My Car Quest

December 13, 2018

The Iso Grifo Spider/Targa Chassis Number 610011

by Mike –

When reader Dan Eastwood sent me a question about the Iso Grifo Spider he sent a picture of a Grifo targa with a plastic zip out rear window like the Porsche 911 targa from many years ago.

Iso Grifo No. 011

Iso Grifo No. 011

I did not recognize it so I asked My Car Quest readers to identify this car. Of course, there were a few of you who knew a lot about this car – but maybe not everything.

Iso Grifo No. 011

Iso Grifo No. 011

The owner of this car also reads My Car Quest and he wrote to me. I posted his comments on the The Iso Grifo Spider Post.

The owner is Simon Vels who lives in the Netherlands. Simon has also sent photos of this special one of a kind Grifo and a brief history, although I think there may be something we do not yet know about the history of Grifo No. 011.

Iso Grifo No. 011

Iso Grifo No. 011

This car is pictured in “ISORIVOLTA, The Men and The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow on page 328. In the caption the author states he does not know the chassis number.

“ISORIVOLTA, The Men and The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow, page 328

“ISORIVOLTA, The Men and The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow, page 328

We now know this car is chassis No. 011, the 11th Grifo made.

Simon Vels says:

I am the third and current owner of the Iso Grifo Spider/Targa (No. 011) with the zip out back window. This Grifo was converted from an early coupe to a targa by Pavesi, in Milano.

I bought No. 011 with a normal back window and after I demounted the window I found the modification from the soft zip out window. This car has the Pavesi emblem as you can see in the picture and I believe this is the only Grifo with this emblem.

Iso Grifo

Pavesi Emblem

I bought the car from a classic car dealer in Belgium 21 years ago. It was in very bad shape and not complete. It had been imported from Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

It was silver when I bought it but I found evidence of yellow paint.

I have papers showing that the car was converted before 1974. The former owner lives near Venice, Italy and I believe he exported the car to the US.

