My Car Quest

December 8, 2022

Iso Grifo Hood Scoop – The Most Unusual Ever

by Mike –

In the last post about hood scoop car art I did not mention the Iso Grifo hood scoop designed for the big block engines because I was planning a separate post for the most unusual, and most famous hood scoop in the classic car world.

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

When Iso decided they wanted to put the Corvette 427 cid engine in the Grifo, which had an engine bay designed for the 327 cid, they needed extra space in the vertical direction.

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

The result was this hood scoop above. The car was branded the Iso Grifo 7 Liter and later the Chevrolet 454 engine version was also available in the Can Am model.

Iso Grifo Can Am

Iso Grifo Can Am

As you can tell it is not exactly a scoop but it serves the same purpose in addition to allowing a larger engine to fit without modifying the engine bay.

When Iso stared using the Ford 351 engine the scoop became a little higher than on the 7 Liter model as you can see in the pictures below.

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Over the years this hood scoop has become famous in the classic car world and people usually either hate it or love it. I love it, but it is note worthy that no other car company has copied this “pagoda” style as far as I know.

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Iso Grifo 7 Liter

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351

Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351 – photo by Richard Bartholomew

Below is the sales brochure for the Iso Grifo 7 Liter.

Iso Grifo 7 Liter sales brochure

Iso Grifo 7 Liter sales brochure

Below is the Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype. I had wondered why Iso didn’t use this elegant hood scoop for all Grifo models?

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype

Iso Grifo A3/L Prototype

I asked Piero Rivolta that question once and he said that hood scoops were expensive so the Grifo GL model (small block engine) has a small bulge rather than a scoop.

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo GL with the bulge instead of a scoop

Let us know what you think in the Comments.



Iso Grifo

Another Iso Grifo GL with the bulge instead of a scoop

Iso Grifo logo

All photos by Mike Gulett, unless otherwise indicated.

A version of this was originally published in November 2012.

Iso Grifo Hood Scoop - The Most Unusual Ever
Article Name
Iso Grifo Hood Scoop - The Most Unusual Ever
Over the years this hood scoop has become famous in the classic car world and people usually either hate it or love it.


  1. I’m not sure it’s totally correct to say that the 7-Litre “pagoda” was created for extra height clearance for the 427 engine. Although the prototype 7-Litre #201 had the Tri-Power triple carb setup (originally out of Piero Rivolta’s speedboat) and may indeed have needed the extra height, the first production 7-Litres (starting with #225) did not really need it for that particular reason. Indeed, #225 today wears a normal smallblock hood. There is evidently no clearance problem with a low-rise intake manifold. The first batch of 7-Litre cars, in fact, somehow had the body sitting higher on the (vestigial) frame, and you can see that these early cars (like my own #226) exhibit a higher stance on the road, with more clearance visible between the tops of the tyres and the wheelarches. Perhaps Iso thought there would be clearance problems with the bigger 225-section tyres? I don’t know. So, I think the original reason for the pagoda may have had a lot to do with providing an easy visual identification of the big-block model, which in most other visual respects was identical to the smallblock car. It was also usual for the 7-Litre cars to have a black-painted “roll bar” stripe over the roof and also a black vertical panel on the trunk lid. Plus the “7 litri” badges behind the side windows, of course.
    For a short time Iso referred to the 7-Litre as the “Super Grifo” (indeed, my car sports a “super” script on the trunk lid, along with a Griffon and the usual “Iso Grifo” script, and I know from 1968 London Motor Show photos that the car had these from new). After a while – and I don’t yet know exactly where the change occurred – Iso decided to lower the 7-Litre body back down to the normal position, and it is probably true that the car did then actually need the pagoda for engine clearance.

    • Chris,
      Since all of this happened long before I heard of Iso I get my information on this subject from “ISORIVOLTA The Men, The Machines” by Winston Goodfellow

      On page 287 it says:

      “First, the company examined different ideas on altering the 427’s placement in the engine compartment since it was two inches taller that its small block brethren. A hood scoop became the answer when an adequate solution was not found. The final design – a square “pagoda” – looked different from anything else and gave an air of formidable power, though marring the clean lines of the GL’s front. (Interestingly, no one wants to take credit for the pagoda’s design. While those at Iso say it was done in conjunction with Bertone, Bertone says it was born completely in-house by the Bresso concern.”

      It appears that the engine size was the original reason (this was the engine from Piero Rivolta’s boat) but maybe that changed later. Once they introduced this new Grifo style maybe Iso felt they could not go back even if the original reason was no longer valid?

  2. ~ inventive solution. the taller version is not as attractive.

  3. I believe it was originally built due to the height issue of the 427 big block. As stated by Chris there are numerous ways to do this, in fact the taller Ford engine can be made to fit under a standard hood today with some clever adaptations, but the Iso Rivolta Factory needed to ship cars with stock engines and that included stock manifolds and air cleaners. This meant that they needed more height. To test the point If you look at the Ford air cleaner it is huge package, Iso could have used many other lower profile air clears at that time, thus allowing them to use the original Pagoda hood, but they opted for the stock air cleaner and added another louver and more hood height. Sitting in the drivers seat the view over pagoda hood is impressive and reminds both driver and passenger that there is a big strong power plant pushing you down the road.

  4. I recall seeing the blue 1969 NY Auto Show 7L Grifo, and at the time remarked that the body looked too high for the tires, whereas the small block car, which was yellow, was just right. Having seen this same car last August at the Quail (now purple), I noticed that the seats were mounted on frame rails higher than stock (making it difficult for the owner of the car to fit!). So I think the hood scoop and mounting the body higher on the chassis were both possible solutions to making the larger engine fit, and Iso eventually lowered the body back down but kept the hood scoop.

