Venisi Motor Company ~ Part 1: For the People
The Venisi Motor Company, commonly shortened to simply Venesi, was founded in late 1963 by Italian Antionio Venisi as an attempt to give consumers the sophisticated British sports cars they wanted at a reasonable price. Their initial slogan was, ‘Refined performance’.
Their debut car, the Tracer, came with a 3.5 liter V8 producing 165 HP and 177 lb-ft of torque which, combined with the cars relatively light weight of 2668 lb, made for respectable performance, with a top speed of 130 mph and a 0-60 time of 9.1 seconds. Critics praised the Tracer’s reliability, but criticized the lack of styling effort and comfort.
“With suspension that feels as if it came from an old bus, the '63 Tracer is a great concept that appears to have been rushed.” -Motor Trend, from an article about the 1963 Venisi Tracer
The Tracer was priced at $1,230 , which was a good deal. However, due to the low price, Venesi was losing money-fast. In 1964, they upped the price of the Tracer to $1,375, which caused the company to lose buyers. The Tracer was axed in October of 1964.
The next year, Venisi launched it’s second car, the Prestige. The Prestige was aimed at familys who wanted to get around in style and comfort. Unsurprisingly, ads for the car used the slogan, ‘Stylish comfort’. The 1965 Prestige was priced at $980 and featured MacPhearson struts up front and a torsion beam in rear. Powering the '65 Prestige was a 2 litre inline 4 engine producing 101 HP and 107 ft-lb of torque channeled to a 3-speed manual transmission.
The Prestige was Venisi’s only model up until 1970, and it sold quite well. With the introduction of such muscle cars as the Mustang, Charger, Challenger, and Barracuda, Venisi released the 1970 Predator. The Predator was powered by a freshly designed, cast-iron block, 4.7 litre V8. producing 193 HP and 202 ft-lb of torque. The Predator was no lightweight, coming in at 3215 lb. It also managed an average(for the time) 12.6 MPG and only costed $1,950.