1967 Iso Grifo Coupe

This Grifo may not seem expensive for long. Euro-Americans are the
ultimate street rod, and already great performance can easily be improved

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Renzo Rivolta started building Isothermos refrigerators before World War II. Following the war, Rivolta recognized another Italian need, transportation, and named his new car company Iso Rivolta. Starting with scooters, he expanded to Isetta bubble cars, later licensed to BMW. With the proceeds of the BMW deal and continuing refrigerator sales, Rivolta, like many Italian industrialists, resolved to build a GT car. The Iso Rivolta, a Bertone-styled four-seat coupe, appeared in 1962 at the Turin motor show, and was built at a new plant near Milan. A sportier two-seat Grifo was sold from 1965 to 1974.

Rivolta relied upon American engines to give his cars exceptional performance and great reliability. The Grifo had the Corvette small-block V8 engine and gearbox and a competent chassis designed by one of Italy’s greatest automotive engineers, Ferrari GTO designer Bizzarrini. It was all packaged under a svelte Bertone body by Giorgio Giugiaro. According to Motor Trend, Bertone referred to the Iso Grifo coupe as his masterpiece. With a height of less than 48 inches, an aggressive design, alloy wheels, and details such as engine cooling grids on the fenders, the Grifo’s design was impressive.

Although it was twice the price of a Corvette, it was lighter and more sophisticated. The lightweight pressed steel unitary body and chassis had four-wheel disc brakes, a deDion rear axle with inboard-mounted brakes, and coil spring suspension. The 327-ci V8 with high compression heads produced 350 hp by 1967. With a top speed of over 165 mph, the Iso Grifo was capable of the same tremendous performance as its Ferrari competition.

This 1967 Iso Grifo Coupe has the 350 hp Corvette Turbofire V8. Sig. Prevosti, who bought the car around 1988, had it restored to concours standards during the late ’90s by Salvatore Diomante, who was heavily involved in building the A3/C and Bizzarrini competition cars at the factory. The body is straight, and the paint looks fresh and is free of imperfections, as is the chrome. The tan leather interior was fully restored and still shows no signs of wear. Every component is as-new and period-correct, from the instrumentation to the radio. The engine bay is detailed and indicates that this car has covered very few miles since restoration. During a recent test drive, the car started readily and idled smoothly.

For many enthusiasts, the Iso Grifo represents the best of both worlds-Italian styling combined with the performance and low maintenance costs of an American V8.

(Introductory description courtesy of RM.)

John Apen

John Apen - SCM Contributor

John holds degrees in engineering and operations research from the University of California-Berkeley, New York University, and Johns Hopkins. He vintage raced a Ferrari TdF for 13 years and has been restoring old cars for nearly 50 years. He owned the Atlanta Ferrari-Maserati dealership, FAF, for 17 years. He’s always had an affinity for obscure American cars, and in high school, he drove a 1936 Packard convertible coupe, followed by a 1949 Olds Holiday hardtop that got him through college. Today his garage includes 11 cars, including a Top Flight 1960 Corvette he’s owned since day one, a 1957 T-Bird, and several vintage Ferraris. His automotive library contains over 5,000 magazines and books and 1,800 auction catalogs. He has contributed to SCM since 1996.

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