Born in Turin, Italy in the last year of World War I, Virgilio Conrero served as a mechanic in the Regia Aeronautica during the next global conflict. He established the Autotecnica Conrero in 1951 and was one of the most successful Alfa Romeo and Lancia tuners (though often overshadowed by the work of Abarth) and produced a small number of Conrero-Alfas that are prized today for the performance and good looks.
His reputation led Standard-Triumph to commission his assistance to produce a four car team for the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unfortunately, only one car was produced and that single unit was not finished until 1962. With a tubular spaceframe and aerodynamic bodywork, the Triumph Conrero took full advantage of the tuned Sabrina engine – that made a reported 165bhp with a surfeit of torque – to reach almost 150 mph on the M1 motorway in England.
As so often happens with the history of Triumph, the Leyland takeover scuttled what could have been a class winning effort at Le Mans in 1962. The car, however, survives and represents another chapter in the Book of What If for British sports cars.