The Key

Smile. She’s Back

Photo credit: Iso Rivolta, BMW, Wheelsage

The Mille Miglia was a magnificent advertising opportunity for car manufacturers. Some doubted it was for Iso though, the Milanese company founded by the Rivolta family, when it enrolled its tiny Isetta built in 1954 in the edition of the race to be held that same year.

Behind the wheels of the three cars registered for the race were the company’s test drivers, not real racing drivers, two for each car as was required at the time, ignoring the weight factor. For the Isetta, this detail wasn’t easily overlooked, particularly when you consider its small, 236 cc motorcycle engine producing just 9.5 horsepower. With the number 2100 – that is, the departure time of 9 pm – the first one headed out from Brescia, followed by the other six registered cars. Some 22 hours later, at an incredible average speed of 80 km/h over the entire route, the first of the three, from the Cipolla and Brioschi racing team, crossed the finish line and crowned a success that transformed the fortunes of Iso. In fact, the German BMW manufacturer, lacking models as a result of the war, bought the license and transformed it into a resounding success in Germany allowing Renzo Rivolta to design and create the magnificent Gran Turismo car with American mechanics, the Iso Rivolta. The Key 2020, available for purchase on 18th December, tells the beautiful story of Iso. Beautiful because, after years of waiting in silence, in the past few weeks Iso Rivolta has returned to the market with a retake on the refined GT reinterpreted by Zagato. A beautiful story made even more so because it’s told by Marella Rivolta, Renzo’s enchanting daughter who today leads the Company with determination and vision.

The first few steps of the Iso brand into the world of the automobile was with the diminutive Isetta, a car capable of completing the entire 1954 edition of the Mille Miglia at the formidable average speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).
The BMW-licensed version of the Isetta, with its German engine, was a resounding success in Germany with over 160,000 units sold
From Isetta to granturismo: this was the choice of Renzo Rivolta who understood the opportunities offered by the luxury market and proposed the Grifo, a thoroughbred Italian car with American mechanics
Giotto Bizzarrini, who had contributed to the creation of the Iso Rivolta granturismo, also created a racing version of the Grifo that competed at Le Mans
The new Iso Rivolta, christened GTZ, is inspired in shape and proportions by the Grifo A3/C from 1964
The GTZ line, due for launch in the next few weeks, recalls the elegance and sportsmanship that characterized the golden years of the Iso Rivolta