This is the 1966 Iso Rivolta IR 300, it is a rare car with Italian and American ancestry designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro di Bertone and engineered by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini – the father of the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Unlike its more exotic Italian counterpart, the IR 300 is powered by a reliable and easy to repair Corvette V8 that produces 300 bhp and delivers the car’s performance on par with (or better than) many of its counterparts.
Quick Facts – Iso Rivolta IR 300
- The Iso Rivolta IR 300 would be the first gran turismo car made by Iso Rivolta, released in 1962 and sold until 1970. The model name stands for “Iso Rivolta 300 hp” – because this is how much power Chevrolet produces. V8 produced.
- The IR 300 was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro who was working at Bertone at the time, he is then widely regarded as the greatest car designer of the 20th century.
- The car’s engineering was carried out by Giotto Bizzarrini, a former Ferrari engineer who had developed many of Ferrari’s largest road and race cars of the time – including the 250 GTO.
- The IR 300 featured here has been modified for competition use, has been set up as a track day/race car for FIA Appendix K and is eligible for many prestigious events.
From Bubble Car To Supercar
Iso Rivolta started in 1938 as Isothermos of Bolzaneto in Italy, a company that made refrigerators and heaters. It was purchased by Renzo Rivolta in 1939 and later suffered serious damage in a bomb attack during World War II.
Above Video: This film looks at the history of the Iso Rivolta IR 300, also offering some beautiful footage (and audio) of the car being driven. Please enable closed captioning (CC) for language options other than German.
Immediately after the war, Renzo Rivolta started turning the company around and producing cheap motorcycles and small scooters – they were in high demand after the war as the country struggled to bounce back.
A few years later in the early 1950s Renzo Rivolta developed the Iso Isetta, a bubble car (or microcar) designed to be halfway between a motorcycle and a small car in terms of cost.
Although sales were never successful in Italy, Rivolta licensed its designs to a number of manufacturers in various countries, the most profitable of which was Germany, where BMW produced more than 160,000 sample designs for local consumers.
In the 1960s Renzo Rivolta wanted to team up with the likes of Ferrari and Jaguar, he founded Iso Rivolta and in 1962 released Iso’s first luxury GT car – the IR 300.
This will be followed by the Iso Grifo and the Iso Grifo A3C developed by Bizzarinni, a Le Mans capable racer and true successor to the 250 GTO.
Iso Rivolta IR 300
As the first production GT car from Iso, the IR 300 has always been special. The fact that it was designed by one of the greatest car designers in history, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and engineered by the father of the 250 GTO only adds to its allure.
Bizzarinni developed a pressed steel and welded panel chassis for the IR 300, had a dual A-arm front suspension that was not as long as de Dion’s rear suspension, and which was unusual for the time to have four-wheel disc brakes.
Power will be provided by a 5.4 liter V8 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette which produces 300 bhp. Using the Corvette V8 makes it easy to procure engines for Iso, spare parts are also easy to order, and there are no problems with engine reliability or complicated maintenance.
Initially the engine was equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission, a 5-speed manual and an optional 3-speed automatic would follow.
The IR 300 was first publicly shown at the 1962 Torino Motor Show, it was received positively although some might be a little confused that the father of bubble car Iso Isetta had also put together this new luxury GT car.
A total of 797 examples of the Iso Rivolta IR 300 would be built by 1970, 167 of which were the IR 340 with the option of an upgraded 340 bhp engine.
1966 Iso Rivolta IR 300 Race Car Shown Here
The car you see here is a 1966 Iso Rivolta IR 300 that has been significantly modified for vintage motorsport competition. It comes from the factory as one of only 13 ever made with a right-hand drive, and was first registered in the UK in 1967.
The current owners have owned the car for 12 years, they have carefully prepared it as a track day/race car to the FIA Appendix K specs. It has a newly rebuilt Corvette V8 engine made by Martin Saville, a Muncie-style 4-speed gearbox , and a limited slip differential.
The car has competed in the HSCC Historic Touring Car series and with its HTP docs it will qualify for many of the world’s most prestigious vintage racing events.
If you want to read more about this unusual Italian/American racer, you can visit the list at Bonhams here. It will roll across the auction block on June 24 and the guide price is £50,000 – £60,000, which makes for around $61,400 – $73,700 USD.
Image courtesy of Bonhams
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