‘At 100 mph the only sound you will hear is the Italian sports car you were passing’ So said a motoring journalist when test driving the Iso Grifo.
The Classic and Sports Car magazine did a comparison test and story of the Jaguar E-Type, Chev Corvette, Aston Martin DB6, and a V8 powered AC Cobra.
The magazine gave the Jaguar E-Type as the pick of the five, but mainly because the Jaguar represented high value for the money spent. However taking the money out of the equation it was admitted that the Iso Grifo was head and shoulders above what was a very high grade competition.
Up to 1970 the Chev Corvette 327 cub in V8 was used, available as 300 hp or 355 hp. On arrival in Italy the engines were stripped and blue printed. The 355hp version being fitted with Grifos own forged con rods, and a finned alloy sump no doubt to help to dissipate heat.
Compare this to its equivalent the Ferrari 330 V12 which put out 300hp from an engine that required constant tuning and maintenance, while the trusty Chev V8 was the exact opposite.
Iso Grifo gearbox choice was the 4 speed Borg Warner or 5 speed ZF manuals, or heavens forbid a 3 speed auto. Wire wheels were an option and these really set the car off.
Top speed was 160mph, clearly faster than its nearest considered competitor the Ferrari 330 by 8 mph.
Other engines offered were in 1968 the 5.8 L Ford V8 351 Cleveland, 365 hp. Plus the 7.0 L V8 Chev 427 435 hp and the 7.4 L V8 Chevy 454, 395 hp.
Top speed increased to over 170 mph with the 400 hp engines.
The shape of the nose was changed around 1970, you will see the difference in the video covers below. I guess it is personal choice as to which looks the best, but with a car as rare as these who cares as would be happy to own either.
Built from 1965 up to 1974 a total of 413 went on the road, 90 of which had the 7L Chevy engine options. A small number of these were factory right hand drive, plus I understand a firm in the UK converted some from left to right hand drive. Made a very professional job of it, but the wind shield wipers had to stay left hand pattern.
See the massive rebuild required to restore this car and join in on a drive.
Thanks to Car Torque and Wikipedia. Photos are video screen shots.
A very proud owner talks on camera about his rare Iso Grifo. Enjoy it.