  5. Awesome article and photos! I really like the red Grifo with the Ford engine, I believe it is Buddy Pepp’s Car.

    Also the dark red/copper Grifo with the Ford engine is awesome. I have not seen this one before?

    Thanks for the excellent photos!!!

  6. So classic cars. Iso Grifo Series 2 with Ford 351 looks so astonishing. Thank you for sharing the pictures. 🙂

  7. Diamonte Randal says

    Wow! Some really great photo’s of some extremely cool cars! I also REALLY like the two cars that Terry spoke about above.. The silver Can Am is a real peach as well.

  8. Mr. Pepp’s car is one of the best without question, however not in the same league as #369 and #405 IMO.

  9. Mike Clarke says

    I’d say all three were in the same league in more ways than I could count.

  10. Mike,
    That is sure a beautiful pant job you have on your Lele! Did the Grifo you use to own get shipped overseas?

  11. Diamonte Randal says

    All three are exceptional. One is a concours condition 1 car. The other two are unicorns in my humble opinion.

  12. These photos are really incredible! The Grifo with the hood scoop is one of my all time favorites.
    Just awesome cars,

    Thank you!

  13. I’m glad I have a few people who think like me. When I was 17 I saw my first Grifo roar by and this crazy testosterone-based hood scoop (we called it “table” in Holland) was the main thing I remember. My taste has never changed, it’s still THE most aggressive looking addition to the car model with the most beautiful styling ever. Of course opinions vary but that just shows how unique it is.

    Grifo 369 was the lowest mileage Grifo ever in this fantastic, untouched condition when I found it in 2014 a few miles from my house. There was no known comparable car in existence at the time. The owner wasn’t able to drive it anymore but still asks me once in a while how the car is doing. I can tell him it’s in very good hands.

    Then last year Grifo 405 was unearthed from it’s slumber… (The bronze car above shows it’s very first outing since 1979.) After sorting (the motor was seized) and driving it I have come to believe this is THE most original and lowest mileage Grifo on the planet. It has 6000 original miles and I’m afraid to put too many more on it, it’s a true time capsule. I wish I had more time to blog about it on my site but I will at one time, you’ll be stunned about the quality of this car. Not counting the missing serial numbers it is MY opinion there is indeed no comparable Grifo in existence. And yes, with that FANTASTIC hood scoop!! 😎

    • Diamonte Randal says

      You seem to find all the GREAT cars! I know that 405 was at C&C a number of months ago in southern calf., and it is truly awesome, what a find and true treasure. It is so very rare to have a car like this that is SO ORIGINAL in the condition it is in. You are going to be know as the “Iso Whisperer”.

      Indeed just outstanding!!

      • Very interesting, and thanks for the update on the two Grifo’s! What a unique situation to be in. Does 369, and 405 have AC? Can’t have everything, right?

      • Like I always say; I’m fortunate they find ME. The C&C in Malibu was it’s second outing and went well. But at it’s first outing to the Petersen Museum I found out the fuel gauge was just kidding and caused a major traffic jam on the 405. How fitting – isn’t it? Not much whispering going on when you’re stalled there!

        Actually; both cars have the perfect (for me) specs: ZF 5-speed and A/C so one CAN have everything in a sense. Grifo 405 is being sorted now and can hopefully be shown in the Preservation Class at Pebble Beach. Not expecting to win because I know someone is prepping a very heavy hitting Ferrari 275GTB 4-cam for this class and F-cars still have the edge. It will just be nice to show off how unique this car is.

        • My dream “set up” a later model Grifo long nose with a ZF 5-speed and A/C.

          If I can find the right car in the future this is what I have always wanted. I drove a series II about 9 years ago and it was an indelible moment in my life. Just fantastic cars that look and feel awesome, and should be a good investment into the future.

          This is a fabulous article with awesome pictures and first class dialogue!

    • I can’t wait to see this car! I’m sure there are some collectors that would love to own this one.
      A car like this will always do well! Thanks for the info.

  14. When I attended Concorso Italiano in 2015 I had the opportunity to sit in Grifo 406, that I believe is shown above in the bright red color (Mr. Pepp’s car looks like).
    Everything about this car felt amazing. This car was just perfect down to the fire extinguisher in the trunk. Hard to forget the feeling I had in that fine car.

  15. I remember the first time I saw one of these go by, between the look and the sound I was in love. I had one a year later and told myself I would never part with it. My first wife and my divorce changed that and I had to sell my prized Grifo 🙁

    One of the biggest regrets of my life literally.. Not the divorce, but having to let my macho machine go.

    I wish I still had that car, not because of the appreciation that would come, just because I was so attached to it.

    Brings back great memories!

  16. I lost my 308 GTS to the ex and watched her new boy drive it, and that drove me crazy. (pardon the pun)

    Losing a Grifo would have been much more painful.


  17. Art, me too. I’ll never forget the first one driving by but was too expensive for a struggling student. So we only differ in how long it took me to finally buy my first one. But after that many unique cars came and went but Grifos stayed. Great taste you have, you too Bram and Zeberg!

  18. I am in the process of restoring Iso 368. It is a 1972 Can Am car powered by a 454 with a 5 speed and air. Have owned it for 10 years and was red/red when I bought it. Now it is going back to Gray/ tan like when it left the factory. A better looking car would be hard to find. Runs like the wind. Own several other cars and this one stands out.

  19. Yes I purchased the car from him in October of 2006 .

  20. Diamonte Randal

    I plan to post more photos of Buddy Pepp’s Iso Rivolta soon.

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