My Car Quest

July 13, 2024

Iso Grifo And Iso Rivolta GT In Hungary

by Mike –

Adam Bolcs wrote to me about his Iso cars recently. He has an Iso Grifo (chassis no. 203) and an Iso Rivolta GT (chassis no. 589). An Iso Lele (chassis no. 280) is owned by a friend.

It was his beautiful green Iso Rivolta shown at The Millenáris Velodrom in Budapest, Hungary.

I have made some changes from the original post correcting some mistakes that I made from my communication with Adam.

Iso Grifo

The following is from Adam BOLCS in sunny Budapest, Hungary

Iso Grifo

My Grifo was built on the 5th of July ’68 and was sold in the USA to Mr. Moleba, or maybe Moleba was the dealer’s name? I don’t know the history of the car.

Iso Grifo, Iso Rivolta GT

In the ’80s, I was told, that the car was sold in Canada and because of the weather conditions it became very rusty.

In 2004 a German man bought it from Canada and when he recognized that it needs a total restoration he decided to sell the car.

I bought it in 2005, it worked, I drove it with a temporary plate during the summer and later decided to do a major restoration.

Roberto Negri started the work on it in March 2006 and it was ready in May 2008.

Iso Grifo

Information Wanted

If anybody could help me understand what happened with my Grifo in the USA or in Canada I would really appreciate it.

I don’t know how many owners it had or who they were maybe someone knows about it?

Thanks in advance.

Why I bought Grifo No. 203

I wanted to buy a small block light blue ’68 Grifo because I had (still have!) a Matchbox Grifo when I was a kid and that was my favorite toy car, and at that time my father’s car (not a Grifo) was also light blue.

Why ’68? I was born in ’68 and the Grifo Matchbox also appeared in the same year.

So I decided in the fall of 2003 that if I can find one, I’ll buy it.

Everybody from the Iso world told me that it will be minimum a couple of years to find the desired car.

I started to search and in 2004 our first child was born, I needed a four seater now also. That’s why I bought the GT in the meantime.

At the beginning of 2005 I found the Grifo, which was red, and a ’69 by the Canadian papers. It turned out  that originally it was light blue and built in ’68!

Iso Grifo No. 203 When It Was Red

Iso Grifo No. 203 When It Was Red

It had the original beige interior, I preferred that colour instead of black (the Matchbox also has a light interior).

It had original air conditioning, which was important for me. So in one year I found exactly the desired Grifo.

During the total restoration it was fitted with factory power steering.

Iso Grifo On The Road

Iso Grifo On The Road

Iso Rivolta GT

My Iso Rivolta GT was built on the 20th of December ’66 and was sold on the 2nd March ’67 in Rome to Ditta Rampelli.

They used the car till ’76 and then parked it in their garage because the clutch went bad. In ’85 a German man, Rudolf Houben, bought the GT with 66,000 kms  and he transported it to Köln.

He didn’t register the car, and he used it only for Iso meetings with temporary plate and in 20 years he covered 4,000 kms. In 2004 I bought the car and it had 70,000 kms.

I repainted the Iso at Roberto Negri’s in Italy and it now has 75,000 kms. Before  painting we removed the engine, cleaned and changed some parts to make it absolutely perfect.

Iso Rivolta GT No. 589 Before Adam Bolcs Bought It

Iso Rivolta GT No. 589 Before Adam Bolcs Bought It

Below is a picture of another GT in Hungary before restoration. The owner started to restore it 20 years ago, there were a lot of missing parts in the meantime due to at least 5 relocations.

Iso Rivolta GT No. 751 Waiting For A Good Owner, Also In Hungary

Iso Rivolta GT No. 751 Waiting For A Good Owner, Also In Hungary

I do not have a picture of the Lele but I will take some in the spring and send them to you. My friend is doing some work on the Lele and I hope it will be ready soon.

The photos below were taken at the Oldtimer Show Budapest in 2009 where my Grifo won the FIVA committee’s first prize.

Iso Rivolta GT

Iso Rivolta GT

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo

The Grifo received its FIVA Passport in 2008 and the Rivolta GT in 2011.

Photos above courtesy of Adam Bolcs.

Iso Grifo Badge

 Iso Grifo Badge


  1. Mike Matthews says

    I Stumbled across this site after being asked what happened to the Iso Grifo that I had owned.
    Well, I can now say that it is in a good home!
    I am the last owner of #203 in Canada.
    Yes, it had certainly become rusty.
    A previous owner had the Iso “restored”.
    The restoration included mediocre work, incorrect drivetrain, and buckets of filler!
    I had great plans to return it to its blue glory, but became stalled by having a family, and all that entails.
    The proper engine was prepared, then, sadly, I let the car sit in storage for about 10 years.
    I realized that it was such a loss to have this machine sitting in the dark, waiting for me to turn my attention to it.
    Hence it was purchased by the buyer in Germany, and I lost track of it.
    Perhaps this note may end up seen by Adam; I likely have plenty of additional info about his lovely car……

    • Mike, on the birth certificate of the #203 there is a name Mr. Moleba.and we didn’t know if it is the first owner or the dealer.
      It turned out that there was a company in Canada (Montreal) which built snowmobiles in the ’60 and 70’s called Moleba Autoneige.
      Iso also produced snowmobiles in those days. Maybe they were in connection?
      Maybe the founder of this company was the first owner of the Grifo?
      A year ago I received a picture about the #203 on a racetrack close to Montreal in the ’70s from Briston Films Limited, 1490.Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec.Tel: 933 27 95.
      It also shows that the car was on that area.

  2. Yves Boulanger says

    Moleba was a short-lived sports and racing car shop in Mercier near Montreal, Canada. It was owned by a fellow named Andre Leclaire. Along with an Italian mechanic called Bruno Tagliani, they wanted to bring Italian sports and racing cars in Canada and eventually build racing cars here. They started business around 1968 and after 1971 were no longer active. They were an Alfa Romeo dealer and advertised themselves as Iso importers, but I have found no trace of another Iso imported in Canada. They imported a couple Italian single seaters, a BWA which they entered in Formula B races, a Formula C, and a 250cc single seater that they had repowered with a Laverda 750cc (!).

    They kept busy in the winter making and selling snowmobiles. They first advertised the Sno Ghia which was Italian built, then they sold their own machine which was powered by an Italian Guidetti 2 stroke engine. It doesn’t seem to be related to Iso snowmobiles.

    Bruno Tagliani is grandfather of racing driver Alex Tagliani.

    From 1988 I have lived very near Moleba’s facility, a two story house/office and a large lot that was originally used as a test track; after Moleba it became a VW scrap yard. The building was torn down a coule years ago and the lot was redeveloped.

    I did see 203 once on the road near here, some time after 1988.

    A road test of 203 appears in a publication “Guide de l’auto 1969” by local journalist and race driver Jacques Duval.

  3. Wallace alfred Wyss says

    We Yankees have a fascinating and persistent dream that we can go to a furrin’ country and find an exotic they cannpt afford. I found them but didn’t buy like a Bizzarrini in Holland with rectangular headlamps. we even get excited when a economy goes sour , remember when Venezuela was on top of the world–probably they bought lots of sports cars that are cheap now. But maybe they look the same way at the US –fine pickins’ maybe in 2009. But importing the car from a far off land must be perilous (even things like dropping it from the hoist on a ship). Like to hear some stories about bringing automotive treasure back from abroad.

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