My Car Quest

January 26, 2021

The Iso Grifo A3/C (Bizzarrini) – Pondering a World Class Race Car

by Wallace Wyss –

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. A genuine Iso Grifo A3/C (Bizzarrini) Le Mans race car driving on the street in Malibu. I saw it just before New Year’s at the infamous non-authorized Cars & Coffee in Malibu Village shopping center.

Iso Bizzarrini No. 0222

An awesome presence

These cars came about in 1964 when Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini was working for Iso in Italy engineering the steel bodied four seater GT touring cars called the Iso Rivolta. Bizzarrini who had developed the 250 GTO for Ferrari while in their employ itched to go racing so he talked Renzo Rivolta into making a two seater alloy bodied race car on a shortened Rivolta chassis. The car was reportedly designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone. The engine was a Chevy Corvette 327 cu. in. V8 (5.3 liters). For racing it had four side draft Weber carburetors mated to a Borg Warner 4-speed transmission.

Iso Bizzarrini No. 0222

The dashboard is the Series 1 type, which is laid out for a race car driver

Iso Bizzarrini No. 0222

The engine is pushed far to the rear – that panel on the dashboard is for access to the distributor

Only two were built in the ’64 season. This one, chassis No. BO222, was built in ’65 and competed at Le Mans winning its class and coming in 9th overall, beating Ferrari’s factory cars. The author of a monograph on the car Richard Heseltine, claims its top speed on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, nearly 190mph, bettered only by the 7-litre Ford GT Mk II.

At some point Bizzarrini had left Iso and Rivolta started making the steel bodied Iso Grifo GL. Bizzarrini, who owned the name Grifo, traded the use of the name back to Rivolta in exchange for being able to take the race car design with him and proceeded making the race cars under his own name at his own factory.

Iso Bizzarrini gas cap

The gas cap is in the rear window and an air intake nearby delivers air to the cabin – the gas cap on the Strada version is on top of the right rear fender and there is no air intake in that location on a Strada

Iso Bizzarrini

Front air intake below the headlights delivers air to the engine – on the Strada version these air intakes deliver air to the cabin

Iso Bizzarrini No. 0222

This air intake on the front delivers air to the cabin, there is no air intake there on a Strada

This winning race car belonged to a European collector who was killed in another vintage car and thus it came up for sale. It is now owned by Bruce Meyer.

I have been a fan of this type car for fifty plus years but it’s always a thrill to see one on the street.

Iso Bizzarrini art by Wyss

A Wallace Wyss portrait of the car on a lonely beach at 7 am in Malibu. The 20″ x 30″ work is oil on canvas. For pricing write malibucarart@gmail.com

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Wallace Wyss is a fine artist who specializes in oil portraits of exotic cars. He can be reached at malibucarart@gmail.com
 
 

All Malibu photos by Wallace Wyss. All photo captions written by Mike Gulett.

 

In the slide show below are photos from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016 (photos by Mike Gulett)

Bizzarrini logo

Summary
The Iso Grifo A3/C (Bizzarrini) - Pondering a World Class Race Car
Article Name
The Iso Grifo A3/C (Bizzarrini) - Pondering a World Class Race Car
Description
A genuine Le Mans race car, the Iso Grifo A3/C (Bizzarrini), driving on the street in Malibu.
Author

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great story about this car and it’s history Wallace. Your painting is beautiful.

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