My Car Quest

August 20, 2019

Why The Big Difference In Value Between The Maserati Bora and The Iso Grifo?

by Mike – 

At the Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance a few years ago a beautiful green 1973 Maserati Bora was parked next to a beautiful red 1974 Iso Grifo Series 2.

Maserati Bora

Iso Grifo

It started me thinking about why there is such a large gap in valuations between these two cars.

The Maserati Bora is valued at $175,000 and a small block Iso Grifo is valued at $442,000 according to the Hagerty Price Guide. Both of these values are for condition one cars. There are examples of these models selling for more than these numbers but the ratio of these values is about right in the market today.

Maserati Bora

If you compare the specifications for these two cars they are very similar. The numbers below for the Grifo are for the standard 327 cid Corvette engine and not the Ford 351 engine that is in this particular Grifo, which is rare. I wanted to be fair and compare the Bora to most Grifos.

They are both exotic Italians, styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro; he did the Grifo at Bertone and the Bora at his own firm, Italdesign Giugiaro.

They both have powerful V8 engines, the Grifo has a Chevrolet Corvette and the Bora has a Maserati engine.

Maserati Bora

They both produce mid-300 hp and accelerate from zero to 60 MPH in about the same time of 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 160 MPH for the Bora and 163 MPH for the Grifo.

One difference is that the Grifo is front engine and the Bora is a mid-engine layout. Another difference is the size; the Bora is 170.4 inches long compared to the Grifo at 174.7 inches long, a difference of 4.3 inches. The Bora is 44.6 inches high and the Grifo is 47 inches high for a difference of 2.4 inches.

So, for the same performance the Grifo is likely a more comfortable ride.

Maserati Bora

There were 571 Boras made between 1971 and 1980 and 402 Grifos produced, including Series 1 and Series 2, between 1965 and 1974. This is not a big enough difference in the number made to cause such a large valuation difference.

Iso Grifo

The valuation difference cannot be seen in the numbers. Maybe the complexity of the Maserati alloy 4-cam engine compared to the relative simplicity of the Corvette engine has an affect.

But I think it just comes down to desirability and maybe the wedge like shape of the Bora is not as desirable as the Grifo style even though they were penned by the same brilliant designer.

They were designed on different days.

Maserati Logo

Iso Grifo Logo

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Summary
Why The Big Difference In Value Between The Maserati Bora and The Iso Grifo?
Article Name
Why The Big Difference In Value Between The Maserati Bora and The Iso Grifo?
Description
Two classic cars with similar pedigrees have significantly different values to collectors.
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Comments

  1. Mark D. Carbone says

    Nice article. As always, Thank You

  2. Interesting comparison. I think the answer is that the Bora (mid engine wedge) appeals to a younger audience overall than the Iso Grifo. I believe the gap will evaporate over time as those that are more drawn to the lines of the Bora become more able to stretch for these cars. You see this scenario all over the collector car market…

  3. It actually has more to do with the fact that Maserati’s of this era are infested with Vulcan Blood from when Citroen controlled the company.

  4. Sounds like I should buy a Bora before everyone else figures this out!

  5. There are two main differences separating these cars in the value spectrum.

    1. The Grifo is from the most potent era of GT sports car design, the mid 1960’s. The long hood and fastback roofline embody the profile of passion and speed embodied in the young minds of enthusiasts throughout the collecting spectrum. It is an international car with great appeal. Virtually no question regarding the design or the provenance.

    2. The Maserati Bora and Merak suffer from being born in the WORST era of car design and manufacturing. While the Bora is a nice looking mid-engine design, the idea of the car gets lost in the era it was conceived. Couple that with the terrible Citroen connection of the same timeframe and you have a car that very few remember as worthy.

    The real question is not why is the Bora worth LESS, rather why is it selling for so much? The answer is in the Ferrari market surge of the past 5 years. A 308 GTB Dino of restored value is a mid engined car that now commands $100k for a nice example. The Bora (fewer made) commands the increase due to the visual and numeric rarity.

    My money, however, is on the Merak. A nice one is $60k. How long is THAT going to last?

    • Raffi, I am with you on the Merak – it was one of my affordable choices coming up at Amelia Island – http://mycarquest.com/2016/02/cool-classic-cars-for-auction-in-amelia-island.html

      Your other points are also on target, IMO.

      • wallace wyss says

        Both are designed by the same designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro.
        But part of the difference, (and I may be saying this because I am a book author) is that the Isos
        got a lot of ink in recent years, several books on them, as did Giugiaro, so they got more
        exposure than the Bora. Also the Citroen hydraulics were not only a pain in the rear in the Bora but in the Merak until DeTomaso had them taken out of the Merak.
        And also maybe some of the real truth is that a lot of oh-so-European car fans are hot rodders
        at the core, and know that a 352 Cleveland engine like that in the Iso can be bought at junkyards coast to coast for peanuts compared to Maserati V8s.

  6. I know which one drives brakes and handles better. I have owned a Bora for 14 years now and I think its value has suffered from a lot of bad press about its Citroen connection. Lets not forget that a lot of these stories depend on where you live, Citroen and Maserati both have great racing heritage. They have both won world class events, Citroen dominated the world rally championship for years. As for the predator blood used in the hydraulics, it is a mineral based oil, not the glycol based rubbish found in most brake systems. So you don’t have the same corrosion problems caused by water absorption. The master brake valve (master cylinder) has a life of over 400,000 klms and the hemispheres are not expensive to rebuild and only need regassing every 4 years.

  7. Hagerty’s valuation tool had not recently worked on the last 3 year Grifo’s. They recently sent me the values and they are more than you suggest, and this is for the small block cars.

    Fair 338k
    Good 396k
    Excellent 430k
    Show 487k

    -25k for automatic trans, +10k for factory air, +10k for 5 speed

    • Thanks for the information Reggie.

      I had noticed there is some Grifo data missing in the Hagerty on-line price guide. The numbers you report make it an even larger difference between the Grifo and the Bora shown here.

  8. William M. Craig says

    A lot of “purists don’t like a “hybrid”. When I got my Cobra in 1964 one of the SCCA crowd took one look at the Ford part of the A.C. and muttered:”only a hybrid”. To some, a “hybrid” is just one step away from a “home made special”. My favorite “home made special” was “Old Yellow” which was “buick” powered. History and racing results, even at Sebring, to me reveals the character of a ture sports car. I’ll take the Iso Grifo.

    There is another small, garden-variety thought to add to the Iso. I know it is a conventional car, but the engineer behind the Iso is far from “conventional”. I know he took a walk on Ferrari, but Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini gave us the simple G.T.O. The car does not have an IRS, for those who think the independent suspension is sent from heaven. The rear end of the GTO did the job. The motor is “up front” and 181 cubic inches, and the gear box is cranky with a long, long shifting lever like my old Ken Miles’ dying tulip design in my 427 Cobra. The total far outweighs the parts. Ferrari fired Bizzarrini and the casual fan will pass the Iso by for an exotic aluminum power plant. Remember, Ferrari gave you the car you needed instead of the car you thought you wanted, and Ing. Bizzarrini gives you a touch of the GTO in a “Q” ship as we called a “sleeper” many, many years ago.

  9. DONALD MACKINTOSH says

    these are all fine cars however for the money a Jensen intercepter III, with a 440 magnum engine is a better value if you like a hybrid. hand built, conley leather, wood dash adjustible suspension,air and available in a rag top.

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