Iso of Italy began its car manufacturing career in the mid-1950s producing the Isetta bubble cars (also built under licence by BMW), but in 1962 they decided to enter the high-class GT car market with the Rivolta. In many ways this cleanly styled four-seater coupe was an Italian Gordon Keeble featuring a similar box-section frame with Dedion rear suspension and a Bertone -built steel body. Like the Keeble, it had a Corvette V-eight engine under the bonnet, so performance was impressive: it had a top speed of 140 mph (225 kph) with the manual gearbox.
The original 5.4-litre V-eight came in two states of tune — 300 and 365 bhp - with a top speed of up to 160 mph (257 kph) in its most potent form. Buyers could opt for four- or five-speed gearboxes or even an automatic, a fitment unheard-of on the Grifo’s pure-bred rivals. Naturally, four-wheel disc brakes were deemed necessary for a car of such weight and power and in the right hands these elegant, well-engineered cars were as quick as anything on the road. The ultimate version was the 390 bhp seven-liter, manufactured from 1968 to challenge the Ferrari Daytona and Mascrati Ghibli. Iso claimed 170 mph (273 kph) for this flagship coupe and, although this figure was never confirmed independently, there was no doubting its formidable acceleration: 70 (112) was attainable in the first gear alone. A bonnet hump distinguished the seven-liter car from lesser Grifos.
Later Grifos had a redesigned, chisel edged nose with pop-up lights and for the last two years of production employed Ford "Cleveland" V-eights rather than Corvette engines. By then Iso were on the rocks financially, and the company died in the midst of the fuel crisis in 1974.
The Grifo 7.0 litre used a 6998cc V8 at first with later cars using a 7443cc unit. Like all Iso models the Grifo had its own unique blend of Italian styling (the model was originally designed by Bizzarrini) and American muscle-power.