My Car Quest

July 25, 2024

Why Race An Iso Rivolta? – Part 2

by Alan Collett –

Part 1 is here…

First time out I took a qualified instructor with me to get some initial advice on set up. We chose the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit because it has everything in one short lap, low speed, high speed, ups and downs. Initial impressions were good and with some adjustments to the dampers we soon had a sweet handling car, running on modern tyres – Yokohamas as that was my favourite tyre on my DB2.

In the UK we can race in either open races or Historic, the latter being to FIA Appendix K specification and on a control “historic” tyre. The set up for the two types of tyre is different and I certainly preferred to extra grip of modern rubber, but the car felt good either way.

Very neutral and secure on modern, and more lively, and a little inclined to power oversteer on Historics.

However my aim was achieved, I had wanted to run well up with the many Mustangs that race here, and first race, at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, I had a ball.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

Iso Rivolta Race Car

The Rivolta and I went to Spa, where the power really came into its own, Donnington and Oulton Park. The latter to run in the Gold Cup open meeting with the previous owner, a race instructor by profession, being very impressed by the results of the rebuild.

A series of operations on my left leg cut into my racing for three seasons and the car was little used, but in 2014 I got the call I was hoping for – an invitation to race at the Goodwood Revival, the UK’s premiere classic race meeting. This is an invitation only event and the call came with some conditions.

Each race has a theme and to fit the look of the event I had to change the appearance a little, to make it look more like a road car, to reflect the ethos of Clubmans racing in the 1960s when competitors often drove their car to the circuit.

Off came the stripes, on went the bumpers, and most expensive of all a set of replica Campagnola Wheels was obtained in Italy – machined for solid billet as no mounds for casting were then available.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

The control tyre was the L section Dunlop, a higher profile and narrower tyre than the M section I usually used in historic racing. Power oversteer became more of a problem, and even a day of testing at Castle Combe left me a little wary.

For the race I qualified 4th, started well and was briefly second. However an early spin on cold tyres, all my own fault, put me to the back of the field and I spent the next 15 minutes clawing my way back up the 9th.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

Iso Rivolta Race Car

Having achieved the pinnacle of my racing ambitions the Rivolta has taken a bit of a back seat in my life. When taken to Italian or general classic car days it is always admired. A couple of sprints have been the only outings.

In 2015 the Cholmondesly Pageant of Power in Cheshire.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

The Brighton speed trials, a straight 1/4 mile.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

And this year the Vernasca Silver Flag in Italy, a real blast, with a fast road event including a river valley section broken up with artificial chicanes, and then a memorable hill climb with sensational hairpin bends.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

Last but not least a final modification. Thanks to Mike Gulett the Rivolta now sports an intake manifold and 45mm Webers from his Bizzarrini GT 5300. Although they produce a little less power than the Holley or the 50mm Webers from earlier set ups the look and sound is sensational.

Iso Rivolta Engine

So how to sum up “why race a Rivolta” I shall quote from the 7 page article in Auto Italia (issue 216). Tested before the car was fully set up the writer said “The Rivolta may never have the raw ingredients to be a true front runner in historic racing but as a circuit spectacle and as a fabulously rewarding car to drive, few cars can beat this uncommonly beautiful yellow projectile”.

True I have not won my class, but in the Netherlands Rob Bergman’s stunning purple Rivolta sometimes even leads the Falcons – but then he is a younger and faster driver than me.

Let’s see how the next owner does as I think I am going to sail next summer.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Iso Rivolta Race Car

First outing at Brands Hatch

THE AUTHOR: Alan Collett lives in the countryside in Hampshire about 55 miles south west of London. His profession is as a Chartered Surveyor and he specializes in housing investment, advising M&G Real Estate, a subsidiary of the Prudential.

His interest in cars and motorbikes began as a kid, and he drove a 1934 Morgan 3 wheeler as his first car, moving on to an MGA, Austin Healey 100/6 and Mark 2 Jaguar – all when they were just cheap old cars.

His Rivolta came in 2004 to replace an Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark III, which he raced for about 15 years. His road classic is a 1979 Aston Martin V8, which he has owned since 1987. He now keeps just two bikes, a 1971 Norton Commando and a BMW 1200RT.



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Why Race An Iso Rivolta? - Part 2
Article Name
Why Race An Iso Rivolta? - Part 2
This is why the author chooses to race an Iso Rivolta GT - part 2.


  1. That is a cool Rivolta!

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