This year’s Monterey Car Week and all related events cast their shadows. In addition to various car shows and driving events, there are also a large number of car auctions from well-known auction houses within this week in western California. One of them is Bonhams, which in addition to many interesting classic cars and sports cars also offers some unknown exotics. Or have you ever heard about the Fina Sport Convertible before this article? If yes, you are welcome to skip the following lines. If not, we would like to tell you the story of American engineer Perry Fina and his own creations.
In 1956 he presented the Fina Sport with the words: “An exclusive car … handcrafted with exquisite care… to please the man of discriminating taste”. This presentation was preceded by several years of research and development. He acquired most of his knowledge during apprenticeships at Fiat and Isotta Fraschini. Already in the 1930s, he and his son Joe founded a car business in 54th Street in New York. They quickly gained a good reputation for their ability to upgrade cars. This they also put to the Allard cars they imported to the US, which subsequently proved to run better than from factory. Among other things they patented a special muffler system with valve control. In addition they used a 1948 Nardi-Denese, which they had converted from Alfa Romeo to Cadillac drivetrain, in several races in north eastern USA. This conversion probably led to the desire of building an own car.
Perry Fina took advantage of all the contacts and sources he had accumulated in his working life and began developing his own vehicle. It served as a motivation that in his opinion many European sports cars were indeed sporty and fast, but not good for long travels on the long US highways, as in case of a breakdown no suitable dealer or parts supplier would be available. So he created a sporty-comfortable chassis and equipped it with V8 engines from Chrysler or Cadillac, depending on customer requirements. The renowned design house Vignale from Torino/Italy was responsible for the styling of bodywork and interior of the car, that was originally only designed as a Coupé. It was shown for the very first time during the 1954 World Motor Sports Show at Madison Square Garden in New York and directly brought the Finas a Grand Prix in the Custom Sports Car category.
Two years later followed a Convertible version, which debuted at Autorama in Philadelphia. There, the car promptly won the Concours d’Elegance. Despite these neat successes, the Fina Sport never went into larger production. Why not can’t be said for sure today, maybe its base price of at least 14,000 US$ deterred interested customers. The fact is, however, that only one Coupé and two Convertibles and only the car in our gallery that will be auctioned by Bonhams is known in restored state until today. Next to the vehicle, its next owner will receive the trophy from New York 1954 as well as the trophy from Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance in 1956, which was won by this very car. In addition there are various historical photos and pictures from its extensive restoration that took approximately 1,000 hours. Bonhams expects a hammer price between 750,000 and 950,000 US$.