In 1959 Innocenti signed a licence agreement with BMC to manufacture their version of the Austin 40.
Alongside this Innocenti had ideas to make a small sports car, the same size as an Austin Healy Sprite MkI, but they didn't believe the 'unique' looks of the Frogeye would appeal strongly enough to the Italian market.
So in order to get around this Carrozzeria Ghia was commissioned to design a completely new body design to integrate with the Sprite MkI platform.
Designing the Innocenti 950 was the first complete car project for Tom Tjaarda who had just started at Ghia. The car was then to be manufactured by OSI in Turin, a company which had been set up in 1959 by Ghia with backing from Olivetti and involvement from Innocenti.
The Innocenti 950 was launched at the November 1960 Turin show, but series production only began in 1961.
A total of 4,790 Spiders (950’s) were manufactured up until February 1963, when the Innocenti 'S' was introduced with an 1100cc engine, disc brakes and revised rear suspension. Just over 2,000 Innocenti 'S' Spiders were produced between February '63 and February '65........making a total Spider production figure of 6,864 in four years.
The 950 Spider here, registered in the UK as WSJ 750, dates from 1961 and is the earliest of four examples currently in the UK.
This car is featured in numerous books and magazine articles including Classic Cars, Auto Italia, Classics Monthly, The Austin Healey by Bill Emerson ( with registration number CYB 677), and Austin Healey - the British Bulldog by Jon Pressnell.
It is well known on the Italian car concours circuit and has won a number of concours d’élégance competitions.
In 2010 the car was invited to be one of the entrants at the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elégance at Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it came 2nd in the “Soft Top Sophistication” class.
In 2012, WSJ 750 was invited to take part in the Concours d’Elégance at Salon Privé, Syon Park, London. It was chosen to parade winning entrant in the Boodles’ sponsored Best Dressed Lady competition on Ladies Day.