Before we examine the 926R, let’s first look at how the relationship between Daihatsu and De Tomaso came about.
Nuove Innocenti was a well established Italian car maker who was taken over by British Leyland in 1972. From 1974 the company was now known as Leyland Innocenti and produced the Innocenti Mini, a Leyland Mini chassis and engine with a body styled by Bertone. Innocenti only lasted a year under Leyland until it was taken over again, this time by De Tomaso. The Innocenti Mini continued to be produced and by 1976 had been completely updated with plastic bumpers and larger engines and was then known simply as the Innocenti De Tomaso. The Innocenti De Tomaso proved quite a popular car and was to be manufactured without any other changes until 1982. At this point (due to ongoing supply problems with Leyland) De Tomaso looked around for a new engine supplier and eventually the original Mini chassis and engines were swapped in favour of the G11 Daihatsu Charade chassis and engines, including the CB60 SOHC 3 cylinder turbo. You could say the Innocenti Turbo De Tomaso was an excellent combination of Japanese technical knowhow with Italian ‘hot hatch’ style.