It’s all but died out, but a handful of companies are keeping the coachbuilding tradition alive and helping it evolve. And these projects aren’t solely limited to one-off supercars, either. Admittedly, you won’t see many Touring Superleggera Aero 3s on the road, but there’s at least more than one in existence. However, the coachbuilt supercar that’s about to hit Mecum’s auction block is unique in a different sense. It’s the only Iso Rivolta GT Zagato in the US—and it could be yours.
Zagato honors the Ferrari 250 GTO-fighting Iso Grifo A3/C with a modern Iso Rivolta homage
In the ‘50s and ‘60s, ‘hybrid’ meant a car with a European body and platform and an American powertrain. So, technically, the Shelby Cobra 427 is a hybrid, as is the car Jay Leno calls “automotive royalty,” the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. And the Bizzarrini is particularly noteworthy here because it’s based on the racing car that inspired the Iso Rivolta GT Zagato: the Iso Grifo A3/C.
Even if you’ve never heard of the Iso Grifo A3/C, you likely know its designer’s previous work. Before he designed his own cars, Iso’s cars, and the original Lamborghini V12, Giotto Bizzarrini crafted the iconic Ferrari 250 GTO. And when he designed the A3/C, he brought every lesson he’d learned during the GTO’s development and then some, MotorTrend explains.
For lightness, Bizzarrini turned to aluminum wherever practically possible in the Iso Grifo A3/C, Mecum says. That means it has an aluminum monocoque chassis with aluminum suspension components. Speaking of suspension, the A3/C rocks a racing-spec De Dion tube in the rear with independent front suspension. Meanwhile, its aerodynamic aluminum-copper-magnesium alloy body had to be hand-riveted to the chassis. But the upshot isn’t just low weight, but a stiff and nimble platform.
To further improve the Iso Grifo A3/C’s handling, Bizzarrini designed it as a front-mid-engine car. And for reliable speed and power, he turned to a 5.3-liter Corvette V8. Thanks to four Weber carburetors, the V8 makes 400 hp, quite a lot for a sub-2200-pound car. And Bizzarrini claimed it was more responsive than contemporary Ferrari V12s, too, Silodrome says.
All that work paid off when the Iso Grifo A3/C won its Le Mans class in 1964 and 1965. But despite this success, Iso quite racing shortly thereafter. And while the 5300 GT continued the Grifo A3/C’s legacy, Iso itself only made 20 examples.
Like its ancestor, the Iso Rivolta GT Zagato has an all-American Corvette V8 heart—this time, from a C7 Z06
However, after creating the Gran Turismo-inspired Vision GT, Italian coachbuilder and design house Zagato decided to bring Iso and the A3/C back in modern form. And that meant finding an appropriate American V8.
Fortunately, the Iso Rivolta GT Zagato (GTZ) had an excellent donor: the supercharged C7 Corvette Z06. Yup, mounted under the hood is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 bumped up to 660 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. All that power goes to the rear wheels via either an eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed manual. And it means this coachbuilt supercar goes 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
The Iso Rivolta GT Zagato goes one step further than the A3/C, though. While the original only had a Corvette engine, the GTZ uses the C7 Corvette Z06’s powertrain and chassis, MotorTrend explains. However, that’s about all the GTZ retains, Motor1 reports.
Although it has some GM switchgear, the interior has a redesigned dashboard as well as new leather upholstery and aluminum trim. Also, the GTZ has bigger wheels, new glass, and a brand-new carbon-fiber body. As a result, it weighs 2645 pounds, almost 900 pounds lighter than a standard C7 Corvette Z06. And its sleeker body also gives it a slightly higher top speed: 193 mph.
There’s only one GTZ in the US and it’s coming up for auction
Getting your hands on an Iso Rivolta GT Zagato isn’t easy. For one, it takes over 2500 hours of labor to turn a C7 Corvette Z06 into a GTZ. So, there’s a bit of a waitlist. Secondly, Zagato only plans to make 19 examples for the whole world. And as of this writing, there’s only one registered in the US.
But that single GTZ could be yours. It’s scheduled to hit the Mecum auction block on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Kissimmee 2022 auction. And this GT Zagato comes with carbon-ceramic brakes, a tri-coat Le Mans Red paint job, and matching red interior stitching. Speaking of, besides the aluminum trim and Italian leather, this GT Zagato has heated and ventilated sport seats and a Bose audio system.
If you want this red-hot sleigh, though, be prepared to pay. Zagato charged at least $1 million for the GTZ, Motor1 says. Still, for a genuinely unique coachbuilt car, that’s not exactly excessive.
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