Tranquil collecting: Coffaro Wheels IKA Torino 380

Tranquil collecting. It’s a Lamley mission statement, so what does it mean to you? For me it’s about geeking out, finding the most unique and interesting models I can, finding diecast souvenirs when I’m on my travels, restoring and cleaning old models, and meeting and communicating with great and like-minded folk along the way. Today we’re looking at a model that for me is almost the peak tranquil collecting experience: it’s unique, it’s rare, it’s fabulous and it’s been great to communicate with the seller. That seller is a super friendly by the name of Dario Coffaro. He creates 1:64 resin replicas of some of Argentina’s most synonymous vehicles, and this is one of his masterpieces: the IKA Torino.

IKA are pretty much unheard of outside South America. In the early 1950s, America’s Kaiser company had been effectively forced out of the US market by the “Detroit Big Three” of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. At the same time the Argentine government were looking for brands interested in building cars in the country. Kaiser’s situation made them a perfect candidate and in 1955 the company signed a deal to move its entire production lines to the city of Santa Isabel in Córdoba Province. Initially building Jeep and Kaiser models under license, the company grew steadily and an agreement was signed in 1959 with Renault of France to locally produce the Dauphine model.

An alliance with AMC began in 1962 to build Rambler models and by 1965 the company was Argentina’s biggest autombile manufacturer, producing 28% of total vehicle production with over 8500 employees. And it’s from the Rambler that the Torino grew. In the early 1960s IKA were looking to create a car specifically for the Argentine market; a vehicle that combined American reliability with European style. They took a 1965 Rambler American to none other than Pininfarina to work on the design.

IKA staff with a mock up of the reworked Rambler body that would become the Torino (image: from the book “El Torino” by Franco Cipolla via Dario Coffaro)

What they came up with largely kept the Rambler shape but featured a totally new front and rear end. The Torino debuted in 1966 and became an instant domestic success not just in the showroom but also on the racetrack. Competition prepared cars were even taken to Europe, competing and holding their own in such grueling races as the 1969 Maraton de la Route and the monster Nurburgring 84 Hour race. Renault took over IKA in 1970 and production of the Torino line continued until 1981. But rather amazingly the Torino still lives on, albeit in barely recognisable silhouette form in Argentina’s Turismo Carretera race series.

As far as 1:64 Torinos go… well. There are none. In diecast at least. Coffaro’s miniatures are resin, which gives Dario a lot more room to craft unique models that mainstream brands wouldn’t entertain. And in my eyes this is a superb creation.

The classic Torino looks are replicated very well and the detail is brilliant for what is pretty much a hand made model. There’s a wooden rimmed chrome steering wheel visible through the windows as well as some painted interior details.

The paint is good and small items like the badges on the rear, the chrome window surrounds and door handles have been picked out.

It rides (it rolls) on some very cool slotted chrome wheels (from Coffaro’s 1:64 aftermarket line) shod in rubber tyres, and the overall stance gives it a somewhat Pro Street look which I’m a big fan of.

It’s a real testament to just how deep this hobby goes and if you know me by now you’ll know I’m keen to go as deep as I can! Talking to Dario has also been a real pleasure, he even sent me info and pictures to help with this article. This is the hobby at its finest, and tranquil collecting at its best.

Instagram: @alex_the_hoarder


(Visit Coffaro Wheels on Instagram to see just what Dario is capable of and find links to the Coffaro shop. Click here to search IKA Torino diecast in other scales on Ebay)

One Reply to “Tranquil collecting: Coffaro Wheels IKA Torino 380”

  1. Tranquil collecting….. I have borrowed your words lately trying to explain what drives my joy found in searching for played with old models.
    Still new to collecting, I thank you for helping this retired car guy with bits of die cast history.
    The same die cast history that stoked the fascination of cars in my mind as a youth.
    Good stuff, great fun!

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