My Car Quest

July 31, 2014

The Lost Iso Grifo No. 223 Is Found!

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.

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo 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.

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223

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).

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223

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.

Iso Grifo No. 223 chassis stamp

Iso Grifo No. 223 Chassis Stamp

Iso Rivolta GT  No. 059 Chassis

Iso Rivolta GT No. 059 Chassis Plate

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.

Stay tuned.

Iso Grifo No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223

Anamera advertisement photos of No. 223

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

Iso Grifo No. 223 On Anamera

P.S.

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…

Your Comments are welcome.

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Summary
Article Name
The Lost Iso Grifo No. 223 Is Found!
Author
Description
A long lost Iso Grifo has been found after it's chassis number has been used on another Iso Grifo.

Comments

  1. This is interesting stuff, indeed! #223 was of course, an auto, and you can see the shifter in one picture. Rivolta #059 was for sale in 2005 by David Kaufman in Los Angeles, CA. It had disc wheels and looked very rough. It was a 340hp 4-speed.
    So, it seems the Coys Grifo is probably not #223 rebuilt.

  2. Eric Verdon-Roe says:

    I wonder if you have seen the 1966 Grifo Lusso B 740001 that will shortly be sold by Coys in Essen?
    See http://www.coys.co.uk/auction.php?itemID=4490&auctionID=42

    Eric

    • Thank you Eric, I have seen this. There was some speculation this car may have been #223 but now we know it is not but the question is what is the real chassis number?

  3. When touring Italy about 3 years ago, I came across the chassis plate of #223, still attached to the crossmember.

    There were no other parts on what was left of the crossmember. The pictures of the Grifo on the back of the tow truck, can’t be recent, as the crossmember would be missing from #223. They have to be old pictures or a different car.

    I do have a photo of this chassis plate.

  4. You are right, Chris. We thought if someone had the documents of #223 he also should have the car, which would be normal. The pictures really show the correct car. Many years ago #223 was offered for sale in southern Germany. I saw it there but did not buy it because of its desolate condition. Mike mentioned that the front cross member was taken from this #223.

    To do this you have to cut off the entire front clip incl. the frame to get this part out. This will destroy the entire car. To rebuild it would be a very difficult project. Could be correctly done only by Roberto Negri because these guys have all the necessary original drawings and measurements.

  5. In my opinion that looks like the shop called Giancarlo Reali in Italy

  6. Notice the NEMBO replica next to #223

  7. Bruce Caron says:

    Wow Mike! As I’m looking through the pictures I see the vent and learn that the extra parts are probably lying around Livorno. The first thing I thought of was the a/c vent. Then I got to the end of the article and read your P.S. I might be getting a reputation for being a bit obsessive compulsive. I’m going to start a website named “My Iso Rivolta/Grifo A/C vent Quest”.

  8. Let me vent (sorry Bruce) something probably very controversial:

    So, now 223 is a stalled project and the way I know Reali most all parts of 223 are still available. (Nobody throws Grifo parts away, I have two Grifo’s in parts only) It is Roberto Negri’s crew daily job to build complete Grifo bodies from trashed or rotted cars to factory new standards. He would be able to rebuild 223 with most of it’s original parts.

    How about the owners of 413 and 223 got together and start the process of officially switching VIN’s? I’m pretty sure the shock tower still has the “413″ stamp and there is plenty documentation to prove the car’s identity. That would improve the values of both cars and IMHO would increase the value of the “Miura” 7-liter even more.

    Would that be a too perfect scenario to ever happen? 8-)

    Maurice Mentens

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