Today’s Rare Ride marks the seventh Zagato design featured in this series, and the first ISO Rivolta. A very limited-production coupe, the lovely green GTZ seen here is available only by special order, and only 19 will ever exist.
This is one of the few times a Rare Ride subject is written about in present tense, as today’s coupe is still available for order from ISO Rivolta. As this is the brand’s debut in this series, time for a little history.
Founded in 1938 by Renzo Rivolta, Iso Rivolta was an Italian manufacturer of cars and motorcycles and changed its name several times over the years. It was renamed Iso Autoveicolo Spa in the Fifties, Iso Rivolta in the Sixties, Iso Motors in the Seventies, and finally in 2017 was renamed again, to ISO Rivolta (note capitalization). In that mix was a bankruptcy in 1974, though the company was kept alive in name.
The brand’s initial offerings were smaller motorcycles and budget cars that bridged the gap between car and motorcycle. After a while, Mr. Rivolta wanted to take the company upmarket, and circa 1957 at the brand’s renaming, it switched direction. From then onward, Iso Rivolta would build exciting and luxurious grand touring cars. In the Sixties, the company built the A3C, a racing version of their Grifo touring car. But its development led to a breakup of Rivolta and the company’s lead designer, Giotto Bizzarrini. Bizzarrini took the A3C and reworked it into his own version as he saw fit, which birthed the 1967 Bizzarrini Strada featured here previously. The AC3 was a notable car in its own right and went on to win its class at Le Mans in 1964 and 1965.
After the 1974 bankruptcy, Iso stopped manufacturing cars. Throughout the following decades, the Rivolta family kept hold of the Iso Rivolta name. In 2017, Zagato approached the Rivolta family with an idea for a new grand touring coupe. They liked the idea of making cars again, and thus ISO Rivolta was reborn. The project was underway.
The inspiration for Zagato’s GTZ design comes right from the contested 1970s AC3. Flowing lines are certainly retro, and the new car’s front looks very similar to both the AC3 and the Strada. Unlike its predecessor, the Zagato design is formed from carbon fiber, and so is its tub. Iso Rivolta cars of old almost always used American V8 power, and the new GTZ is no exception: There’s a supercharged Corvette LT4 under the sloping hood. Good for 660 horsepower and 649 lb-ft of torque, the GTZ’s time to 62 miles per hour is 3.7 seconds and the coupe will rocket on to a top speed of 195. That’s some serious performance. One might also notice the Corvette center console and stack.
There is still a handful available for special order per recent reports, but the price of the GTZ has never been disclosed. Count yourself very lucky if you ever see one in the flesh.