Update 17-08-2015: This car has now been entered into Silverstone Auctions Salon Privé Sale on the 5th September at Blenheim Palace. It now has an estimate of between £225,000 – £275,000. More details on Silverstones Auctions Salon Privé sale can be found here.
Update 10-07-2015: The Iso Grifo didn’t sell at Brooklands auction in June and has now appeared on Carandclassic.co.uk with an asking price of £275,000. More details on the listing can be found here.
Iso was an Italian sports car manufacturer founded by Renzo Rivolta in 1953. Rivolta was a refrigeration industrialist who started making scooters and microcars. He was responsible for creating the Isetta Bubblecar, perhaps the most famous of all microcars. In 1962 he stunned the crowds at the Turin Motorshow with the launch of his first luxury GT car, the Iso Rivolta IR300. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro while at Bertone it featured a small block Chevrolet V8 engine. The prototypes sleek 2+2 design and use of the American V8 proved a popular combination and ultimately lead to the launch of the Iso Grifo in 1965. The new Grifo was also designed by Giugiaro, with former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini responsible for the cars chassis design.
The stunning aluminium coachwork was draped over Bizzarrini’s tubular steel chassis and was fitted with an independent front suspension. Power was supplied by a blueprinted Chevrolet Corvette 5.4ltr V8 which produced between 300-350BHP and was mated to a four speed gearbox. In 1968 the Grifo received the big block 7ltr 427 V8 upping power output to 435BHP. The Iso Grifo was a superb combination of Italian styling coupled with Bizzarrini’s excellent suspension and the sheer grunt of the American V8.
Historics at Brooklands are offering for sale at their 6 June 2015 auction, a very rare right hand drive 1968 Iso Grifo 7 Litre. Said to be one of only four RHD 7 Litre Grifo’s built, it was displayed at Earls Court in 1968. The details state that this Grifo was acquired in 1986 without its original engine. It was subsequently fitted with a 454cu V8 which was bored out to 7.5ltrs. The rebuild was carried out by Knight Racing and dyno tests showed it producing 490BHP. A close match ratio Tremec TKO600 five-speed gearbox has also been fitted along with a specially built larger bore stainless steal exhaust.
It is said to drive well and has relentless power delivery. The red paint is said to be flawless and has an excellent deep shine. The black leather interior is described as being original. Campagnolo Elektron wheels are fitted with the correct magnesium alloy centre spinners. The listing also notes that the current owner is a recognised UK authority on Iso & Bizzarrini cars and has owned this Iso Grifo for twenty eight years. The car also won a First in Class trophy for ‘Best of Both Worlds’ in the Cartier Style et Luxe at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2004.
If there is one car that managed to successfully combine Italian styling with American muscle, it was the Iso Grifo. They are absolutely stunning cars and are even more striking in the flesh. This 7 Litre example looks fabulous in red, its engine size hinted at by the raised bonnet. It has an aggressive, muscular stance with wonderful lines and a sweeping fastback tail. The interior is classic 1960s Italian supercar with lashings of leather. Even the inner sills and the transmission tunnel are covered in leather.
As the listing states the trim is original so there is some wear evident on the drivers bolster. Apart from that the interior has a very nice patina to it. The Nardi steering wheel is a work of art and looks fabulous. The engine bay is immaculate as one would expect from a show winning car and the Chevrolet V8 is a straight forward engine with proven reliability. With 490BHP on tap, the amount of torque must be phenomenal, especially in a car with an aluminium body and near perfect weight distribution.
We also expect the engine note to be phenomenal as well, thanks to that big block V8 and the larger bore exhaust. It must sound like thunder when opened up. As bucket list cars go, this Iso Grifo is one for us. It is a model we have always adored. We love the quad headlights set into the front grill, the aggressiveness of the bonnet and its sweeping fastback lines. It is essentially the Italian Corvette. They are super rare, super gorgeous and super powerful. And with an auction estimate of £240,000 – £280,000, you’d need to be super rich to own one as well.