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1970 Iso Grifo oozes Italian flare of a forgotten era

Rare 1 of 14 Targa top series 1

The Iso Grifo automobile emerged from the visionary collaboration between engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and entrepreneur Renzo Rivolta. Its inception in 1963 marked the establishment of Iso Automobili S.p.A., laying the foundation for a remarkable automotive legacy. Giotto Bizzarrini, renowned for his work with Ferrari, played a pivotal role in its development. Renzo Rivolta, the mind behind Iso Automobili, sought to diversify his company’s portfolio, transitioning from refrigerators to automobiles. Their partnership bore fruit in the form of the ISO Grifo, a marriage of performance and style.

A creation of the minds

Development of the Grifo began in 1963 via a reprise of the partnership between Iso, Giotto Bizzarrini, and Giorgetto Giugiaro that had produced the Iso Rivolta IR 300 earlier in the decade. Following a split between Iso and Bizzarrini, the Grifo GL fastback coupe entered production in 1965 and was joined in late 1966 by a Targa variant that featured two removable roof panels provided by Carrozzeria Pavesi. Only 14 of 330 Series I Grifos and four of the 83 Series II cars were manufactured in Targa configuration.

Chassis Highlights

  • Ser # GL020314
  • Series I Targa
  • 70k Kilometers (~43k Miles) Shown, TMU
  • 350ci Chevrolet V8
  • Four-Barrel Carburetor
  • ZF Five-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Limited-Slip Differential
  • Dark Blue Metallic Paint
  • Gray Leather Upholstery
  • 15″ Borrani Wire Wheels
  • Four-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • De Dion Rear Axle
  • Independent Front Suspension
  • Air Conditioning
  • Electric Power Steering
  • Aluminum Radiator
  • Dual Electric Cooling Fans
  • Copy of Factory Build Sheet

Unique styling

Originally finished in silver, this example was refinished in its current shade of dark blue metallic in the 1980s. Bodywork is constructed of steel with an aluminum hood and features a panoramic glass rear window, a raked windshield, louvered vents rearward of each wheel, open quad headlights, and a driver-side mirror.

Borrani wire wheels are secured by octagonal knock-offs and were mounted with 215/70VR15 Michelin XWX tires in 2023, while a spare is situated in the trunk. Stopping is handled by servo-assisted hydraulic disc brakes with the rear units mounted inboard, and a 2023 refresh of the brake system included rebuilds of the calipers and replacement of the pads. An electric power steering system was added during the 2023 project.

With comfort, of course

The cabin was re-trimmed in Italy in the early 2000s and features gray leather over bucket seats for two as well as over the door panels, console, and rear shelf. The seat cushions were fitted with replacement foam in 2023, and areas of wear are noted on the leather over the bolsters. An air-conditioning system was added in 2023, at which time the windshield wiper motor and driver-side window motor were replaced and the passenger-side window regulator was cleaned. The glovebox lock does not work.

The wood-rimmed Personal steering wheel sits ahead of Veglia Borletti instrumentation including a 320-km/h speedometer and a 7k-rpm tachometer. The five-digit odometer shows 70k kilometers (43k miles), approximately 600 kilometers of which have been added under current ownership. Also situated in the wood dash fascia are a clock and gauges monitoring fuel level, oil temperature, oil pressure, coolant temperature, and amperage.

Dependable, American V8

The 350ci Chevrolet V8 breathes through a four-barrel carburetor and was factory rated at 300 horsepower. The engine was overhauled during refurbishment work by Maurice Mentens in Los Angeles, California, prior to the current owner’s purchase. An aluminum radiator with dual electric cooling fans was added during service by Impatient Creations in Alabaster, Alabama, in 2023, at which time a single-wire alternator was installed. Additional work included the replacement of the starter and thermostat and repairs to the air-horn pump.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a ZF five-speed manual transmission and a Salisbury limited-slip differential. Suspension comprises a double-wishbone independent setup with an anti-roll bar up front and a De Dion rear axle with Watt’s linkage and trailing arms. Coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers are utilized at each corner.

Overview of chassis GL020314

This 1970 Iso Grifo is one of approximately 14 Targa examples built during four years of Series I production and was completed on May 21, 1970, before being delivered new in Germany. Chassis 314 was purchased in 1978 by its previous owner, who commissioned a repaint in the current shade of dark blue metallic and a re-trim of the gray leather interior before importing the car to the US in 2005. Following an overhaul of the 350ci Chevrolet V8, the car was sold to its current owner in August 2022 and subsequently received further mechanical work that included the addition of air conditioning and electric power steering as well as a refresh of the four-wheel disc brakes. Additional features include a ZF five-speed manual transmission, a limited-slip differential, an aluminum radiator with dual electric cooling fans, independent front suspension, a De Dion rear axle, 15” Borrani wire wheels, body-color removable targa panels, and power windows. This Iso Grifo Targa is now offered by the seller on behalf of its current owner in Avondale Estates, Georgia, with a copy of its build sheet, invoices from 2023 work, and a clean Montana title.

The scheda caratteristica is dated May 21, 1970, and lists the original colors and equipment as well as the Targa configuration. Invoices from the 2023 work are included in the sale, as are notes from refurbishment work under previous ownership. The car is said to have participated in the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, while additional appearances under previous ownership included the Concorso Italiano, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, and the 2022 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance.

All images and text © 2023 Bring-a-Trailer

Auction information HERE

Overview by Petrolicious of the Iso Grifo