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I Was There: Iso Grifo

3 years ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


13 July 2021

The noise, they said, was like thunder tumbling along the road and exploding on top of them. The sight, they said, was blood-stirring as the car burst around the bend, leaping into view, sideways at 80mph. It was mean and beautiful, like a pouncing tiger.

The Grifo stayed sideways for a second, with thin smoke peeling from its rear tyres. Then, answering the corrective lock, it straightened with a shrug of its muscular body. The noise battered their ears as it bolted past, and then it was gone, leaving just the trembling of the leaves on the dry trees.

I was driving, but I’d have gladly swapped and stood beside the road to listen and watch. Manhandling this brute isn’t enough; you want to see it working too, and experience that soul-shaking roar as it rockets past. The standard Iso Grifo GL gained its pace from the Chevrolet Corvette’s 5.7-litre small block V8 but this 1970 model – the 7 Litri introduced in 1968 – packs GM’s big-block 427 L-36 beneath its huge, finned, ‘penthouse’ bonnet scoop.

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