Bubblecar manufacturer Iso joined the ranks of supercar constructors in 1962 with the launch of the Giotto Bizzarrini-designed Rivolta coupé at the Turin Motor Show. Renzo Rivolta’s Isothermos company had begun life pre-war making refrigerators, turning to the manufacture of scooters, under the Iso name, after the war and thence to the highly successful Isetta bubblecar. Interviewed recently for Octane magazine (issue 151) Renzo’s son Piero recalled that his father liked fast cars but could not find one that really suited him; one that was fast, comfortable and reliable. ‘He decided that Iso should produce a fast car that was genuinely useable every day, and priced somewhere between a Jaguar and a Ferrari.’ The result was the Rivolta.
Styled at Carrozzeria Bertone by Giorgetto Giugiaro and powered by a 327ci (5.4-litre) Chevrolet V8 engine, the four-seat Rivolta employed a steel platform chassis featuring independent front suspension, a De Dion rear axle and disc brakes all round. Iso’s first supercar set the pattern for those that followed: Bizzarrini-designed chassis, Bertone coachwork and Chevrolet engines, its future developments including the long-wheelbase, Ghia-styled Fidia four-door saloon, the muscular, short-wheelbase Grifo and the Rivolta-replacement Lele. Iso’s most successful model, the Rivolta was produced up to 1970, by which time a total of 797 cars had been built.
This restored ISO Rivolta was delivered new to Switzerland in 1964, where it resided for some time before finding its way to the dry state of Texas, United States. Our vendor, a serious collector and racer of historic Italian GT cars, personally imported the Rivolta some years ago from Texas into the UK, and has continued to develop the car in his ownership.
The Rivolta has enjoyed a significant engine upgrade and is now fitted with a very powerful 410ci (6.8 litre) Chevrolet motor fed through a more reliable and efficient fuel injection system. The motor breathes through a full stainless steel manifold and exhaust, and drives through a recently installed 5-speed gearbox and 2.88 rear axle. Stopping is improved with uprated Girling vented brakes, whilst the steering is greatly improved with fitting of a rare and desirable Z.F. power steering system.
As a result of these upgrades the performance of the Rivolta is outstanding – with a top speed now in excess of 170 miles per hour! Since being completed the ISO has been the subject of articles in Classic & Sportscar and also Auto Italia magazines. Notably Classic & Sportscar quoted our ISO as being “…savagely quick, with an ability to level inclines and devour straights that gives you little time to assimilate its other qualities…!”
The Rivolta has been restored both bodily and mechanically, during which it benefitted from additional Dynomat insulation to improve driving refinement. Very nicely finished in Ivory with the finest Connolly hide and Wilton carpets to the interior, as a finishing touch the ISO is supplied with a powerful sound system to accompany the wonderful V8 soundtrack. A great example of a classic V8-engine GT car of the 1960s, and offered at No Reserve to the highest bidder.