The ’60s saw the emergence of one of the more interesting trends the automotive world has ever seen, big American V-8s in smaller European cars. There was AC, Sunbeam, De Tomaso, and one of the more interesting examples, Iso. Iso was a small company that had started out making refrigerators in the days just before WWII, and then moving into motorcycles just after the war. In the mid ’50s, it produced the Isetta bubble car, a somewhat hilarious little car that became much more famous when BMW started producing them under license. The Bavarians would end up buying out the Isetta tooling, and Iso was freed up to pursue much more ambitious automotive goals.
That goal was to build a sports car, something originally intended to compete with the Fiat 2300. But, when the Iso Rivolta IR 300 didn’t sell very well, Iso decided to build a luxurious and powerful gran turismo, something to compete with Ferrari and Maserati. So Iso took its whole one year of sports car building experience and put it into making the Grifo. It might sound like a dubious plan, but the Grifo turned out to be an excellent car, with the combination of Italian style and American power working wonderfully together.
Continue reading to learn more about the Iso Grifo.