine only car – the Torino.  In the 1960s Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) decided to take an American Motors Corporation car, the Rambler American, and blend in some styling modifications by Pinin Farina.  The engine was an inline 6-cylinder engine that had been originally designed for Willys.  The result of all of this was the IKA Torino shown below.

Torino (1)

The IKA Torino

The images in this post come from Volume 1, No. 2 of “Classic Wheels” in 2009, an Argentine car enthusiast magazine that unfortunately might no longer exist.  I have a couple of issues of this magazine and found it very informative about classic cars in that car crazy country, home of Fangio and numerous other top race car drivers.

People who might have read posts on this website before might recall that I have said several times that I don’t know why American Motors wasted time and money on the AMC Scrambler, which was the “muscle car” version of the Rambler American.  They should have contacted IKA and made a deal to import the Torino into the USA instead.  AMC was never going to have a car that was faster than a Camaro, Mustang, or Barracuda, so why did they decide to play “the big three” power game when they could have brought in a car that would have created its own niche?

Torino (5)

The IKA Torino Was Very Stylish

The Torino was manufactured from 1966 to 1981.  During these years, IKA was purchased by Renault.  The Torino car shown in this post in a 1972 model.  There were many modifications to the Torino over the years, mostly to the engines and under carriage.

The interior of the Torino is quite tasteful and similar to many high-priced European cars of that era.  The Torino was fitted with a 4-speed manual transmission with a floor shifter.

Torino (2)

The Torino Interior Was Inviting

The instrument panel has a look to it that is similar to British sports cars, such as the Triumph TR4.

Torino (3)

The Instrumental Panel Has No Idiot Lights

The Torino had the “Tornado” 3,800cc inline 6-cylinder engine that was fitted with an overhead camshaft.  The engine developed 160 horsepower at 4,300 rpm.  Apparently some versions of the Torino had engines that developed over 200 horsepower.

Torino (4)

Many Of The Torinos Were Fitted With 3,800cc Six-Cylinder OHC Engines

Not surprisingly Torinos are popular with car enthusiasts in South America.  In the day, Torinos set endurance records at the famous Nurburgring track.  Nowadays Torinos can often be found competing in rallies in South America.

fit (3)

A Torino Competing In The 19 Capitales Historico In Uruguay

AMC came close to having a Torino-like car as shown by the Rambler Rogue below.  However, as I have said AMC should just have imported the Torino and put an AMC badge on it, just the way Pontiac brought in the Australian Holden Monaro performance car and badged it as a Pontiac GTO.

Rambler Rogue 290V8 1967 (5)

This Rambler Rogue Looks Similar To The IKA Torino

The Rambler Rogue interior also had a look similar to the Torino.

Rambler Rogue 290V8 1967 (4)

The Rambler Rogue Interior Falls Short Of The Torino Interior

If I had some additional cash lying around, then I would give some consideration to importing one of these Torino cars myself.  Probably some people have, but I doubt that many Torinos have found their way into the USA.  That is what AMC should have done.

If you have any comments or questions on this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot com

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18 Responses to The IKA Torino: AMC Should Have Imported This Car

  1. Larry Daum says:

    AMC made a deal with IKA for the old AMC tooling from 1962 to 1965, as the old Kaiser car tooling wore out. The 1964/1965 version of the Rambler American was the most popular of the cars built with this tooling in Argentina. About 100,000 were built from around 1967 up until 1980. The car got a major face lift from Pininfarina if I recall correctly. Plus the Argentinians added a good bit of luxury touches to the car. The car used the mostly unloved Kaiser Jeep OHC six cylinder engine from mid-60’s Jeeps which worked poorly here with the Jeeps ,but was fixed there with a little effort. The leather seating and the ZF 4 speed manual trans mission is a nice touch along with the redone dash. IKA spent much more time building each car at much lower volume then AMC ever did and the effort turned out very well , but it was OLD tooling for an old Car In the US. There are reportedly about a good half dozen plus of these cars in the US. A white one some where on the east coast. Two in Phoenix , Arizona by the same owner , a silver and a blue one , and a Red one in Las Vegas, NV. I’ve talked to people trying to get some of the odd dog cars like this out of South America and you have an easier time snuggling drugs out of South American then getting one of these cars out of the Country! The Argentinians consider then National treasures and only people from Argentina have ever been able to get one of these car out of Argentina . Thanks, Larry R. Daum AMC and Nash Historian

