My Car Quest

July 18, 2024

The Iso Grifo Prototype Style Compared To The Production Iso Grifo

by Mike –

There are a few design differences between the first Iso Grifo, the A3/L prototype, and the production Iso Grifo. You would expect this because it is probably true for every car.

Prototypes are designed to look great and to impress all who see them at the car shows when a new model is being introduced as well as to help work out the bugs for the production version.

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype

1963 Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype

Iso Grifo GL

1968 Iso Grifo GL

The Iso Grifo A3/L certainly did its job when it was introduced in 1963. It was widely praised on the new car show circuit. However, when it was time to go into production Iso decided to make a few changes, some to save money and some to make the car better.

Here you can see some of the differences between the one and only silver A3/L and the red Iso Grifo chassis number GL740157, which is my Grifo.

There were a total of 413 Iso Grifos made, there were not all red. There were some design changes made over the years most notably the front end change to what is called the series two covered headlight style.

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype

The hood scoop (similar to that on the Iso Rivolta GT) and the louvers on the prototype are quite different than the production hood with the little bulge.

Iso Grifo hood

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype interior

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype Interior

The steering wheel button, which seems to be made of wood on the A3/L, and the gear shift lever are the most noticeable differences to me. I do also notice that the parking brake handle is in a different location, the wing window knob looks like it came from an Iso Rivolta GT, the ash tray is missing in the A3/L, the door handle is different and the electric window switch is on the door in the A3/L, where it is on the center console in the production version.

There are probably other differences that Iso Grifo experts will comment on.

Iso Grifo GL Interior

Iso Grifo GL Interior

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype door handle

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype Door Handle

The beautiful door handle on the A3/L looks very similar to the series one door handle on the Bizzarrini GT 5300. The button on the production Iso Grifo looks like the series two Bizzarrini GT 5300 door button.

Iso Grifo door handle

Iso Grifo GL Door Button

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype rear view

Iso Grifo rear view

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype exhaust pipe

The side air grille and especially the treatment of the side exhaust pipes are quite different, notice the bulge above.

Iso Grifo side of car

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype roof

The A3/L roof has a beautiful metal, maybe polished stainless steel, going over the top and the little mirror like device behind the windows where the production version has a body colored metal over the top and air vents behind the door windows.

Iso Grifo roof

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype rear view

The A3/L has the vent over the left fender and what looks like a vent on the right fender. There is, however, a gas tank filler cap under the right fender vent as on the production model. The production model has a key lock for access and the A3/L does not. I assume that the A3/L has a cable release for the gas cap cover.

It is also fascinating that the A3/L has the vent on the left fender because we know that the first several production examples did not have this vent as we saw in Iso Grifo No. 009.

Iso Grifo rear view

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype front view

There are many differences in the front end style as you can see from these photos. You can also see from the painting below that Giugiaro changed his mind on some features between the time this painting was made and when the A3/L was made. Look closely at the hood.

Iso Grifo front view

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype painting by Giugiaro

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype Painting by Giugiaro

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype from angle view

Iso Grifo front angle view

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype side view

The sides views show many of the differences – look at the vents behind the rear wheels.

Iso Grifo side view

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype rear angle view

Iso Grifo rear angle view

I am sure there are other differences – let us all know what you think in the comments.

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype Logo

Iso Grifo logo


  1. That shifter looks very much like the HURST shifter I put on my Tremec TKO600.

  2. Mike,
    interior door latches are different as is the passenger grab handle and its placement.
    The rear screen is longer on the A3/L and the trunk lid is almost straight across on its trailing edge, whereas the production Grifo has more of a dome to it.
    Front and rear bumpers are one piece on the A3/L and 3-piece on the production cars.
    I believe the engine may be even further back in the chassis on the A3/L.

    you need to find yourself a horn push that’s not faded out to yellowy-green by the hot Californian sun!

  3. Thanks Chris,

    I knew there were more differences.

    My steering wheel button is faded and I have thought about trying to polish it with those plastic headlight polish kits but have not been willing to risk what might happen. I don’t want to make it worse.

    BTW, this button is not the horn it flashes the bright lights as you know so the driver can tell the person in front to get out of the way.

  4. What would the price range be for these red

Speak Your Mind