With Maserati’s Quattroporte in mind, Iso creates the Fidia. CineCars presents part six of The Iso Rivolta Chronicles; Fidia. Big, sporty and luxurious.
Iso Rivolta was a pioneering Italian automotive brand in the 1950s and -60s. It was a family business led by engineer Renzo Rivolta, who, in the late 40s, decided to transform his firm from producing fridges to creating motorcycles. Rivolta was right; during the 50s, Italian motorcycle production was booming, led by Piaggio’s Vespa, Innocenti’s Lambretta and of course Iso Moto. He then changed his business to automobiles. From city cars, like the Isetta bubble car, to luxury sports cars with big American V8 muscle.
During the mid 60s, Maserati is about to end production of its iconic Quattroporte. It is one of the few luxury sport sedans the market has to offer and Maserati does not have a substitute for its very successful model. Rivolta wants to take advantage of the upcoming void in the market and decides to develop his version of a luxury saloon. Initially called Iso Rivolta S4, the model is presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1967, but rereleased as the ‘Fidia’ in Athens the following year. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Ghia, the boxy design features a lascivious interior with polished wood and hand-stitched leather. The richness of the materials used and the high development costs make the car more expensive than a Rolls-Royce.
Once again, the stretched version of the GT300 chassis is used. Like the other Iso Rivolta models, it features independent front suspension, a De Dion tube in the back and disc brakes all around. Initially the car was offered with a Chevrolet 327, in 300hp or 350hp trim, with the standard Borg Warner four-speed manual transmission or an optional five speed box by ZF. In 1970 the car is offered with the new Chevrolet 350 with the five speed transmission as standard. In 1971, the Fidia gets a relook with new exterior details, new interior – similar to the Lele’s – and a new dashboard. Later on the engine is changed to a Ford Cleveland, producing 325hp. The engine change presents some difficulties, as the new one is way larger than the previous and generates more heat. The car remains in production until 1974, when Iso Rivolta is forced to close the books. Only 192 S4/Fidia’s are produced, making it one of the rarest cars by Iso Rivolta.
The Iso Rivolta Chronicles is the first series produced by CineCars’ Italian counterpart An Italian Garage. They are an independent production studio, specialized in automotive videos, aiming for a series of single-topic seasons. This summer CineCars will bring you the full series of The Iso Rivolta Chronicles in HD. Stay tuned for more classic Italian engineering.
Marc GF Zaan