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12 American Cars With European Designs You Probably Didn’t Know

Vukasin HerbezNovember 11, 2018

  1. Chevrolet Corvette Rondine

Back in 1963, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray stunned the global automotive audience with its fantastic design, sharp edges, split window feature and brutal performance. It was the epitome of an American sports car at its finest. However, in Turin, Italy, the talented designers at Pininfarina thought they could do better. So, in cooperation with Chevrolet, they got the chance to prove themselves.

The result was the Corvette Rondine, a fully operational and usable concept car from 1963 that debuted at the Paris Motor Show. Since Chevy commissioned the car, it graced the General Motors stand. They equipped it with a 327/360 V8 engine, four-speed manual and disc brakes. Despite the pleas for production, this gorgeous car remained one of the most beautiful American cars with an Italian design.

  1. Cunningham C-3 Vignale

Briggs Cunningham was a world known entrepreneur, racer and constructor who introduced American cars to the European sports car scene in the 1950s. His dream was to build a racing car that would dominate both sides of the ocean. And he wanted to win the Le Mans with an all-American machine, drivers and crew. So, from 1952 to 1955, Cunningham entered the Le Mans race with several cars of his own design.

However, in the same period, he produced a road-going sports car in form of the beautiful Cunningham C-3. The C-3 was a two-door coupe or convertible Cunningham produced in his West Palm Beach facility. It used the Cunningham C-2 R racing chassis they converted for street use. Vignale in Italy designed and produced the body. Under the hood was Chrysler`s 331 Hemi engine, which they tuned to produce 300 HP.

The C-3 was a luxury sports car that could easily rival any Ferrari or Maserati. However, it was also expensive with prices close to the Rolls-Royce of the day. That is why Cunningham produced only 25 cars, 20 coupes and five convertibles, all of which still exist today.

  1. Apollo 3500 GT

This car falls under several names, including the Vetta Ventura and Griffith GT. But the project started as the Apollo 3500. It was the brainchild of the Californian engineer, Milt Brown. He wanted to build a proper sports car to rival those European exotics. With the help of the Italian company, Intermeccanica, the Apollo project took shape in the form of a handsome coupe with a 3.5-liter Buick V8.

They later moved the production to Texas and renamed the Vetta Ventura, but the car stayed basically the same. The bodies were shaped in Italy and then sent to America. However, it got an upgraded engine in the form of the 4.9-liter Buick V8. Production started in 1962 and lasted until 1965. However, some reports say they completed the last examples in the early `70s. In the end, they only built 90 cars.

Although the Apollo 3500 was a proper sports car with 240 HP from its V8 engine and a light weight, it was a capable coupe with great perspective. But, the production problems, high price and the unknown company became too big of a problem to overcome.

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