My Car Quest

October 23, 2019

The Iso Grifo – Transcending Cool

by Mike –

More and more car connoisseurs have recognized the Iso Grifo in recent years as a very cool Gran Turismo (GT) that compares more favorably to period GTs from Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and all other GT manufacturers.

The Grifo is cool partially because of its exclusivity, only “insiders” know about it. It is a beautiful timeless Giugiaro design that performs with the best. It is difficult to define why something is cool but the Iso Grifo is there.

This helps explain a dramatic increase in the value of the Iso Grifo over the last few years, which has kept pace with, or exceeded, the market appreciation for collectable cars. I expect this to continue for the Iso Grifo.

Cool is valuable – just ask a collector of Andy Warhol art. Giorgetto Giugiaro ranks with Warhol in the cool art department with Giugiaro’s canvas being steel and aluminum car bodies.

This past August we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the magnificently cool Iso Grifo at Concorso Italiano during Monterey Car Week.

Three Grifos were chosen to drive across the stage as part of the celebration.

The first Grifo made – the prototype, No. 001, owned by The Blackhawk Collection

The first Grifo made - the prototype, No. 001

The first Grifo made – the prototype, No. 001

The first Grifo made - the prototype, No. 001

The first Grifo made – the prototype, No. 001

The last Grifo to leave the Iso factory – No. 412, owned by Michael Hart

The last Grifo to leave the Iso factory - No. 412

The last Grifo to leave the Iso factory – No. 412

The last Grifo to leave the Iso factory - No. 412

The last Grifo to leave the Iso factory – No. 412

One made in the middle – No. 101, owned by me, Mike Gulett

One made in the middle - No. 101

One made in the middle – No. 101

One made in the middle - No. 101

One made in the middle – No. 101

On the stage were Keith Martin, the master of ceremonies and the publisher of Sports Car Market Magazine, Darren Frank who provided his in depth expertise on all things Iso (he is a very rare second generation Grifo owner) and Piero Rivolta former president of Iso S.p.A. Automotoveicoli and the son of the company founder. How many car companies presidents from the 1960s are still with us? It just doesn’t get any cooler than this for an Iso lover.

Darren Frank, Piero Rivolta and Keith Martin

Darren Frank, Piero Rivolta and Keith Martin – How Cool is That?

 

 

More photos of Iso Grifo No. 001 are in the slide show below.


 

More photos of Iso Grifo No. 412 are in the slide show below.


 

More photos of Iso Grifo No. 101 are in the slide show below.


 

The people on stage.

All photos above by Dave Tomaro of Sports Car Market Magazine (my thanks to Darren Frank).

Bianca Beltran

Bianca Beltran

I mentioned to Keith Martin, while he was interviewing me, that I live locally and that I drove my Grifo to the event.

This prompted a local TV reporter, the lovely Bianca Beltran, who was covering Monterey Car Week to follow me from the stage, with her cameraman, and she requested an interview. Naturally I agreed.

I tell you gentlemen if you drive an Iso Grifo the ladies will believe you are very cool and will want to meet you.

 
 

Mike Gulett with Bianca Beltran on KSBW TV

Mike Gulett with Bianca Beltran on KSBW TV (photo by Mike Clarke)

Mike Gulett with Bianca Beltran on KSBW TV

“Top Story” Mike Gulett with Bianca Beltran on KSBW TV (screenshot)

Watch the short video Concorso Italiano celebrates Italian cars at this link.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Read about the history of the Iso Grifo at this link.

Iso Grifo Logo

The New Cool

Bruce Caron and Mike Gulett in Iso Grifo

Bruce Caron and Mike Gulett – Grifo Cool

Iso Grifo Logo

Summary
The Iso Grifo - Transcending Cool
Article Name
The Iso Grifo - Transcending Cool
Description
The Iso Grifo is a beloved classic and a very cool GT.
Author

Comments

  1. Rob Krantz says

    Neat! Congratulations Mike! Can you post the interview video with the pretty reporter lady? Would be fun to see that.

  2. Is one of the engines used more desirable, or is it subjective? I know that the Can Am version had a 454 Chevy, but I have heard that compared to a boat anchor as it is so heavy for the car. Also, the 351C Ford motor sounds very good in the Series II cars, and those cars have that front stability bar that is a big improvement over the older models. Other than that what are the strengths and weaknesses of the different motors relative to the Grifo?

    • Mike Clarke says

      Ralph,

      That is a good question I have owned a number of Iso cars over the years with both the GM engines and Ford engines. I prefer working on the small block Chevy cars using the 327 and the 350, because there is a lot more engine compartment space and the plugs are easy to get at. I feel the GM and the ford 351C have about the same amount of HP but as you mention the later Ford cars have the brace bar and this provides more rigidity for the front suspension, hence the Ford cars have a bit better handling.

      The other aspect is rarity, the big block cars top this list, followed by the Ford 351C’s, the GM small blocks having been installed in the most cars.

      Both GM and Ford engine work equally well in the Grifo with the Ford you get a ZF 5 speed I think this is an advantage over the Borg Warner 4 speeds, but some GM Grifo’s also came with the ZF 5 speed too!

      Ford cars all came with the hood riser AKA pagoda hood. Some people really like it, others dislike it few are in between.

      My favorite for driving – any Iso with a Ford 351C with the ZF 5 speed, for looks Series two Grifo with a GM engine.

      All Iso’s share the same chassis and provide a beautiful driving experience.

      • Mike,
        You said “My favorite for driving – any Iso with a Ford 351C with the ZF 5 speed, for looks Series two Grifo with a GM engine. ”

        I did not think that the series two Grifo with the Ford engine looked any different than the series 2 Grifo with the GM engine?

        Is the pagoda hood a bit less tall?

        I love the series 2 cars! The 7 liter car I saw in Monterey was just driving down the street, and I did not see it with the other Grifo’s at Concorso Italiano.

  3. The Grifo IS Transcending Cool! I was at Concorso Italiano and saw plenty of Lambo’s and like. However when I saw the 7L red Grifo with the pagoda hood it made my jaw drop. I think the Grifo is way cooler than having a newer exotic. These cars are works of art, and I see them continuing to appreciate into the future as a result!

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