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Rivolta IR300 GT
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  Iso Rivolta IR300 GT

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1963 - 1969
Numbers built:797 (all versions)
Designed by:Giorgietto Giugiaro for Bertone
Author:Pieter Melissen
Last updated:March 26, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionRenzo Rivolta started his career as a producer of household stuff and other electric devices at the end of the Thirties. After the war he added motorcycles to his repertoire, and in the fifties he developed a car that saw great success, unfortunately not under his guidance. The Isetta, developed together with a aeronautic engineer, saw little success in Italy, and the rights were sold to BMW, at that time struggling to survive the production of its loss making luxury cars.

As his next project Rivolta thought of a fast but comfortable sportscar. Not willing to sacrifice money on the development of his own engine, Rivolta approached General Motors and struck a deal to be supplied with the 5.4 liter from the Corvette. For the design of the body he contacted Bertone and the construction of the chassis was assigned to Giotti Bizarrini, just having been released from his job at Ferrari.. Interestingly at the time Ferrari was still applying leaf sprung rear live axles to his cars, but for Iso Bizarrini developed a Dion rear axle with coil springs, with the disc brakes attached to the differential. Independent front suspension was by two triangles.

The body was easily recognizable as a Bertone product, in particular the roof line. Similarities with for instance a BMW 3200 CS are striking. The car was large enough to carry four persons in relative comfort, with a 2.70 meter wheelbase, for instance 5 cm more than a Ferrari 330 GT 2+2.

Not only the engine came from GM, but apparently Zora Arkus Duntov proposed the name Iso Rivolta, after Renzo himself had come with Iso Jet. Duntov considered that to be the name of a children's toy.

The car was introduced in 1963, initially as the IR 300, pointing at the 300 SAE hp that the engine provided. In reality 240-250 net hp might have been available. The almost 1600 kg of the car could reach 60 mph in about 8 seconds, and top speed was about 235 km/h. All cars had the four speed gear box from the Corvette. The engine could also be had with 340 SAE hp at 6000 rpm (IR 340) but produced less torque in that set-up. The car war more actually more comfort oriented than sporty, as the very light steering required 5 turns from lock to lock.

Production ended in 1969 and in total 797 cars were made.

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  Article Image gallery (15) Specifications