31 October 2012

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Lot 123

1966 Iso Grifo Series I

  • Chassis no. 660115GL

Sold for £128,800

Est. 425 hp, 327 cu. in. overhead valve small-block Chevrolet V-8 engine with Holley carburettor, Super T10 Shakespeare gearbox, independent front suspension with adjustable Koni struts and Bizzarrini coil springs, de Dion rear axle with adjustable Koni struts and Bizzarrini coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4 in.

• One of 471 Grifos built

• Road legal racing car with HSCC papers

• Extensive performance modifications and upgrades

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.

The 1966 Grifo offered here was originally delivered to Signor Guffanti in Italy, finished in bronze with a cream leather interior. Factory fitted with the rarer and more powerful 350 brake-horsepower engine, it was soon imported into the UK in 1968. Its first UK owner was the well-known Airship designer at Aerospace Developments, Mr Roger Munk. He retained the Grifo until 1981, and during that time, he had a Series II nose fitted at the Iso factory in Italy. It passed through two additional owners until the Grifo came into the possession of Mr Charles Fripp. He went about converting the already capable grand tourer into more of a racing car that was appropriately documented, including its factory build sheets as well as up-to-date HSCC papers.

The list of upgrades and modifications to this stunning ’66 Grifo is extensive. In short, it has a new 350 engine built by Martin Saville at RPM Motors, which boasts an impressive 425 horsepower. The original transmission was replaced with a Super T10 Shakespeare unit and is mated to a new double-plate racing clutch. All four corners of the braking system have been upgraded and include larger callipers, braided lines, and competition pads. Furthermore, the suspension has been paid equal attention, with upgraded shocks, springs, and sway bars. No part of the car has been overlooked, and it is recommended to consult an RM specialist for further details.

Finished in gunmetal with a blue hide semi-race interior, this 1967 Iso Grifo remains a fully road legal car that doubles as an ideal track machine. Having competed in the 2011 Silverstone Classic, it is clearly at home on either road or track, and it would make for an excellent entry into such events as the Tour Auto. This very rare and formidable performer represents the best of both worlds: sexy Italian styling combined with the performance and reliability of an American V-8 engine.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more