Renzo Rivolta was born in 1908. His father was in the wood milling industry and owned many properties in Italy and abroad. While looking for a business with a more secure future he came across a little company close to Genua specialized in the production of refrigerators and heaters. This little but modern factory was called Isothermos and Renzo managed to buy it in 1939. During the war he was forced to move the factory to Bresso, because of the bombardments in the Genua area. In Bresso he found an old villa with a large piece of land which was perfect for his needs. He was able to fool the German’s for a long time and kept the factory running during the war. He died in 1966.
Piero Rivolta took over the Iso Company after his father passed away in 1966. One of the first things he did was the introduction of a new version of the Grifo, the Targa, and of a whole new car, the Iso S4. After Iso closed in 1974 he went to America and formed the Rivolta Group. He surprised the automotive press with the introduction of the Grifo 90 in 1992 but it remained a one-off. Today the Rivolta Group is busy in many areas, yachts & boats, design in cooperation with Zagato Italy, architecture & project developing etc. and the Isigo microcar. When will we see the new Iso sportscar? Many are talking about it and some even claim to have seen glimpse of it.
In the late sixties and early seventies midengined sports cars were a hype and Piero Rivolta decided that Iso should built one too. It was going to be called the Iso Varedo after its place of birth.
It was a reasonable light car with a body of fiberglass (75% fiberglass and 25% polyester). They used this material because it was cheaper and lighter than steel or aluminum. It was a car for those who asked for speed, handling and stunning looks. This was not a sporty coupé, this was a beast; an image-builder. Inside it was simple and basic, like a racecar.
The car was not intended to replace the Grifo like some thought but to generate publicity for Iso and their other products.
Engine & Details
It was designed by Ercole Spada (Zagato) and Piero Rivolta and even today it looks up to date.
Power came from Ford, the 5.7 ltr. Ford 351 Cleveland engine with 325 hp combined with a 5-speed from ZF. With a weight of around 1000kg it is a spectacular car to drive let down only by the heavy clutch and impossible gear change:
First: up-left, Second: right-down and 3/4/5 are also where they should not be and where you don’t expect them to be.
Iso only completed one Varedo and that is a real shame. In 1973 Piero Rivolta sold the company to Dr. Ivo Pera and that was the end for the Varedo. He didn’t want a new model and left the car in a corner of the factory were Piero Rivolta found it later, damaged and in pieces, after Iso had to close its doors in December 1974 due to the oil-crisis. He bought the car and had it restored to its present perfect condition. It can be seen at the Iso Museum in Sarasota FL USA.