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 is a very rare car, there were only 285 Lele’s produced, the rarest incarnation was the SPORT of which 40 were produced with only 11 Right Hand Drive versions. These cars were defined by the following features and specification, fitted with the Ford 360 cobrajet engine (5763 cc) producing 360 bhp coupled to a 5 speed ZF gearbox, the Sport was also fitted with lightweight seats and bumpers giving a saving of 550 pounds over a standard car and an extra 35 bhp made this a very potent motor car in period, with a quoted top speed of 167 miles an hour, the sport was also fitted with an integrated front chin spoiler to make it more stable at speed, it also serves to make the car look great, all this at a cost of £11516-00 in 1975 a massive £1571-00 over and above the standard automatic car. All this verified by the original price list and sales brochure that come with the car.
Finished in red with black leather interior, air conditioning, electric windows and power steering which was an extra on this late car. Showing 34000 miles which I believe to be correct, and fitted with a full length electric sliding roof and a radio cassette. The car has been subject to much recent refurbishment, including a full screens out repaint, new head lining, new window rubbers, 4 x correct Michelin XWX tires, brake over haul, high flow radiator, new clutch, new water pump, cylinder heads removed checked skimmed and refitted with new head gaskets, plus the usual plugs points, leads, coil etc.
The car performed extremely well on a recent trip to the Goodwood Members Meeting, a 250 mile round trip, it surprised me greatly by returning over 20 to the gallon! With the price of the ISO Griffo now In excess of £250000-00 this car must surely be an interesting alternative.