Rare one-owner 1971 Iso Grifo supercar stored in London from 1974 could sell at auction for £250,000.
It’s exceptionally uncommon for a 50-year-old car to have only one owner from new, but that’s the case with this extremely rare Italian supercar that has been in storage for most of its life.
The 1971 Iso Grifo – which is one of three ever built – was custom ordered by its only keeper and originally intended for delivery to Rhodesia, in Southern Africa where he had been living.
However, having relocated to the UK, the buyer decided to personally collect the vehicle from the factory in Bresso, just outside of Milan, and drive it home. After using the vehicle for three years and covering fewer than 21,000 miles, it was put into dry storage in 1974 and hasn’t moved since.
The car is now set to go under the hammer at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival sale, in Chichester, on Saturday, with the higher estimate for the ultra-exclusive motor set at a cool quarter of a million pounds.
The auction house says the opportunity to purchase such a low-mileage version of a motor with ‘quite exceptional rarity’ and with one gentleman owner from new is an ‘unrepeatable opportunity’.
The Grifo was produced between 1965 and 1975 by Italian maker, Iso – the manufacturer that had originally made refrigerators before WW2, though post-war switched to making scooters and motorcycles and then the memorably Isetta ‘bubble car’, which was later taken over by BMW.
The Grifo was an intriguing blend of exotic European design and American muscle-car engine.
The stunning four-seat grand tourer (though even small children would have found the rear seats a squash) could easily be mistaken for a Ferrari or Lamborghini of the same generation, but under the bonnet was the choice of a 5.4-litre Chevrolet Corvette motor, a larger 7.0-litre ‘big block’ powerplant or a 7.4-litre Can-Am V8 engine, which this example features.
Versions with the bigger capacity engines were easily distinguishable from the regular Grifo by the raised bonnet scoop – dubbed the ‘Penthouse’ on account of its shape – necessitated by the taller block.
The engine featuring here produced a claimed 390bhp at 4,800rpm when new, with 500lb/ft of torque available at 3,600 revs.
Iso made approximately 412 Grifos in total, this car being a Series 2 version. Only 90 were sold with the 7.4-litre unit and only three in right-hand drive with the bigger block motor.
Celebrity Girfo owners include Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood – one of a select individuals to compete at Grand Prix level on two- and four-wheels, winning nine motorcycle GP world titles before switching to F1 and competing in 50 races and scoring two podiums. Hailwood had two Grifos, one white and one in the same yellow as this example, with the former (a Series I example with a 5.3-litre motor) selling at auction in 2018 for £270,000.
The one and only owner of this stored Grifo – described by Bonhams as an ‘elderly gentleman’ – ordered the Grifo directly from the factory, specifying the largest capacity engine, a right-hand drive configuration, five-speed manual gearbox and the addition of a special Blaupunkt radio suitable for reception in Rhodesia where he was living at the time.
Bonhams claims he chose the Iso rather than a 12-cylinder Ferrari as he wanted ‘the same power but from what he describes as a more reliable V8 power unit’.
The lone keeper also ordered the car to be built with a special ‘Targa’ top option rather than a standard sunroof. This was despite Iso bosses advising against the idea, saying it would reduce rigidity.
Further options, including a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air conditioning and a heated rear screen with wiper, saw the final bill for the new motor ring up to roughly the same value as a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow at the time – around £9,925 in 1971, which equates to £157,260 in 2021.
Having driven the V8 GT car back to London from the Milan factory, the owner used it fairly regularly, including for at least one or two trips through Europe to Spain, over the next three years.
The car had its one and only service at Peter Agg’s Trojan company near Croydon and was not registered in the UK until January 1975, having been run with Italian plates until the owner put it in the garage in 1974, never to be taken out again.
It is being sold with a logbook of petrol bills – the last entry being made in 1974 – and copies of its original purchase paperwork and correspondence, and a ‘Use and Maintenance’ manual.
At time of cataloguing, the car shows a recorded 20,873 miles and is not expected to be started before the auction.
News Source: Daily Mail