Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Bertone
Iris Hoffman, Karlsruhe, Germany (acquired February 1974)Jürgen Niederstadt, Hannover, Germany (acquired circa 1980)Lusso Motors, Hilversum, The NetherlandsCurrent Owner (acquired from above, 2012)
Torino Motor Show, November 1972
In 1966, Nuccio Bertone and Piero Rivolta, son of Iso’s founder, Renzo Rivolta, were driving a Grifo between Rome and Milan. It was soon after Renzo’s passing, and the pair discussed the car’s front end lift. From that conversation, the Grifo Series II was born. Of 471 Grifos, 78 are Series IIs, and 34 of these – the final Isos built – had Ford’s Cleveland 351 V-8. The car on offer, chassis no. 250391, is one of just 23 of these highly prized examples equipped from the factory with ZF’s five-speed manual gearbox, and moreover benefits from a recent restoration completed by leading marque specialists Il Bottegone Restorations, whose craftsmen worked for the Iso factory.
Renzo Rivolta built his refrigerator manufacturing business during the 1930s. After WWII, he began making economy cars and closed a deal with BMW to license the design, which became the Isetta. Rivolta then embarked on building handmade Grand Touring cars powered by American V-8s. Rivolta hired the very best to design the first series of Grifos, including Giotto Bizzarrini and a young Giorgetto Giugiaro. Bizzarrini, ex-Ferrari test driver, engineer, and architect of the famous 250 GTO, described his Iso commission as his masterpiece. Giugiaro, then working for Bertone, penned a visually dramatic vehicle; Grifos stand barely four feet tall, with Ford-engined examples requiring a tall “pagoda” hood scoop.
Factory records indicate 250391 was completed on October 27, 1972, immediately appearing at the Torino Motor Show. From 1974 to 1980, 250391 was registered in Germany, near the Black Forest. By the early 1980s, this Series II Grifo had been acquired by noted Iso collector Jürgen Niederstadt.
When the current owner acquired the car in 2012, a frame-off restoration had been started by Lusso Classics in the Netherlands. Relocated to marque specialist Il Bottegone Restorations in Lombardy, the painstaking rebuild was carried out by Roberto and Frederico Negri, a father-and-son team. Thorough photographic documentation shows both the pristine condition of the body and how completely 250391 had been disassembled. Period-correct options aimed at improving the driving experience were fitted, including rare ZF variable-ratio power steering, and air-conditioning. Today, 250391 is resplendent in fresh, period-correct Volte Argentata Metallizzato (silver metallic) with a Rosso Cartier red leather interior.
American muscle in a sharp European suit makes a compelling proposition, and seldom more so than in this most desirable iteration of a rare, Italian Gran Turismo. Restored by the same craftsmen, using the same techniques as when new, this Grifo represents a spectacular addition for any collector of fine automobiles.