London | Lot 233
1967 Iso Grifo GL 300 by Bertone
£156,800 GBP | Sold
| London, United Kingdom
9 September 2013
- Offered from the collection of a gentleman
- A rare, limited production Italian-American sports car
- One of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s earliest automotive designs
300 bhp, 327 cu. in. Chevrolet V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, de Dion rear axle with longitudinal and transverse links and coil springs, and front and rear disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,500 mm
Hailing from humble origins, the Iso name itself is derived from the Isothermos refrigerators built by Renzo Rivolta prior to World War II. After the war, Rivolta transitioned to building scooters and, eventually, the Isetta bubble car, which was later licensed by BMW. Like many manufacturers at the time, Rivolta dreamed of building a grand touring car, and he produced the Iso Rivolta in 1962. In 1963, a sportier and more powerful descendant of the Rivolta, the Grifo, was introduced, and customer deliveries began in 1965.
Sitting low and wide on the road, the Grifo has a menacing stance. Giorgetto Giugiaro, of Bertone, was responsible for crafting its design, and he later went on to design both the Maserati Ghibli and BMW M1. Combining many great aspects of both Italian and American design, it looked both sensual and powerful at the same time. Like any other European GT car of its day, the interior is luxurious and features the finest wood and leather accoutrements.
To back up its mean demeanour, the body needed a serious engine to support its looks, and in this case, there was simply no replacement for American displacement. The Iso Grifo was offered with a variety of Chevrolet V-8s, including the 327-, 427-, and 454-cubic inch small block engines. Later in the car’s life, a Ford 351 “Cleveland” motor was made available. Adding another great Italian name to the Grifo’s résumé was Giotto Bizzarrini, who designed the chassis, and who was also the designer of Ferrari’s 250 GTO. With such fantastic engineering, there was no doubt that this car could hold its own against some of the best sports cars in the world.
The 1969 Iso Grifo GL offered today features Chevrolet’s famed 327-cubic inch V-8, which puts out 300 horsepower. The car’s silver finish accentuates its distinctive Bertone lines, and the black leather interior presents nicely, showing wear commensurate with the car’s age. The elegant wood-trimmed instrument panel remains in good condition, as does the sporty three-spoke, wood-rimmed steering wheel. This example comes to the sale from a sizable collection of collector cars, where it was kept in good company.
The Iso Grifo is a car that combines some of the automotive world’s best engineering ingenuity with beautiful lines that are distinctive to their Italian creators and horsepower and torque that only the United States could deliver. With only 471 built within an 11-year production run, they are indeed few and far between. Any chance to purchase an Iso Grifo is truly a rare occasion.