Iso Fidia: Spotted

For the uninitiated, Iso - or Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A - was an Italian carmaker of the late twentieth century best remembered now for the Isetta bubble car, it of one front door and one too few wheels. But the firm was also an automotive dream team, built around founder Renzo Rivolta, engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and famed coachbuilder, Bertone.

Together they created the Iso Rivolta and the Grifo, sixties era sports coupes renowned for striking Italian styling and the use of imported small-block Chevy V8 engines. However, when Giugiaro moved from Bertone to rival Carrozzeria Ghia in 1965, the design brief Iso's new four-door GT went with him.

Based on the Rivolta, the wheelbase was extended by 150mm to shoehorn in the back doors, and it became the first model launched under Piero Rivolta - forced to take of the company at only 25 after the sudden death of this father in 1966.

Initially shown at the Frankfurt motor show a year later as a Rivolta S4, the car suffered at its press launch from the poor quality of the petrol sold locally in Athens, and was not helped by a list price that saw it competing at eye level with the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.

But the Fidia was beautiful - and beautifully marketed too under the slogan: 'the four fastest seats in the world'. When a right-hand-drive model was built, John Lennon bought the first one; it had that kind of appeal. Initially fitted with the same 5.4-litre V8 as the coupes, the car eventually received a less powerful 5.8-litre V8 from Ford after GM started insisting on payment upfront.

The one you see before you though is an early left-hand drive model with the more desirable Chevy unit, and a body in metallic bronze - but be careful if you have a shunt as no two Fidias are alike. Inside the cream leather interior and wooden dashboard mimic a comfortable living room; the sort you could spend hours in as you cross countries.

With only 192 examples ever built, the Fidia is also one of the rarer four-door GTs in the world. Looking for alternatives the Quattroporte is the obvious contender but the boxy elements lose out the flowing lines of the Fidia. The Aston Martin Lagonda may also provide a very exclusive form of four-door motoring - but it's hard to see past 'le quattro poltrone piu veloci del mondo'.

: 5,354cc, V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 355@5,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 361@3,600rpm
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1972Β 
Recorded mileage: 70,000miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: Β£39,995

See the original advert here






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Comments (26) Join the discussion on the forum

  • BigChiefmuffinAgain 02 Nov 2017

    Deeply cool car. Saw a real mint one on the road in London a couple of years ago - lovely thing, if you like the left field vibe about it. Some of them have some dubious interior trims, if I recall.
    For those looking for an even more obscure alternative, trying finding a Monica....

  • Fetchez la vache 02 Nov 2017

    Not actually that enamoured with that...

    ...especially when they made such beautiful cars as the Grifo, which is one of my all time favourite designs...

  • DrSteveBrule 02 Nov 2017

    Fetchez la vache said:
    Not actually that enamoured with that...
    I agree, it doesn't quite all come together as you'd hope. For similar money I think I'd go for a Fiat 130.

    The Jensen Interceptor, for me, is hard to beat as good looking four-seater GT cruiser.

  • hondansx 02 Nov 2017

    Rare for a reason!

  • Halmyre 02 Nov 2017

    The proportions are all a bit off IMO. The De Tomaso Deauville and Maserati Quattroporte were a bit better, but overall the Italians weren't that great at big XJ6 type luxobarges.

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