1965 Iso Grifo
Year of manufacture1965
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Carmel, California, August 2012 (First in Class)
Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, Hillsborough, California, July 2013 (First in Class)
Concorso Italiano, Monterey, California, August 2013 (First in Class)
Danville Concours d’Elegance, Danville, California, September 2013 (Best in Show)
Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, Carmel, California, August 2014 (First in Class)
The Iso Grifo was created by Iso Rivolta to compete with the most prestigious marques of the day, such as Maserati, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. Released for public sale in 1965, the elegant and sleek Bertone-bodied GT Coupe was a sensation. Boasting a high-performance Corvette engine and stunning good looks, the Grifo quickly earned a reputation as one of the best all-around sporting GTs on the market. A worthy competitor to the most pedigreed European marques, the automotive press praised the new Italian beauty after its demonstration day at Monza in August 1965, but not before Iso Rivolta boldly claimed in its own press release: “On the part of experts, our Iso Grifo L is now considered the finest car in the world.”
According to its entry in the Iso Registry, this Grifo GL, chassis 009, was completed in late December 1965, among the very first Grifos built after the two pre-production prototypes, chassis 003 and 007. It is easily identifiable as an early car as it lacks the vent panel atop the left rear fender that Renzo Rivolta added to later Grifos. The vent panel visually offset the fuel filler door on the opposite fender.
Restoration began on 009 in 2011. The previous owner commissioned one of the West Coast’s renowned restoration experts of Italian sports cars, Charley Potts of Burlingame, California. Working with Potts, the previous owner spared no expense on the Grifo’s restoration in his pursuit of perfection. Potts and his team methodically disassembled the Grifo down to its bare shell and carefully worked their way up, incorporating a number of new body panels formed on the original body bucks, which still exist in Italy. Potts comprehensively restored this magnificent Italian machine to the very highest standards. The body is expertly finished in a modern Ferrari shade, Rosso Fuoco, with a silver roof, which is complemented by the silver Campagnolo alloy wheels, as well as the tan leather interior that was trimmed by Don Acker of Acker Leather Works in San Francisco. The concours-quality brightwork was done by Sherm’s Custom Plating in Sacramento, and the beautifully detailed engine bay reveals the 327 cid, 365 hp Corvette engine – the same power specification that appears on a copy of 009’s factory build sheet. It is one of approximately 24 with this specification.
This stunning Grifo has been shown sparingly, garnering four First in Class awards as well as a Best of Show victory, a testament to its highly detailed restoration. This rare early production Grifo’s outstanding presentation, exciting Italian styling, successful exhibition record, together with its bankable American power, make it a compelling choice to enjoy on a long drive toward an idyllic concours lawn.