Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Bertone
Britt-Marie Lind, Rome, Italy (acquired by the mid-1970s)Gosta Andren, Norrköping, Sweden (acquired by 1986)Stephen Piper, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany (acquired circa 2010)Charles Lillard, Woodland, California (acquired from the above in January 2014)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Concorso Italiano, Monterey, California, August 2015Scuderia Southwest, Phoenix, Arizona, August 2017
At the 1968 Geneva Auto Show, Iso introduced a new performance variant of the Grifo model with a much larger engine. Company director Piero Rivolta had ordered a seven-liter Chevrolet V-8 for his use in powerboat racing, but before long he decided to drop the motor into one of the Grifos. A preferred customer was persuaded to write a check for the proposed car, and Iso’s engineers set about modifying chassis 201 to accommodate the mammoth big-block engine.
The most distinctive visual change was the addition of a functional pagoda-style hood scoop, which fed air to a four-barrel carburetor. Featuring a special “7 Litri” badge on the rear pillars, the so-called Super Grifo was a smashing success at Geneva, prompting a rush of customer orders.
After about 35 examples were built, an optional longer-legged ZF five-speed gearbox with a 2.88 final-drive ratio was offered, requiring a modified clutch. With these changes the 7 Litri finally began to achieve its performance potential, as test drivers reached speeds exceeding 170 mph. Only 17 of the first series 7 Litri Grifos were optioned with the five-speed gearbox and less than 70 examples were built through 1970. The 7 Litri has since evolved into one of the most collectible Grifo variants, as the ultimate fulfillment of the car’s original American-muscle mandate.
Benefiting from a documented chain of ownership and a sympathetic restoration executed to very high standards, this 7 Litri is among the finest examples seen in recent years. According to the build date on the Iso Grifo registry, chassis 326 is the final Series I 7 Litri built. Chassis 326 was finished on September 20, 1970, and was equipped with optional air-conditioning and the Elektron wheels that soon appeared on the forthcoming Series II Grifo. More important, the car was fitted with the highly desirable ZF five-speed gearbox.
According to an Automobile Club d’Italia registration canceled in 1976, the Grifo had been registered to Britt-Marie Lind, a young Swedish woman living in Rome. Exported to Sweden in 1976, the Iso was next acquired by Gosta Andren, a dedicated marque enthusiast residing in Norrköping. During his ownership, the 7 Litri was the subject of a feature in a 1986 issue of Automobil magazine, and the car was later treated to a sympathetic restoration by local experts. The engine and ancillary mechanical systems were rebuilt as needed, while Iso specialist Peter Örsja addressed the coachwork and refinished the exterior in the factory color of Grigio Reims Metallizzato between 2007 and 2010. Though most of the gaskets and seals were replaced, the original glass and interior were retained.
Chassis 326 stayed in Sweden until about 2010, at which point it was purchased by Stephen Piper of Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, and he sold the car in January 2014 to Charles Lillard of Woodland, California. More recently acquired by the consignor, the Grifo has been exhibited at the 2015 Concorso Italiano at Monterey, California, and the 2017 Scuderia Southwest.
Still displaying the benefits of the fastidious restoration, this rare 7 Litri is documented with a copy of the original factory build sheet, and records dating to 1976 (including the aforementioned ACI registration, Swedish import paperwork, former owner’s correspondence, and a prior bill of sale). The file also features over 200 photos of the restoration, and a copy of the 1986 issue of Automobil magazine.
As one of 66 examples built, and one of only 17 cars to feature the desirable five-speed gearbox, this 7 Litri is as rare as it is powerful. It would make an excellent addition to any collection, particularly for enthusiasts of Corvettepowered sports cars or aficionados of the Grifo’s creators, the illustrious Renzo Rivolta, Giotto Bizzarrini, and Giorgetto Giugiaro.