London | Lot 123
1966 Iso Grifo Series I
£128,800 GBP | Sold
| London, United Kingdom
31 October 2012
Est. 425 hp, 327 cu. in. overhead valve small-block Chevrolet V-8 engine with Holley carburettor, Super T10 Shakespeare gearbox, independent front suspension with adjustable Koni struts and Bizzarrini coil springs, de Dion rear axle with adjustable Koni struts and Bizzarrini coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4 in.
• One of 471 Grifos built
• Road legal racing car with HSCC papers
• Extensive performance modifications and upgrades
The Iso name is derived from the Isothermos refrigerators that Renzo Rivolta started building before World War II. Following the war, Rivolta recognized another Italian consumer need: transportation. Starting with scooters, Rivolta quickly expanded to the Isetta bubble-cars, later licensed to BMW. With the proceeds of the BMW-Isetta deal and continuing refrigerator sales, Rivolta, like many Italian industrialists, resolved to build a proper grand touring car. The Iso Rivolta, a Bertone-styled four-seat coupé, appeared in 1962 at the Turin Motor Show. A sportier two-seat Grifo arrived the following year and went on sale in 1965.
Rivolta relied upon American engines to give his cars both exceptional performance and great reliability. The Grifo had all the elements of success: the perfected Chevy small-block V-8 engine, a competent chassis designed by one of Italy’s greatest automotive engineers and designers, Giotto Bizzarrini, and a svelte Bertone body designed by Giorgio Giugiaro. According to Motor Trend, Bertone referred to the production Iso Grifo coupé as his masterpiece. With a height of less than 47¼-inches, an aggressive quad-headlight design, and sporty styling details, such as engine cooling grids on the wings, the Grifo’s design was certainly very impressive. Only 471 were ever produced, over a healthy production run that lasted until 1974.
The 1966 Grifo offered here was originally delivered to Signor Guffanti in Italy, finished in bronze with a cream leather interior. Factory fitted with the rarer and more powerful 350 brake-horsepower engine, it was soon imported into the UK in 1968. Its first UK owner was the well-known Airship designer at Aerospace Developments, Mr Roger Munk. He retained the Grifo until 1981, and during that time, he had a Series II nose fitted at the Iso factory in Italy. It passed through two additional owners until the Grifo came into the possession of Mr Charles Fripp. He went about converting the already capable grand tourer into more of a racing car that was appropriately documented, including its factory build sheets as well as up-to-date HSCC papers.
The list of upgrades and modifications to this stunning ’66 Grifo is extensive. In short, it has a new 350 engine built by Martin Saville at RPM Motors, which boasts an impressive 425 horsepower. The original transmission was replaced with a Super T10 Shakespeare unit and is mated to a new double-plate racing clutch. All four corners of the braking system have been upgraded and include larger callipers, braided lines, and competition pads. Furthermore, the suspension has been paid equal attention, with upgraded shocks, springs, and sway bars. No part of the car has been overlooked, and it is recommended to consult an RM specialist for further details.
Finished in gunmetal with a blue hide semi-race interior, this 1967 Iso Grifo remains a fully road legal car that doubles as an ideal track machine. Having competed in the 2011 Silverstone Classic, it is clearly at home on either road or track, and it would make for an excellent entry into such events as the Tour Auto. This very rare and formidable performer represents the best of both worlds: sexy Italian styling combined with the performance and reliability of an American V-8 engine.