Affordable Classic: 1984 Innocenti Minitre SE – Reboot with a Smaller Size

For various reasons the 1961 Pontiac Laurentian has now moved on to a new home so the next iteration of the Affordable Classic series needs a fresh, new subject. This time around I choose to jump right off the deep end with this 1984 Innocenti Minitre SE. In this segment we take a look at the car in as delivered condition before moving to repairs and history in subsequent segments.

Jim Klein gets a shout out for being the first one to correctly guess this very tough clue. I think my leaf spring (singular!) clue threw off a few guesses. The rear suspension has a single transverse leaf spring in it for the record.

One day I will buy a car that does not come home on a trailer but today is not that day. The seller was good enough to deliver it for me as part of the deal which was fantastic as it has become a real challenge to rent car hauler trailers locally. Speaking of challenges the Innocenti is so narrow there was no tolerance for error in unloading down the trailer ramps. My eldest boy got the nod for steering duties while the seller and I guided and pushed.

I took a bit of a gamble as seeing it on the trailer at my house was the first time I really got a decent look at the car since it was stored in the seller’s Seacan. First impressions were that the body was almost completely rust free and very solid.

The seller had also a low mileage De Tomaso turbo version in front as well as a large cache of spares parts.

Still in the Seacan the engine looked complete but dusty. A very old and dead battery was close to the size the engine block. This is the non-turbo variant.

The wheels were originally steel but replaced at some point with ones from the turbo variant so they are TRX wheels and tires. The seller has a good set of tires for me which is fortunate as replacements are tough to find.

The seller has a large collection of classic cars including this 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire.

Yes, it has the trick roof.

Part of the problem with the Pontiac was it was so big it did not really fit well into the new house’s garage especially when trying to work on it. The small size of the Innocenti allows for plenty of room to work around it. The hood will need a bit of paint work.

I love the (perceived?) cost savings of the single reverse light. Does not do much for styling symmetry though.

The interior was pretty clean although missing a few small items like ashtray, cigarette lighter and radio blanking plate.

The gear shifter knob is interesting and was featured in a Guess that Shifter by Car & Driver a number of years ago. According to that link Car & Driver tested the Innocenti in the March of 1985 issue. I would love to see a scan of that test if anyone has it.

The gauges are different but more conventional than the turbo model.

The engine (a Daihatsu three cylinder) could use a bit of clean and assessment before attempting to start.

Well that is it for now but I will share more as I learn about this car in the next several weeks. Hopefully I will be able to get this rare and affordable classic back on the road before long.