For Sale: 1968 Iso Rivolta IR 300 in Saint Louis, Missouri


Vehicle Description

Italian industrialist and engineer Renzo Rivolta is a bit of an unsung hero in the annals of automotive history. His motoring career began in 1942 with the purchase of Isothermos, an Italian refrigerator manufacturer. Rivolta was a proper petrol head, and he frankly had little interest in refrigeration, so he added motorcycles and scooters to the company's portfolio, reincorporating it as Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. Renzo's motorcycles were particularly expensive at a time when Italians needed affordable transport more than anything, but they were built exceptionally well and earned a positive reputation for quality and performance. To answer the needs of the buying public in a still-recovering post-war Italy, Iso introduced the Isetta; a three wheeled (later updated to four) microcar with a single front door and a distinct bubble shape. Approximately 20,000 examples were built in the Iso works before Rivolta had an epiphany: The rest of Europe was still in need of cheap transport, and since his plant couldn't build enough Isettas to meet demand, he licensed the design to other manufacturers around the world. BMW was the most successful, selling approximately 130,000 units through the 1960s. As an aside, fans of the Bavarian marque have Renzo Rivolta and his cheeky microcar to thank for saving BMW from the brink of bankruptcy and a certain takeover by Mercedes Benz. On the heels of the success of the Isetta, Renzo Rivolta turned his efforts to producing a luxurious GT car that he felt could offer better value and luxury than Ferrari. He took a page from Sydney Allard (among others, of course) by stuffing a proven, reliable and affordable American V8 into a more sophisticated chassis, one that was better suited to putting that power to the ground. The Iso Rivolta IR300 first appeared in 1962. Designed in partnership with legendary Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, the attractive four-seat Grand Tourer rode on a steel platform chassis and featured independent front and deDion rear suspension. Power came via Chevrolet's Corvette-spec 327 cubic inch (5.4 liter) V8 making 300 horsepower and a choice of either automatic or manual transmissions. Styling was by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Ghia, and was crisp and distinctive with delicate pillars, a sharp feature line down the body and finely judged curves and creases on the front fenders and grille. It was a full four seat car that could transport occupants in supreme comfort with outstanding performance. The Iso Rivolta made no impressions of being a racer or sports car - it was meant to carry four passengers at high speed and deliver a memorable drive. With its luxurious and comfortable cabin, the Rivolta was delightfully described in period literature as having "Efficient functioning united to sober elegance". The literature went on to proclaim the Iso Rivolta was "Silent from 40-240 (kph) in top gear!" Priced between a Jaguar and a Ferrari, the Rivolta found moderate success, selling 799 units between 1962 and 1969. This 1968 IR300 was built on September 12, 1967 and dispatched to the US.� It was originally equipped with the 300 horsepower engine, automatic, and air conditioning, and is a complete, running example that was used and enjoyed on a regular basis until it was parked approximately 18 years ago. While it requires a comprehensive restoration, it is not a basket case or a nightmare of missing parts as so many projects can be. This Rivolta remains complete and intact, with most of its delicate trim and detailing in place. The body is quite straight and appears free of any major accident damage, though the sills, lower quarters and floors require replacement. Importantly, the bumpers, lamps, grille and window trims are all intact, presenting in fair condition and the car rides on a set of rare and desirable Campagnolo alloy wheels. The black interior is in similar condition to the body; tired and needing restoration, though complete and appearing never to have been removed from the car. The dash retains all original switchgear and instrumentation. Chevrolet's robust 327 V8 looks to be completely intact and is fitted with original air conditioning. There is an aftermarket air cleaner, though the engine bay appears otherwise mainly original. Our mechanics carefully inspected the engine to ensure it was free, and fired it up to discover it still has good oil pressure and runs rather well. Of course, it should not be driven in its current state, but it does form the basis of what would be a fairly straightforward restoration. Without complex and expensive running gear, this Iso can be a more approachable prospect for restoring, and this example represents a blank canvas for which to best highlight its distinctive style. With just 800 examples produced, the IR300 is a rare and desirable Italian GT car that delivered excellent performance in a handsome, Giugiaro-designed body.

Vehicle Details

  • Listing ID:CC-925941
  • Year:1968
  • Make:Iso
  • Model:Rivolta IR 300
  • Exterior Color:red
  • Interior Color:black
  • Odometer:0
  • Stock Number:5816