After the car was restored five years ago, I have not driven it much because I have other interests at the moment.

~~~

I noticed in the black and white photo from the Goodfellow book that there appears to be no vent on the top of the left rear fender as are on most Grifos, however not on Grifo No. 009. This is a feature that was added after No. 009 but I am not sure when it was added. It seems to me, based on this black and white photo, that it was added after No. 011.

“ISORIVOLTA, The Men and The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow, page 328 - Zoom In

“ISORIVOLTA, The Men and The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow, page 328 – Zoom In

Yet today No. 011 has this vent on the left fender and it has the matching vent openings in the gas cap cover on the top of the right rear fender.

Iso Grifo No. 011 Left Rear Fender

Iso Grifo No. 011 Left Rear Fender

Iso Grifo No. 011 Right Rear Fender - Gas Filler Lid

Iso Grifo No. 011 Right Rear Fender – Gas Filler Lid

Simon Vels says that, “I don’t know if  this vent on the left wing was added during a former restoration. It looks original to me and when I restored the car this vent was there.”

Another mystery – if anyone can add any information please do so in the comments section or contact me.

Below is a slide show of all of the pictures and as you can see Simon Vels has some interesting cars in his garage.

Below is Simon next to one of his Panteras.

De Tomaso Pantera

Iso Grifo Logo

Comments

  1. isobizz says:

    A very interesting article, Mike.
    I remember meeting Simon on a couple of very pleasant occasions in Holland, including a memorable first ride in a Grifo 7 Litre, before my own one was finished.
    I would make a couple of observations on #011. It is possible that it is the same car as shown in the Goodfellow book, though there’s a chance more than one may have been converted by Pavesi (who, incidentally, were responsible for the Targa Grifos and most of the sunroof Isos). It’s possible that the LH rear fender vent is there in the old picture, just obscured in the highlight of this somewhat grainy photo. That would be a detail that it would be unlikely to have been added to a car later, as it would be quite a major job (that is, if the sheet metal trunking down to the diff area was also incorporated, not just the fake vent itself). If there was no vent in the car in the B&W picture, then it’s quite likely that two or more cars were converted to zip-out rear screen by Pavesi.
    #011 was originally blue with tan interior, according to my list (which is not infallible). The list does not mention anything about the Pavesi conversion, but it’s perfectly possible it was painted yellow later, perhaps at the time Pavesi did the work. The car in the B&W picture could easily be yellow, and it appears to have a black interior, another pointer to the possibility it’s not #011.
    A couple of other things have changed since the old picture was taken (assuming it’s the same car): Borranis are now 7″ instead of 6″, and the “roll bar” panel is now no longer black.
    On balance, I feel Simon’s #011 may not be the same car in the old photo. Perhaps there’s another one out there?
    Chris

  2. Wow beautiful specimen and very nice collection!

  3. Grifo4me says:

    Notice that the second vent has no lock. I wonder if it is it tacked in . If it is tacked in could the vent have been bondo’d over on one of the earlier paint jobs (yellow one) since it was static?

    Rumor was that the car in Winston’s book had a hard window installed by a later owner, so that matches the story.

    I guess a good question for the current owner would be what color was the interior when he purchased the car? In the B&W photo the interior looks dark, yet Isobizz states the factory notes say tan???.

    Another Iso mystery

  4. Grifo4me says:

    bump

  5. isobizz says:

    Grifo4me, you say the second vent has no lock. The LH vent never does have a lock, as it’s not used for fuel filling. It hinges just like the fuel filler flap on the other side but has a nut to hold it closed underneath in the trunk area. It does fulfill a function, however, as both vents have connecting fabricated sheet metal tubes which connect to the area above the rear axle. The idea is that the scoops underneath the car in front of the inboard brakes funnel cool air onto the brake discs, and the hot air collects above the diff and is forced up the tubes and out through the mesh-covered louvres of the vents. That’s the theory, and I think it works to a certain extent. The Bizzarrini has a similar arrangement.
    Chris

  6. This message was sent to me by Simon Vels:

    Mike ,

    When I bought Grifo No. 11 it had a black interior, 6 inch Borrani’s, a ventilation from the left vent cap to the rear brakes.

    Another mystery is that there are a lot of parts are stamped with a 6 or 9.

    Simon

  7. Chris Lackner says:

    The stampings of a number 9 are what you might expect on #011, as these often differ by two numbers on Grifos.

  8. Ron Ciardella says:

    Back in the mid eighties I was membership chairman for the IBOC and I talked to the Pahrump Nevada owner of Grifo #011. He did not know the vin at the time. The car was purchased from a “mob” boss who supposedly had connections with the Mafia. The owner said the car had black leather seats with a pleated paisley material in the center section of the seats. When I asked about the history he told me the mob guys girlfriend got mad at him and threw the targa “top” (not tops) into a river. The car had been sitting up on blocks for many years. My understanding is that when Simon restored the car he not only found the screw holes from the zip out window, but they also found some bullet holes in the body. Seems to substantiate the Mafia story. By the way, Pavesi did the factory original Grifo sunroof cars but not the factory original Grifo Targas.

    • Simon Vels says:

      Yes , I found also some bullit holes in the body , and even a bullit was still into the inside of the door.
      When I bought this Grifo, there are highbucket seats mounted whit other material into the center.
      Simon

      • Chris Auty says:

        Hello Simon,
        Your car is wonderful. Please don’t take offense but I am searching for a nice Iso Grifo. Would you consider selling or trading it by chance.
        Kindest regards,
        Chris

  9. Chris Auty says:

    I have a number (4) of Frua designed Gt’s; 2 Glas 1700 and 2 BMW 1600 as well as a BMW 3.0 Csl that won it’s Class at The a Quail in 2016. I am thinking it will take several of these to equal the value of an ISO.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Simon.
    Cheers,
    Chris

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