Iso Rivolta. Maybe not the most well known Italian sports car manufacturer, but no less exotic for that. Brute force and haute couture. Beauty and beast without the sticky Disney sauce.
Whenever there is one thing Manuel Bordini kept from his youth in motor city Modena, it’s his love for Italian sports cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and of course the most alluring of them all, the Iso Rivolta. Striving for perfection Manuel always fancied the nec plus ultra of the motoring industry, Rolls Royce. Powerful, luxurious, comfortable, boring perfection. Until one day he got the opportunity to buy this very Iso Rivolta GT340. Two of his beloved British flagships had to give way, but the twinkle in his eye says it all. His love for the Iso is pure, passionate and blind.
The Genoese firm Isothermos S.p.A used to be specialised in thermic installations for industry and home when engineer and industrial heir Renzo Rivolta moved it to Bresso near Milan in 1942. As so many, Rivolta saw a future in the upcoming motorisation of the nation. In 1948 the firm introduced its first scooter on the home market, soon followed by several models; scooters, motorcycles and the legendary bubble-car, the Isetta. In 1953 the firm was re-baptised Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. Italia. A denomination ready for the future. Only in 1962 Rivolta could truly live his dream, when he introduced the Iso Rivolta 300.
The product of the coöperation between Giotto Bizzarrini, Giorgetto Giugiaro and Flaminio Bertone was a collection of the best parts available hidden underneath a gorgeous silk gown. The Chevrolet Corvette’s small block, suspension and brakes of the Jaguar saloons and the shape of a Roman goddess. The Iso Rivolta’s introduction at the Turin Motor Show was a bomb shell. The 300 was the perfect symbioses of American Muscle, British sportsmanship and Italian flair. The result a powerful 2+2 coupé with well balanced engineering, excellent road holding and the most seductive shapes. Iso would keep the Rivolta in production for seven years.
The red beauty in Manuels garage doesn’t leave much room to remember the British perfection it once pushed aside. The luxury, spaciousness and the whisper silent comfort made way for a thoroughbred Italian. Feisty, growling and passionate. Shape, sound, the never reluctant stamina, it makes you forget its little imperfections, its whims easily. It makes you forgive them. No two Rivolta’s are alike, they all carry their unique flaws, their unique character. Never the precision of British craftsmanship, but the passion of Italian engineering. No wonder once he was at the wheel of his Iso, Manuel never looked back at the Flying Ladies he left behind.
This very GT340 used to be a test car at the Iso factory. Little details like the scoop on het bonnet are unique to this here example. After nine months in the hands of test pilots and engineers the car was trusted to his impatient new owner. Fifty three years on she remains as seductive as she once was. Without obscuring the ladies respectable age, her beauty and temperament have only gained on attribution. Shape, details, performance and rampant driving pleasure are the things that make this Iso Rivolta one of our all time favourites.
Marc GF Zaan