Iso Grifo: The Mother of All Power Bulges

Solving the problem of compact-engine-bay-meets-huge-ass-American-engine, Giotto Bizzarrini’s solution is beautiful, brutish and eternal.

This is an Iso Grifo Can Am from 1971, one of many iterations of the Grifo, Bizzarrini’s chameleon of a racing car/grand tourer also known as the A3 and the Strada 5300. This is what it sounds like (in A3/C form):

The square and vented power bulge was originally designed in 1968 for the Series I Grifo, to make room for a 7-liter L71 Corvette big block:


For the Can Am, the Corvette engine was replaced with a 7.4-liter even-bigger block. The power bulge stayed, the headlights were swapped our for semi-hidden Mangusta-esque units, and the result is one of the most gorgeous and brutal of classic ‘60s supercars.

Homework assignment: become friends with Mr. Alexander Wiesner from Germany, who exhibited it at last month’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy and get him to agree to let you drive it. Bonus points for the black 1970 T-top Grifo, shown at last year’s Concorso, that he also owns:


Photo Credit: Concorso d’Eleganza + satchmoblue/Flickr (red Grifo), Charles01 (yellow Grifo), Natalie Polgar (black Grifo)

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