by Mike –
Recently at the RM auction in Amelia Island an Iso Grifo set the world record price for a Grifo sold at a public auction ($440,000). This Iso Grifo was originally chassis No. 413 and at some point the chassis number was changed to No. 223. One has to wonder why this was done but also where is the original No. 223?
A friend who wants to remain anonymous and is very knowledgeable about Iso Grifos has sent me the article below with photos (from another friend) that show what is believed to be the original No. 223.
Text and photos by Anonymous
In the past there has been a lot of speculation about the whereabouts of ISO Grifo #223 — the real #223. A few weeks ago, I ran into some interesting additional information about the fate of this long-lost car.
Shorty before the auction of Grifo #413/#223 at Amelia Island, an interesting project appeared on Anamera: a 1963 ISO A3C was advertised. I followed up with the advertising dealer in Italy who told me that he acted as agent for a private seller.
The dealer informed me that the car in question is not an original A3C but is a project to re-create an A3C. I was told that the private seller had found ISO Grifo #223 (yes, the #223) in “semi-abandoned state” about 12 years ago near Rome.
At the time he had decided to rebuild the car as an ISO A3C. Given lagging valuations for Grifos and the terrible state of the original body, this approach made sense.
Through other inquiries I found out that this project was started at Carrozzeria Reali in Livorno. The rear section of the chassis was taken from Iso Rivolta GT #059, and the front cross member from Grifo #223. Both cars were photographed by someone at Reali at the time.
The Grifo on those pictures taken at Reali is clearly the same car as the one on the Anamera pictures published by the Italian dealer (see Anamera pictures at the end).
I inquired about the parts that would come with the project and the dealer sent me pictures of what was gradually being delivered to his facility. It turned out that the project is missing all A3C-specific parts (steering column, steering wheel, pedals, brake boosters, glass, intake manifold, etc.).
There are no instruments, there is no engine. The dealer told me that the rear axle was “stolen at Reali” — indirectly confirming, that the project was indeed executed by Reali. Finally, there were no papers, neither for Grifo #223 nor for Rivolta GT #059.
Below is a correct and authentic Iso Grifo chassis number stamp with the No. 223 chassis number.
Once the dealer and I had established just how incomplete a project this was, he decided to cancel the sale. Throughout the process he never misrepresented or concealed any facts. I have since made him aware of the issue of the multiple use of chassis number #223 and of this month’s sale of Grifo #413/#223.
It will be interesting to see when and with what chassis number this A3C project will re-appear in the future. On the other hand, through the publication of this article, the project may be burnt. Meanwhile, Grifo values are on a steep rise now and may one day approach today’s A3C/Bizzarrini values.
One would think that most of the remains of Grifo #223 have probably been discarded by now — but who knows what is lurking in the scrapyards of Livorno?
We may just witness another re-incarnation of Grifo #223, the “real” Grifo #223.
Anamera advertisement photos of No. 223
My Car Quest readership includes Bruce C., a man who is renowned for his obsessive, valiant, multi-year efforts to restore a highly original ISO Rivolta GT to its former glory. We know Bruce as a man of honesty and integrity. We are confident that he supports us in our objective to bring the truth and the above facts to the attention of the world.
We deeply regret and apologize that in our pursuit of a just cause, we had to expose Bruce to a cruel reality: somewhere in Italy, someone probably carelessly discarded the 2-piece, center-of-dash, air vents of ISO Grifo #223 (see picture of dashboard above).
Bruce, please take consolation in the thought, that this unobtainable piece of automotive jewelry is most likely still in existence — somewhere, in a scrapyard in Livorno…