Renzo Rivolta of Italy was a successful industrialist in the Refrigeration sector, and during the post-war period of the 1950s, he ventured into motor-scooter production and then microcars. Amongst these were the Furetto, the Isoscooter, and the Isocarro. The Isetta Bubblecar was very successfully licensed to other manufacturers, most notably BMW who would build over 130,000 examples. Renzo Rivolta’s next endeavor was the luxury performance motorcar segment, introducing the 2+2 Rivolta IR300 in 1962 at the Turin Motor Show. Giotto Bizzarrini was brought on board for his engineering prowess. Having served as Ferrari’s Chief Engineer, Bizzarrini was part of the development of the renowned 250 GTO. He would later work with Lamborghini developing the V-12 of the Miura, an engine that would remain in production in some form for over four decades. Bizzarrini was hired by Iso in 1963 to provide mechanical expertise and to refine the platform and drivetrain for a new Berlinetta Coupe wearing styling courtesy of Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone. Giugiaro’s prior experience included working for design houses Ghia and Bertone, the latter of which would be contracted to build the car’s coachwork.

In 1963, the ‘Grifo A3/L’ prototype was introduced with overwhelming approval at the Turin Show. The production Iso Grifo’s that followed were powered by Chevrolet Corvette 5.4 liter engines, replaced in 1968 by a seven-liter unit. Detail modifications included a subtle bonnet scoop to accommodate the taller engine and a black band across the rear roof pillar to denote the car as a seven-liter variant. A total of 322 examples of the Series I Grifo’s were constructed prior to the design being facelifted in 1972 after which time a further 78 (Series II) Grifo’s were built. In total 90 Grifo’s were specified in seven-Litre form with the majority using left-hand-drive configuration (four had right-hand drive).

The Grifo used a Borg-Warner ‘top loader’ four-speed transmission that was also used in the Corvette, although a five-speed ZF gearbox was offered late in the series. The cars featured a De Dion rear axle with inboard brakes, a design that reduced the unsprung weight compared to a traditional live axle and is considered an excellent alternative to an independent rear suspension. The 327 cubic-inch V8 engine delivered 350 horsepower and the 427 cubic-inch V8 produced 390 horsepower.

Interior features included leather bucket seats, a leather-wrapped center console, a Nardi-Personal three-spoke, wood-rimmed steering wheel with Grifo center cap, a wood-grain dashboard with Veglia Borletti instrumentation, a Kienzle clock, and a Becker Europa II AM/FM radio. Amenities include air conditioning, power windows, and power brakes. A full-size spare can be found in the trunk.

The styling was both elegant and aggressive, with an overall height of 47-inches, quad headlights, and engine cooling grids on the wings. In short, the Rivolta story blended American reliability with Italian design and international elegance.

by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2021

Related Reading : ISO Grifo History

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In 1962, the Milan car manufacturer ISO introduced its second model, the Grifo. The first was the Rivolta. Giorgio Giugiaro of Bertone designed the body and Giotto Bizzarrini, creator of the Ferrari GTO, engineered it. The Grifo was powered by a Chevrolet 5.3 liter V8 and sat atop a shortened Rivolta platform. The engine was placed in the front and drove the rear transaxle. The Borg-Warner T4 4-speed….

Related Reading : ISO Grifo History

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Founder and head of Iso S.p.A. of Bresso, Renzo Rivolta began his business Isothermos in refrigerators before moving on to automotive design. The company is well known for its bubble cars and motorcycles, but their claim to fame lies in their performance GT car Iso Grifo. In 1960 Renzo was immensely attracted to the British Gordon GT prototype. Borrowing it for inspection Renzo also borrowed some….

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