You might remember New York real estate mogul Peter Kalikow's name from seven years ago, when he ordered himself a custom 612 from Ferrari called Kappa. Well, back in the late sixties, he went further. Meet the Momo Mirage.
Mr Kalikow fell in love with European cars at the 1957 New York Auto Show. This led to him becoming friends with Alfred Momo of the New York Jaguar Garage, and in the sixties, they travelled to Italy together to drive around and meet people like Enzo Ferrari, Maserati owners Adolfo and Marcello Orsi and Sergio Pininfarina.
In 1967, instead of buying an (unreliable) Aston Martin DBS, he took on the bigger challenge of building a 2+2 coupe that's as fast as a Ferrari gran turismo, but also comfortable as a Rolls-Royce.
The first drawings were finished in New York by Gene Garfinkle, then the job landed in Pietro Frua's workshop in Italy, where he finished a body for the mechanics developed at race car maker Stanguellini. The car was powered by a tuned Chevy 350 ci engine with Lucas Mechincal Injection producing 225 horsepower, mated to either a five-speed manual or an automatic.
The first prototype was ready in late 1971, then presented at the New York Auto Show, where it was so well received that Peter Kalikow ordered parts for 25 units straight away. The Mirage even made it to the cover of Road & Track.
The problem was that due to disagreements on the Italian side (both Frua and Stanguellini doubled their prices), and an economic downturn in the 'States, the Momo Mirage was doomed. At this point, two cars got completed, with three additional shells waiting to get the V8 treatment.
It's unclear how many cars were finished in the end. Peter Kalikow supposedly has three in his garage. A fourth was said to be bought by General Motors, while the fifth was sold by Stanguellini in Italy and was later destroyed by fire. There's also a rumor going around about a sixth Mirage, but you will have to ask Mr. Kalikow to know for sure, and apparently, he won't enlighten you.
I say it was the early seventies, and it's all good now.