Iso Grifo Series I

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.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo credit: Tim Scott

Gallery: Iso Grifo Series I