Refrigerators to Le Mans

13 June 2022

Iso Rivolta started life as Isothermos, a company founded by Renzo Rivolta just before WWII that manufactured electric heaters and cooling units. The war took its toll with bombing destroying much of the factory; after the war, Rivolta decided to focus on motor scooters and small motorcycles.

Rivolta then created the tiny Isetta bubble car; at that time, it seemed most unlikely that one of their next creations would be a V8-powered GT car. In 1965 Renzo Rivolta did just that with the magnificent Iso Grifo.

The Iso Grifo used a variety of American V8 engines to take the fight to the established leaders in the grand tourer segment. At launch, the Bertone-styled Iso Grifo was considered one of the most beautiful cars in the motoring world.

Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A., always considered one of Italy’s interesting low-volume car manufacturers, closed its doors in 1974 during the oil crisis. Ever since that sad date, there have been rumours that Iso would be resurrected. In 2020 the Iso Rivolta GTZ Zagato was the first model unveiled by Iso since its demise.

The car features styling strongly influenced by the 1963 Iso Grifo A3/C, a car that won its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 and 1965. The A3/C developed by Giotto Bizzarrini, the man who created the Ferrari 250 GTO.

Bizzarrini loved the A3/C so much that after he left Iso due to differences of opinion with Renzo Rivolta, he started his marque and released a version of the car called the Bizzarrini 5300 GT.

As to the latest iteration, when the Iso Rivolta launched in 2020, the world sat up and took notice. The Iso Rivolta A3/C influenced the new car, just like the original, powered by a Corvette V8 engine.

The project to build the GTZ is led by Italian design and coachbuilding firm Zagato, with each of the 19 cars built in Zagato’s Milanese workshop.

Each Iso Rivolta GTZ takes over 2,500 hours of labour to complete; they feature an entire carbon fibre body with a discreet roll cage for protection. The GTZ engine is a V8 from a C7 Corvette Z06, a 6.2-litre supercharged engine producing over 650 bhp at 6,400rpm.

The new Iso Rivolta GTZ may be the world’s only car directly resulting from a love story. In the mid-1990s, third-generation coachbuilder Andrea Zagato was introduced to third-generation Iso GT car constructor Marella Rivolta; they fell in love and married. Since then, the two have made quite the team living and working together, returning Zagato to the forefront of creating one-offs and bespoke, high-performance, limited-production models.

Enter the beautiful Iso Rivolta GTZ