Iso Spa in Bresso was already well known for producing the extremely well built and fast Iso Rivolta IR300; a sleek looking 2+2 Coupe based on a Chevrolet Corvette power train.
After leaving Ferrari, in 1961 Giotto Bizzarrini set up 'Prototipi Bizzarrini' in Livorno, Tuscany where he designed and consulted for Marques like ATS, Lamborghini and Iso Rivolta.
In 1963 he designed the Iso Grifo A3/L L for Lusso or luxury for Renzo Rivolta, who was looking for a follow-up to his Iso Rivolta GT. The classic body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone, while Giotto put his expertise in the mechanicals. Giotto figured there would also be a demand for a race version of the Grifo and came up with the A3/C with a dramatic modified alloy body. He later dubbed it his 'Improved GTO', as he had been the designer for the 250 GTO when he had worked for Ferrari. The engine was moved back about 40 centimeters, making the A3/C one of the first front-mid-engined cars ever built. To adjust the timing, you actually had to take out a piece of the dashboard in typical italian sports car fashion.
That same year Bertone showed the Grifo A3/L prototype at the Turin Motor Show, while Iso showed off the (partly unfinished) competition version; the Iso Grifo A3/C. Both were overwhelmingly successful. Although design changes had to be made to the prototype, Iso concentrated on getting the Grifo A3/L ready for production. The car got a light facelift that made it less aggressive but turned it into possibly the most classically elegant-looking GT supercar ever produced. The Iso Grifo GL received the fast, modified but very dependable Chevrolet Corvette?s V8 which was a 5.4L engine available with either 300 or 350 bhp coupled to a Borg Warner 4 speed gearbox. These engines were ordered in America, but were completely taken apart and blueprinted before they were put in as they did with the Iso Rivolta GT. With all that horsepower and a weight of less than 1 ton , the vehicle was able to reach speeds over 171 mph!
While Renzo Rivolta focused on the classic A3/L, Giotto tried to promote the A3/C, making for some tension between the two. This meant that the classic Grifo GL was being produced at Bresso and the A3/C at Piero Drogo?s Sports Cars of Modena under Giotto?s strict supervision. In 1964 the prototype Grifo A3/C raced at Le Mans running well until brake problems required a two hour pit stop. The car then resumed the race, finally finishing in 14th place an encouraging result for a brand-new car. Only 22 examples of the Bizzarrini Grifo A3/C were constructed before a disagreement between Renzo and Bizzarrini ended the patnership.
Classic Iso Rivolta Tyres
The Classic Iso Rivolta originally fitted a
PIRELLI CINTURATO ™.
The motor company Iso Rivolta was initially named Isothermos and used to manufacture refrigeration units. The company was originally founded in Genoa in 1939 by Renzo Rivolta, an engineer.
Together with the engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, the designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and the body-experts of Bertone, Renzo Rivolta began developing the classic Iso Rivolta IR 300 an elegant 2 + 2 Coupé with well-balanced technical components and outstanding driving performance the 5.4L V8 Chevrolet Small Block engine came from General Motors in Detroit America and the braking system 4 disc brakes (just in case you wanted to stop) came from the large Jaguars of the time. This concept was maintained for almost all production cars of Iso.
Starting in 1971, Ford 351 Cleveland engines replaced the General Motors small block.
After the sudden death of Renzo Rivolta, his son Piero became the director of Iso Rivolta in 1966. Under his leadership, Iso built the limousine Fidia, "the fastest four seats on wheels" so the adverts said, with bodywork by Ghia. Iso Rivolta went bankrupt in 1974, only 1700 Iso Gran Turismos had been built in those ten years.