  2. Juan Cruz says:

    Im from Argentina and these Cars arent expensive at all, and they race on the famous tourism competition of Argentina called “turismo carretera”

  3. Juan Ignacio Brown says:

    Hi, im from Argentina. If you are intrested in a Torino send me an email. Thanks

  4. cesarelmasgrande says:

    excelente articulo
    solo te acotaría q existía efectivamente una version de fabrica llamada torino tc con 240 hp

  5. Juan pablo says:

    Hola Mírate en YouTube ( la mision Argentina )
    Ahi esta toda la historia de la carrera en Alemania . 😊

  6. damian says:

    Im from rosario, argentine . I ve a 1975 torino, great great car, love it , there is a version 370w and gs with 3 weber carburators that runs faster than the wind..

  7. Hi Steve!
    Thank you for your words. We love this car.
    Here, in Argentina, some people says Ford and Chevrolet are like Red Sox and Yankees, but Torino is like the national team!
    Greetings from the south of our continent!

  8. Hi, here in Argentina we have a Rambler too, made by IKA, its used tu have the same front and back of the American but with 4 doors, is really a pretty car and is the Torino´s brother. Look up for it, they have the same engine too, the IKA Tornado engine, 3.7 Lts, with 4 engine mounts.

  9. Gustavo Udry says:

    En 2015 escribí un libro sobre la historia del Torino y su logros deportivos, “La ultima hazaña de Fangio, los Torino en Nurburgring”, estoy seguro que te gustará.

  10. Gustavo Udry says:

  11. Dear Steve: thanks for your loving article about the IKA Torino, of the -if not THE- most iconic argentine cars ever. Just as well, you should take a look at other of our “mad”, old cars, such as the Ford Falcon Sprint, Chevrolet Chevy Serie 2 and “Chevron” SS (a Chevy Nova with a twist), Crespi Tulia GT (a Torino with a completely new bodywork), Torino Lutheral (another special on the Torino) and the most rare, because its body was only ever made in Argentina: the Dodge GTX and RT siblings. While these were based on the underpinnings of the american Dodge Dart (1968-1974), right down to its 318 c.i. V8 engine, it had a completely different look, resembling some sort of a scale-down ’68/’70 Charger. The car has enamoured no other than Mr. Chip Foose, who bought and imported one to the U.S. a couple years ago. Besides all of our straight sixes “muscle cars”, there were also very special, “tiny-for-the-U.S.” cars, such as the uniques Fiat’s 1500, 1600 and 125 Coupe, all of them exclusive to Argentina. Also the Fiat 128 IAVA, 133 IAVA, 147 Sorpasso; the Dodge 1500 (our own version of the Hilman Avenger/Plymouth Crickett) GT90 and GT100, the Peugeot 504 TN, Ford Taunus GT/SP and SP5 (both favourites of mine), Renault 12 Alpine and many more “sons” of the ’70s, with bright colours and warmed-up engines and suspensions. We had a blend of European and American style cars back then, before globalization and economies of scale turned us into just another country full of the same Focuses and Fiestas, Clios and the likes. Thank God, we still have pick-up trucks, which at least have some old-world touches left in them, though rapidly diminishing. Argentina was always a mess of a country, and still is, but we had a proud and distinctly unique run of cars and trucks from the late 1950s (how about a “Bergantin”, basically a 1950s Alfa Romeo with a Jeep engine sounds?) to the late 1980s, thirty years in which our cars, as well as our brazilian neighbours’, were different and interesting. Well, thanks again for your blog. Take care! Love, Adriana; Mendoza, Argentina

  12. Pablito GR says:

    Hi Steve.

    You can find all models of Torino, y our forum

    You’re welcome to join in!


  13. Sergio says:

    I just finished reading “The IKA Story,” by James McCloud. He was the Kaiser Industries manager who built and ran IKA in Argentina, and was in charge when the Torino was created and introduced, before IKA was acquired by Renault. He tells the Torino story from the inside. It’s a great read. I highly recommend it. Regarding AMC, I think the author answers his on question: AMC may have passed on the opportunity to import the Torino into the US because it’s an Argentine creation based on Italian styling, and therefore would probably have had a small niche market in the US.

  14. Sergio says:

    Hi Steve, I’m in sunny Arizona and I have 3 Torinos. … 67 , 69 and 82

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