- The car was collected from the Milan factory by its sole owner and taken back to London via Spain
- Made to order against car manufacturer’s instruction with 7.4 liter V8 engine, special radio and unique ‘Targa’ roof
- Rare Italian supercar was put in dry storage, after driving less than 21k miles between 1971 and 1974
- Auctioneer Bonhams stated that no attempt would be made to start the engine prior to the sale, it has not moved since.
- The vehicle – one of only three with this engine and right-hand-drive – is predicted to sell for £200k to £250k
It is exceptionally unusual for a 50-year-old car to have only one owner from new, but such is the case with this extremely rare Italian supercar that has been in storage for most of its life.
The 1971 Iso Grifo – one of three ever built – was ordered by its sole protector and was originally intended for delivery to Rhodesia, in southern Africa, where it was staying.
However, after relocating to the UK, the buyer decided to personally assemble the vehicle from the factory in Bresso outside Milan and drive it home. After using the vehicle for three years and covering less than 21,000 miles, it was put into dry storage in 1974 and has not moved since.
The car is now set to go under the hammer at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale in Chichester on Saturday, with a cool quarterly high estimate of a million pounds for the ultra-exclusive motor set.
Garaged for 47 Years: This ultra-rare 1971 Iso Grifo supercar was put into dry storage by its sole owner in 1974 and has not been revealed since. Bonhams is now set to sell it to the highest bidder in the UK with a high estimate of £250,000
The auction house says the opportunity to purchase such a low-mileage version of the motor with a ‘quite exceptional rarity’ is an ‘unexpected opportunity’.
The Grifo was produced between 1965 and 1975 by the Italian manufacturer, Iso – the manufacturer that originally made refrigerators before WW2, although after the war switched to making scooters and motorcycles and then the memorable Isetta’ bubble car. ‘, which was later taken over. BMW.
The Grifo was an interesting mix of exotic European design and American muscle-car engines.
The astonishing four-seat grand tourer (though even younger kids would find the rear seats squashed) could easily be mistaken for a Ferrari or Lamborghini of the same generation, but with the option of a 5.4-liter Chevrolet Corvette motor under the bonnet. Was. , a larger 7.0-liter ‘Big Block’ powerplant or a 7.4-liter Can-Am V8 engine, as in this example.
The larger-capacity engined versions were easily distinguished from the regular Grifo by the protruding bonnet scoop – called a ‘penthouse’ because of its shape – required by the taller block.
The engine offered here made a claimed 390bhp at 4,800rpm when new, with 500lb/ft of torque available at 3,600 revs.
The Grifo was produced by the Italian manufacturer Iso, best known for producing the Isetta ‘bubble car’. The GT model is a four-seater with sleek looks and a massive American muscle-car engine under the bonnet.
Iso made about 412 Griffos in total. Only 90 Series II examples were sold with the 7.4-liter unit and only three were sold in right-hand drive as being offered at the Goodwood Revival auction.
The 7.4-liter ‘Can-Am’ engine made a claimed 390bhp at 4,800rpm when new, with 500lb/ft of torque available at 3,600 revs.
ISO made about 412 Grifos in total, the car being the Series 2 version. Only 90 were sold with the 7.4-liter unit and only three in right-hand drive with the large block motor.
Celebrity Girfo owners include Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood – one of a select few to compete at Grand Prix level on two and four wheels, winning nine motorcycle GP world titles and 50 races before switching to F1. Compete and score two podiums.
Hailwood had two Griffos, one in white and one in yellow similar to this example, with the former (a Series I example with a 5.3-litre motor) selling at auction in 2018 for £270,000.
The sole owner of this storied Grifo – described by Bonhams as an ‘elderly gentleman’ – ordered the Grifo straight from the factory, featuring the engine with the largest capacity, a right-hand drive configuration, a five-speed manual gearbox. and includes extras. A special Blaupunkt radio suitable for reception in Rhodesia where he was living at the time.
Bonhams claims it chose the ISO instead of the 12-cylinder Ferrari because it wanted ‘the same power, but with what it describes as a more reliable V8 power unit’.
The keeper alone ordered the car to be built with a special fully removable ‘Targa Top’ panel instead of a standard sunroof. This was despite Iso owners advising against the idea, saying it would reduce stiffness.
Among other options, including a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air conditioning and a heated rear screen with wipers, the final bill for the new motor ring saw roughly the same price as the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow at the time. – Around £9,925 in 1971, which equates to £157,260 in 2021.
Keeper alone ordered the car to be built with a fully removable ‘Targa Top’ panel instead of a standard sunroof, although ISO owners advised against the idea, saying it would reduce stiffness.
The stylish look means the ISO can easily be mistaken for a Ferrari or Lamborghini of the same generation. In fact, Bonhams claims that one owner chose the Grifo instead of the 12-cylinder Ferrari because he “wanted the same power but what he describes as a more reliable V8 power unit”.
The sole proprietor ordered the Grifo directly from the factory, specified to add a special Blaupunkt radio suitable for reception in Rhodesia where he was living at the time.
To drive the V8 GT car back…