My Car Quest

May 27, 2024

A Record Auction Price for a 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C

by Mike Gulett –

How much does celebrity ownership affect the selling price of a collector car? It depends on who the celebrity is. If it is Steve McQueen or Paul Newman it can have a huge impact. If it is Johnny Hallyday, the French singer and movie star, it may affect the price or maybe not.

Iso Grifo A3 / C

This rare 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C once owned by Johnny Hallyday sold for €1,805,000 ($2,042,899 USD) at the RM Sotheby’s auction in Le Castellet, France on 19 November 2021. This is believed to be a world record for this model (or any Iso model) sold at public auction. This example is one of the few with the riveted together aluminum body panels, which gives it the oh-so-cool airplane look.

Iso Grifo A3 / C

Iso Grifo A3 / C

How much of this record price is due to the Johnny Hallyday connection? It is hard to say. I could make a case for this price being the value of this example without the Johnny Hallyday connection but in reality we will never know because so few of these cars come to market we have little to compare it against.

Iso Grifo A3 / C and Johnny Hallyday

Hallyday only owned this Iso for a year or so. It has a documented history and does not suffer from accident damage or questions about its provenance like some Iso A3/C and Bizzarrini GT 5300 examples.

This Iso Grifo A3/C is special no matter who the previous owners were and is deserving of this record price.

Iso Grifo A3 / C

Iso Grifo A3 / C

Iso Grifo A3 / C

The auction company writes,

Chassis No. B 0209
Engine No. 691 F010750
Documents French Certificate of Registration

First delivered to the renowned French singer, Johnny Hallyday

The eighth made of 10 coveted ‘riveted’ Grifo A3 / C models built in 1964, one of only seven to survive

Known chain of ownership from new until the present day

Repainted in original burgundy exterior and subject to interior refresh work in May 2021

This example was the eighth of 10 riveted A3 / Cs made for 1964 and was delivered new to the Jean-Philippe Smet of Paris, better known as Johnny Hallyday. Deemed ‘the Elvis Presley of France’ by The New York Times, Hallyday had 100-plus million record sales and appeared in more than 30 films.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Iso Grifo A3/C Logo

Color photos of the 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C are compliments of RM Sotheby’s/Paolo Carlini.
A Record Auction Price for a 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C
Article Name
A Record Auction Price for a 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C
How much of this price for this 1965 Iso Grifo A3 / C is due to the Johnny Hallyday connection? I could make a case for this price being the value of this example without the Johnny Hallyday connection.


  1. Glenn Krasner says

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with all of your readers, and providing all your wisdom, expertise, and knowledge on the marque with us. I agree that Halliday or no Halliday, this example would have gone for a lot of baguettes!!!!! Glenn in Brooklyn, NY.

  2. The styling is my penultimate ideal of a sports car. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that inside is a small block Chevy. I’m both proud and let down somewhat at the same time, wishing someone would have spent money to make the engine a dohc, chain driven, small block Chevy adaptation.

  3. Wes Stewart says


    With all due respect, is anyone hand wringing about pushrod Ford V8s in Cobras or Panteras? Or pushrod Chevy C8 Corvettes?

    • That’s nice to see, well deserved for the version. What does this do for the other variants?
      I agree with Wes, I like the American V8 power plant personally.

  4. Actually Johnny did crash the car; the reason he sold it so soon. Not an easy car to repair body damage on! I haven’t seen the car in person lately but I presume it was repaired well during the last restoration. Indeed the provenance of B0209 is perfect and for sure why it fetched this selling price.

  5. Of course I admire the 1965 Iso, but I was just wishing. Indy 500
    ‘legend’ J.C. Agajanian built a 32 valve DOHC Studebaker V8 in 1952;
    it was 274 cubic inches and was said to make 370 hp at 7100 RPM on

  6. Wes Stewart says

    As a kid I owned a ’36 Ford Cabriolet (Wish I had it back). I installed a Studebaker V8 in it and told everyone it was a Caddy. No one could tell the difference. The main problem was after the hp increase over the flathead, the transmission became the weak link. I was constantly blowing the second gear retainer. I finally arc welded the retainer on, which prevented disassembly, but solved that problem but transferred it to the new weakest link, the rear axles.

    I could drive without second gear for the two weeks between paydays but once the axle twisted and sheared the key I became a hitchhiker.

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