Renzo Rivolta, the engineer behind Iso, got his start by manufacturing refrigerators in 1939. Hence the name Iso, deriving from the name "Isothermos." Eventually the company moved onto motorcycle and scooter production, followed by microcars such as the Isetta, which was licensed by BMW. With the help from Giotto Bizzarrini, Rivolta went about creating his first attempt at a sports cars, powered by a 327 cubic inch V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette. Called the Rivolta, this car was achingly beautiful, having been designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro during his stint at Bertone.
The follow on to the Rivolta was the Grifo, built on a modified Rivolta chassis and powered by the same small block Chevrolet engine. Later on in the production run, the small block engine gave way to the big block Chevrolet 454 engine. With a fastback body and engine pushed rearward into the cabin, this car has a much more hunkered down versus the Rivolta, which was more of a luxury coupe. For sale in New York, this Grifo comes with an interesting history and a few modern updates.
Ruby Red with Tan leather interior, 5 miles since restorations, ZF 5-speed transmission and air conditioning. This 7.0 Liter Grifo, “The Ennezeta” is believed to be the last Grifo remaining on the assembly line when the factory closed in 1974. It is well known in Iso Owner’s Club circles. It was completed sometime thereafter by a well known fabrication firm, Ennezeta, established by several former Iso employees. The car was VIN number (223225). Beyond the unique history, the car incorporates several distinct characteristics from other Grifos, these include a lower profile hood than big-block Grifo’s and lower valance panels including rear brake cooling ducts. Combined with the vibrant color set off by the brushed aluminum trim, the car has tremendous presence. The car was honored most recently as part of Quail Lodge’s 50 Anniversary commemoration of Iso automobiles.
The car is well known to Autosport Designs where the car was purchased in 2003 by its present owner. The present owner undertook a number of upgrades completed by Autosport Designs to make it well suited for long distance touring. These included the addition of a stereo and trunk-mounted CD changer with the controller discretely placed in the ashtray and rear speakers placed in leather trimmed enclosures beneath the rear parcel shelf, electronic ignition and a Richmond six speed transmission. The original ZF 5-speed is included with the car. Price: $265,000.
This Grifo is in good shape, but I'm not exactly certain why the seller has this advertised as a 1967. This car is being described as one of the last Grifos to emerge from the factory, in addition to having the later big block engine. I'm guessing this is probably a 1974 model, given that was the last year of Grifo production. However, with the earlier front end styling, it could be an earlier production model with later updates. Whatever this car might be, there are questions that need to be answered.
The market for Grifos ranges roughly from $150,000 to $250,000. Given the unique history of this car, I'm surprised the owner made so many modifications, even if it makes the car more drivable. At least the original ZF transmission is included. It's not surprising the asking price is well over $200,000, but whether an exotic with an obscure badge will command the asking price remains to be seen.