My Car Quest

July 4, 2022

The Iso Grifo (A3/L) Spider

by Mike –

At the beginning the prototype Iso Grifo was called the Iso A3/L. The name was later changed to Grifo.

In addition to the name change there were a few other changes from this first prototype coupe (chassis number 001) to the production Grifo.

Iso A3/L Spider

Iso A3/L Spider

Both Bertone and Iso were so pleased with the reception of the Iso A3/L prototype that they decided to make chassis number 002 a convertible version in 1964. Although it was Nuccio Bertone who pushed Renzo Rivolta for this and Bertone’s company did essentially all of the work.

Only one Iso A3/L (Grifo) Spider was made and it was made at Bertone, closely supervised by Giorgetto Giugiaro.

While reading the July 1970 issue of Road & Track recently I came across this classified advertisement for this same one of a kind Iso A3/L (Grifo) Spider for sale in New York for $12,500.

Iso Grifo Spider, A3/L

Iso A3/L Spider Advertisement

I am not sure what is on the front bumpers in the advertisement above. It looks like something used for pushing or bumping. What were they doing with this special car?

I believe that the next five pictures are publicity photographs. This A3/L Spider and the A3/L Coupe were taken to many car shows resulting in very positive publicity for both Iso and Bertone.

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

The nose and the hood are different on the prototypes than on the production Iso Grifo. Also note that the front badge is the Iso badge where later it would be the Griffon sculpture on the Grifo.

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

Notice the rear design difference between the Grifo Spider, in the first picture below, and a red 1968 Iso Grifo, in the second picture below.

Iso Grifo Spider

Iso Grifo Spider

Iso Grifo

1968 Iso Grifo

Below is the Iso A3/L Spider today neglected in storage in Southern California.

Iso Grifo A3/L Spider

Iso A3/L by Giugiaro

Iso A3/L Art By Giugiaro


  1. Mike, thanks for all the great photos.

    The reason the A3/L Spyer had those HUGE bumper overriders was because the owner, who purchased it at the NY Auto Show, actually PARKED IT ON THE STREETS OF MANHATTAN!!! That was to keep the nose from getting based in by parallel parkers! It obviously didn’t work, as the Spyder later showed up in a used car showroom, with a production Grifo nose grafted onto the front, and missing the central “nostril”–so it had obviously had front end damage. The car was originally red, then green, now red again. The interior was originally black, now tan. The photo of it sitting in the Rudy Klein collection in LA was actually taken in the 1980’s, and it hasn’t moved since.


  2. motorace says

    Mike – Thanks for including the artwork – I love seeing the artist’s original conception.

    FYI, a 1970 book titled “Bolide Design” has a b&w photo labeled ISO GRIFO SPYDER, but which looks more like a Targa with a fixed roll bar roofsection and a soft (unzip to remove) rear window. I’d be curious to know if it was converted from a coupe, or was it a special custom build by Bertone for a wealthy customer? I’ll email it to you since I do not see a way to attach it here.

    – Dan Eastwood

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