Iso Rivolta IR 300
Renzo Rivolta was born in 1908 in Desio, an Italian industrial city not far from the Monza circuit. In his thirties, he became interested in a company named Isothermos of Bolzaneto, based out of a suburb of Naples. Rivolta bought it when it was still specialised in building refrigerators and heaters. After the Second World War, he relocated to the Milan area after the original factory sustained heavy damage from bombing raids. Rivolta began producing small, inexpensive scooters and motorbikes. In a country slowly recovering from a devastating war, demand was high.
In the years that followed, Rivolta slowly transitioned his company from two-wheeled transportation to cars. The name also changed, renaming it Iso Autoveicoli. Although initially unsuccessful, his first design later became an icon. Rivolta drew up plans for a tiny, egg-shaped car and named it Isetta. He struggled to sell it at home but licensed it to a number of foreign car makers. BMW picked up on the Isetta and would go on to sell 160,000 examples of the adorable automobile.
As the 1960s dawned, Iso was ready to make the next step. It decided to focus on building Grand Tourers. Thus, Iso Autoveicolo became Iso Rivolta in an attempt to compete with the juggernauts of the era: Jaguar and, of course, Ferrari. The first car, named the IR300, arrived in 1962. Because Rivolta lacked experience in building big luxury cars, he opted to collaborate with engineer Giotto Bizzarrini - who would go on to play a key role in the creation of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO. To design the car’s striking looks Rivolta worked with another future heavyweight of the Italian car industry: a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, who worked for Bertone at the time.
The car’s power plant proved to be a relatively simple solution. Instead of designing and building its own engine, the choice fell on a 5,4-liter Chevrolet 327 V8. It was simple and relatively cheap, but produced more than enough power. Iso Rivolta unveiled the IR 300 to the world at the 1962 Turin Motor Show. Despite a positive reception, it never became a sales hit. Only 797 IR 300s were sold before production was seized in 1970.
Of the nearly 800 IR 300’s built, a number of them ended up in historic auto racing. This particular chassis (IR 300238) was converted to racing specification by Frans Verbaas and Rob Bergmans. Back when it was still decked out in an eye-catching shade of blue, Bergmans took it to victory in a number of historic GT races. In 2019, we acquired the car and raced it in NKHTGT, the Dutch national championship for historic touring cars and GTs. Roger Grouwels took the GTS12-title in a hard-fought season.
This imposing Italian machine has been part of our collection ever since, sitting in the same dark grey colour it raced in four years ago. Under the hood you’ll still find the impressive Chevrolet-V8 with a Holley Type 4150 carburetor. The estimated 300 horsepower is put to the asphalt through a four-speed BorgWarner T10 synchronised manual gearbox.
While you’ll often find a plethora of British and American cars in historic racing, this stylish Italian is a rare sight on the grid. This Iso Rivolta IR 300 is currently for sale with a complete history and spare parts. It remains in top condition, including an up-to-date FIA Historic Technical Passport (HTP). It can be raced in national and international historic racing championships immediately. Please get in touch for more information in pricing.Back