Iso Rivolta was an automobile and motorbike manufacturer in Italy, predominantly active from the late 1940’s through to its closure in December 1974.
The company created the unique and iconic design of the Isetta ‘bubble car’, an obvious extension of their motorcycle business. Starting in 1954, the Isetta design was licensed to automobile manufacturers around the world and was a financial success with the royalties paid to Iso allowing Renzo Rivolta to move on to developing a number of powerful performance cars in the 60’s and early 70’s.
In 1962 Iso Rivolta made their first Grand Touring (GT) car the Iso Rivolta GT and subsequently the Iso Grifo A3/L (based on a shortened Iso Rivolta GT chassis) was introduced at the 1963 show in Turin. The Iso Fidia (initially called the Iso Rivolta S4 when introduced in 1967) was marketed by Iso as “The World’s Four Fastest Seats”.
As a prototype, the Iso Rivolta Lele debuted at the 1969 New York International Auto Show. It was a 2+2 configuration that filled the gap between the two seater Grifo and the four door Fidia. The ‘standard’ Lele also used the Corvette 327 cid V8 with either a manual or automatic transmission. Giugiaro of Bertone styled the Lele, naturally.
Based on what came later, therefore, the Iso Lele can rightly be termed today as an act of vision. It resulted from a promise that Piero Rivolta, son of Iso founder Renzo Rivolta, made to his wife, for whom the Lele was named, that Iso would be a full-line car company.
Even among Italo-exotica, the Lele is an incredible rarity. A total of 285 Iso’s were built from 1970 through 1974, when Iso left the car business with a maximum of 20 Lele Sport models (Lele IR6 Sport) produced. The Sport had the Ford 351 Cleveland V-8 engine uprated to produce 360 bhp (35 bhp more than a standard car) and a ZF five-speed manual gearbox. The Sport was also fitted with additional gauges set into the passenger-side dashboard, Sports trim and lightweight bumpers with chin spoilers and an air intake- all of which are retained in this 1975 Lele Sport.
This wonderful Sport version on offer today is finished in red with complementary black interior. The car formed part of a large collection in the UK – being used once by the last owner in 5 years of ownership. Total mileage to date stands at a mere 35,000 miles. A new clutch was recently fitted and the car also benefits from a sensibly upgraded high-flow radiator to aid cooling. During a recent service new plugs and leads were fitted.
Fitted with the highly desirable special ZF Sport Lele gearbox, and being just one of 6 produced in total, this Iso certainly offered performance and rarity at a fraction of the cost of its Griffo Brother.