My Car Quest

July 18, 2024

The Strange Ones Are Being Brought To Classic Car Auctions Now

by Mike –

With record prices being set at nearly every classic car auction these days the car owners of the strange, incorrect, bizarre and “barn finds” are bringing their cars out to auction to strike while the iron is hot and the prices are high.

The rule of “originality is king” was suspended recently at Amelia Island where RM sold an Iso Grifo that had very little in common with its original design. Despite the complete lack of originality this custom car proceeded to set a world record price for the Iso Grifo model!

Here are some classic cars coming up for auction in Europe that require a double take and a little extra thought:

1972 Iso Grifo by Bertone

Iso Grifo For Sale

This late model Grifo is Ford powered as it should be but if you look close you will see it has the lower hood scoop that is standard on the 7-Liter which is Chevy powered. This Ford powered series 2 car should have a slightly higher hood scoop.

It also has a targa top that is not original. I am happy to see that RM did not label this a Targa model as they labeled No. 413 a 7-Liter in Amelia Island recently. This Grifo has series 1 wheels instead of the series 2 wheels and it left the Iso factory with an automatic transmission not the 5-speed it has now. I like the color though.

Iso Grifo For Sale

The RM listing is here – the description and estimate range have not been published yet.

1963 Iso Rivolta IR 300 GT by Bertone

Iso Rivolta GT For Sale

This Iso Rivolta GT is likely to be declared a “barn find” because there is a photo that appears to be as found. They also have not bothered to clean the car so they are going for the selling strategy of “dirt is patina”.

An interesting feature is the side pipe. Yes, only one side pipe on the right side. That takes some extra work to get both exhaust pipes routed to one side doesn’t it? But wait look again and you will see that the left exhaust is sticking out the left side on the back where it should be. I would love to know how this unique design feature came about – wouldn’t you?

Iso Rivolta GT For Sale

Patina Close Up

The RM listing is here – the description and estimate range have not been published yet.

1966 Iso Griffo (sic) Lusso

Iso Grifo For Sale

It is interesting that Coys cannot spell the model name of their cars but this car has a bigger problem. The chassis number: B 740001 is not an Iso Grifo chassis number but it is in the format of an Iso Fidia chassis number.

Coys must be proud of this because they prominently display a photo of the chassis plate which is not from a Grifo and the chassis number stamp which is not like any Grifo stamp from the Iso factory and the chassis number which is not in the format of a Grifo number (see the photo below).

Iso Grifo Chassis Tag

It will be interesting to see how Coys explains this one, or if they even try. No one responded to an email I sent to Coys asking about this issue.

Their description is published but does not mention the chassis number problem.

This looks like a nice Grifo but the incorrect chassis number stamp and plate is the elephant in the room.

The plate appears to be riveted over the place where the original factory stamp is located. I suggest that someone remove this plate and get a look at the real chassis number of this Iso Grifo.

1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada For Sale

This Green Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada sold at the RM auction at Villa d’Este in May 2011 for €400,000 ($552,000 at today’s exchange rate).

There is so much that is not correct about this car. It reminds me of the Iso Grifo No. 413 that was a complete custom design but yet sold for a world record price for an Iso Grifo.

The same thing could happen here as long as the buyer does not care, or know, about the non-original features on this car.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada For Sale

Not recognizable as a Bizzarrini GT 5300 interior

I have not seen this car in person but it looks beautiful to me. There is very little that agrees with the original interior design and the louvers on the rear look like the Miura style.

Oh, and that green color was likely invented by Lamborghini, certainly not an original Bizzarrini color.

The RM listing is here.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada For Sale

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The Strange Ones Are Being Brought To Classic Car Auctions Now
Article Name
The Strange Ones Are Being Brought To Classic Car Auctions Now
Custom classic cars and barn finds are coming out for the auctions in Europe.


  1. I rather like the green Rivolta and would love to drive that into Concorso Italiano just like it is OK maybe I would poke a few more holes in the exhaust.

  2. Arn’t those Dino seats in that Bizzarrini?

  3. Mike,

    The green 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy might be one of the most beautiful front-engine GTs ever built. And this was one of your best articles ever.

    As you follow this segment much more closely than I do, is this trend confined to Bizzarrini and Iso cars, or are you seeing any evidence of it among Ferraris and Lamborghinis from this era and into the 1980s? If it is confined to Bizzarrini and Iso cars, might this be attributed to the fact that they are powered by variations of mass-produced American V8s rather than Italian V12s with tiny pistons?

    • Rich,

      It is not confined to Iso and Bizzarrini. I just heard about a fake Maserati. I would say any car model of value is a potential victim. Faking an entire car is tough but some special features or history could be created by a seller. American muscle cars are also targets as well and likely easier to fake than some of the European cars.

      The techniques for promoting these cars are described here:

      These techniques are in use right now in several venues. On ebay, at classic car dealers and auctions.

  4. I like the Fiat 850 Sport Coupe taillights on that “Bizarinni” 🙂

  5. roger ramjet says


    I agree with Rich above: “…this is one of the best articles ever”
    This is one to be shared!!

    You very clearly point out, by inference, the responsibility of the “listing” agents.
    So far it is still a gray legal matter. But soon California attorneys will have a field day
    with auction houses and presenters of cars for sale in the internet.
    Just yesterday I found out that a friend of mine who just bought a classic car on E-bay,
    had it shipped to CA from MO, found out that it was miss represented and forced
    the seller to take it back and refund her all of the $$$!!!
    It is MUCH better business to be very upfront when representing cars for sale!!!!
    Attorneys will sue EVERY entity involved in the sale.

  6. Gerd Eckstein says

    Regarding the 1972 Grifo: I had a lengthy talk with one of the RM representatives and we went through
    all the pictures. I pointed everything out that was wrong, missing or incorrect. We counted at least 15 mishaps.

    Regarding the 1966 Grifo: The car looks and is probably original. Also has all the correct parts. The chassis # due to Negri’s build sheet list is the one of the first built ISO Fidia S4, the four door sedan. A nice and unique combination.By the way this S4 was originally delivered to BELGIUM.

    The green Bizzarrini is an original one #314. But it really lacks originality in many ways. Just to list them: incorrect are wire wheels, tail lights, exhaust system,,the entire interior, i.e. steering wheel, seats, console, door panels, dash board, all instruments (they are Jaeger and come out of a Lele or Fidia), the entire rear of the body(with Lambo Miura features) no front or rear bumpers.

    I haven’t seen this car in person but I am sure there is more to find.

  7. Just out of curiosity:

    How much would a Grifo bring that is not fake:

    Open headlight Grifo 7L, one of 66 made,
    original ZF 5-speed, only 17 made,
    comes with original Italian title,
    all numbers match according to the original ISO built sheet,
    car is 100% original, in original striking color combination in
    and out, restored to condition “better than new” to quote
    Piero Rivolta, who had seen this car.

    Will the buyer’s market accept such a car or does it have to
    be an incorrect and fake one to be successful?

    Just my two cents

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