If you’re into cars, you might have heard of the most famous coach-building company Zagato. For the last years, they have closely worked with Aston Martin for instance. Yet, back in the day, their coach works were used by Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Abarth, FIAT and even BMW. Until today. Know the Iso Grifo A3/C? They’re bringing it back with the Zagato IsoRivolta GTZ.
Text: Luca W ©. Images: Mickaël B., Luca W., Zagato ©.

IsoRivolta GTZ

Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. is the Italian car manufacturer that launched the Grifo. It lasted less than 10 years, but was incredible enough to be remembered. Kind of like De Tomaso, it was an Italian design coupled to an American (Chevrolet and Ford) powertrain. Yet, we need to dig a little further on this car because its incredible background.

Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. was founded by Renzo Rivolta and produced refrigerators before building cars. Are we missing something? Of course: the company also built scooters and was just behind Lambretta and Vespa sales. Then, in 1952, Rivolta took the big step and entered into the huge automotive world with the Iso Isetta (also known as the Bubble Car). Sometimes, it has a BMW logo because, just like Mini, they made it their own.

Iso did not stop on scooters and Bubble cars

Later on, Rivolta wanted to be competitive against Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. He called 2 guys: the first one is a young, talented Giorgetto Giugiaro. The second one is Società Autostar, a small engineering freelance company of 1 employee: Giotto Bizzarrini. He clearly is an automotive engineering Hall of Famer and probably the GOAT (Greatest Of All Times). If you know the Ferrari 250 GTO or the Lamborghini Miura V12 engine, well, he basically made them.

This incredible association gave birth to the Iso Rivolta IR 300, which was, to be frank, not a huge success. Rivolta was not really enthusiastic after this one. Nevertheless, they have worked on the Grifo, a completely new car, which was way more successful than the IR 300/340, yet based on the same drivetrains. Still want more information on the Grifo? Have a look at this post.

Iso Grifo
Iso Grifo at the 2014 AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix

Naturally, Bizzarrini had the intuition that there would be a race demand for this car, which was exceptional to drive. So he designed the Iso Grifo A3/C (Corsa), roughly based on the A3/L (Lusso). Don’t worry, there is nothing in common between those two: the A3/C has a full aluminium body and the engine is more centered. The car was so perfect he named it the “improved GTO”, tackling Enzo Ferrari for having him fired.

Iso Grifo A3/C
Iso Grifo A3/C Stradale at the 2015 RM Auctions in Paris

On our automotive journeys, we came across to several A3/C, in the same year! At the 2015 RM Auctions in Paris, the 2015 AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix and the 2015 Zoute Grand Prix.

Bizzarrini and Iso ended their collaboration after having a big argument. And Società Autostar started building variants of the Iso Grifo A3/C under the Bizzarrini marque (5300 GT). The company name became Società Prototipi Bizzarrini and then in 1966 to Bizzarrini SpA. History is incredible.

Almost 60 years later comes the Zagato IsoRivolta GTZ

Finally. Zagato just wants this oasis for the eyes back “in the streets”, by producing 19 units (9 already sold) of the IsoRivolta GTZ. The mechanical base is a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 a pure heart behind pure Italian clothes (carbon fibre body of course). The first car will be delivered in October, followed by more technical details.