Finally here: Iso Horn buttons!!

It’s been a long road to have these manufactured the right way but in the end our efforts got rewarded big time! I have been keeping you updated on the process and how I had to reject the first production run of these. But the manufacturer (USA made) understood my complaints and reworked the molds and process and the result is no more than stunning. I decided on manufacturing the two most popular of the three versions and will thus be able to supply most of the Isos who need one.

They are perfectly factory correct in every detail and will complete any restoration. We made sure the gold and silver have the correct tone and shine while making sure the whole unit has an even better UV-stability than the originals. Because Isos own horn button production shows some dimensional tolerances I also had a limited amount of horn button beds made – just in case there is any doubt these buttons will fit your car. However, in 99% of all cases they will fit and they only need replaced when yours is broken or worn out.

I will try to get them up on my site as soon as I can so some of these can be used as a unique Christmas present. Thank you everybody involved in this project – another journey with a great ending!

Looking back at 2018 Monterey Car Week.

Finally time for an update!!

We have had some time to relax after the hectic Monterey Car Week. The Iso insiders already knew I was working on getting the unbelievable Grifo #405 ready to be shown. This car was found in Oregon after being stored for 38 years in a humid environment, never moved from it’s position other than finally moved from an open pole barn to a concrete building. Not on it’s own power, the motor and brakes were locked up and basically the car was unsafe when found. It had a total of 005950 Miles racked up before being stored. It was my intention to show it in the Preservation Class at Pebble Beach. After several discussions with the “judges” I decided to not change anything about the car until it was shown on the lawn… Unfortunately on April first (no joke) I received a letter from the “committee” explaining that without further given reasons this Grifo would not be accepted in their Preservation Class. So I had 4 months to get the car ready for Monterey Week!

First I had to pull the motor because it was just a lump of rust and it was seized – water had been running into it and I wasn’t able to turn it even with the tallest wrench.

To just get an idea of what humidity does to a car take a look in the trunk. (Which I called a bio-hazard) The aluminum vent tube form the gas tank was corroded off the tank – it had to be rewelded to be safe and functional.

At the same time I opened the transmission and found the owner hasn’t been too nice on the synchros. I put in original ZF parts and the motor received new bearings, seals and gaskets but stayed as standard as it was. No modifications, all clamps and hoses were either restored or exchanged for OEM ones. Built to 1973 Mustang specs, with it’s unique dual point distributor – it was soon ready to rumble!

Talking about rumble: this Grifo still had it’s factory original exhaust system! So I restored it and this is now the only Grifo I know of with a factory exhaust system.

While the drive train was out I could tackle the body and suspension parts and get the engine bay ready for serious detail work. All steering, cooling, electrical and brake parts were restored to stock configuration. Even the hood springs got their cloth liner back.

All components got powder coated and all usable hardware was cad plated – luckily my daughter June we on vacation to help me figure out the mess I made with the nuts and bolts, hahaha!! She learned when she was just 7 or 8 so she’s used to it.

I turned everything from a rusted pile into a factory new look, complete with all new bushings, bearings and shocks.

The paint itself was left untouched, my “dent-guy” Steve made sure the old “mechanics dents” were taken care of and the panels are straight like new. Cheers Steve Brown!

The drive train was put back, everything restored like factory specs and the first test run was done 8 days before Monterey Car week began!

The interior was taken out and the rodent nests removed, it needed a new headliner because that’s where they lived. The bumpers were straightened, all stainless polished and a few days before Monterey I was still mounting the bumpers.

The car was scheduled to be on the lawn in Monterey Saturday morning but Friday night the trucked called me to tell me his truck broke down – I had to figure out how to get the car to Monterey! After a long night of phone calls and not being able to hire anyone to pick it up I decided to take it out of the trailer and make it’s first test drive right up to the lawn! To make a (very!) long story short; it got there in good order and we had time to detail it for the show. It was shown with fully original interior (except new headliner), fully original paint, wheels, tires, exhaust system and sheet metal.

Needless to say – it was a great success! We had 8 Isos on the lawn – one of the biggest attendances the last few years. Grifo 405 won Second in class and a First prize with the Iso-Bizzarrini Club. The people I spoke to about the car all agreed that this Grifo is very unique and the Iso community is better off because it still exists.

Ricky got his prize later at the Iso-Bizzarrini dinner after a job well done supervising me in the shop. What a great experience to have been part of the resurrection of Grifo 405! Thank you for everybody who attended, gave their input and enjoyed it as much as I did!

Monterey week is nearing…

News from Iso Central…

Now Monterey is just 10 weeks away I came to realize how many projects I’m working on at the same time. I don’t have/take the time to take pictures to post but here is an overview of the Iso/Bizzarrini interiors that are still out. And that doesn’t include the 2 Rivolta GT’s and one early Fidia I’m working on: one A3/C for paint; one for sheet metal; two Iso Grifo’s still have the suspension and motor and transmission out and one Fidia is now 7 months late for upholstery…

Nervous yet??? ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Maybe someone can determine what cars these consoles go to?

ISO RIVOLTA HORN BUTTONS

ISO RIVOLTA HORN BUTTONS

As many of you already heard I have decided to reproduce the (rarer-than-hens-teeth) horn buttons for Iso Rivolta cars. To keep the production as efficient as possible we chose to use two of the most often used designs. This is the early “Horseshoe” design and the “Griffon” which is used on several models including Grifo. I decided to also have the underlying bed reproduced as they are often cracked or worn. For this I provided the very best examples I had collected through the years for each style and after several quality checks in December 2017 the complete batch was cast. Their fit was perfect and I was happy to tell them to go ahead with the coloring.

The coloring is a three step project, it involves gold metallic, gloss black and chrome – in three separate steps. This week I received the first sample that used the gold color we need in the correct hue and shine! This was a big step forward. We will now focus on the masking for the chroming process. I’m excited and hope to update you soon on any further progress!!

One Long Lost Iso Grifo โ€“ Part 4: Letting Go

After being preserved as well as possible and getting it in the best condition possible without actually restoring it – the time has come to make a decision… After much thought Sam has come to the realization his Grifo 369 is not a car he will ever dare to drive again, especially after it’s recent full recommissioning. Actually, the mere reason this car still exists like this is the fact that he could not STAND people being that careless around it and risking damage in all kinds of ways. So arrangements have been made to offer it to the public and this will be done at THE best venue for that; the Gooding Pebble Beach Auction in Monterey.

Today it was picked up and it was like saying Goodbye to an old friend. This car has taught me a lot about TRUE originality of Iso Grifos and I was able to add 1000s of detail pictures to my restoration library. I hope it ends up in good hands, this car deserves a special place in a high end collection. Thanks my friend and Happy Trails!

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One Long Lost Iso Grifo โ€“ Part 3: Resurrection

I have had the long lost Iso Grifo #369 in my shop and I treated the car to a “sympathetic recommissioning” by not altering the car’s appearance but just cleaning it by retaining it’s (most coveted) patina. By now we all realize this word has been misused in many places, however, this car BREATHES it! The car came to me with the front fenders full of the small “mechanics dents”, the main reason why Sam (the second owner) parked the car decades ago. To correct this I hired a friend who is a specialist in this field and flies all over the world to help owners of special cars out. He is a person who does not use any paint, but “massages” the sheet metal and makes the sheet metal come out perfectly straight. He did exactly that and the fenders look like factory originals now…

The second person I hired was a detail specialist who first assessed the paint and told me what to expect. He found a few old repairs, probably from small dings (door) and rock chips (valance areas). At some edges there were some touch ups done aย long time ago, the present ones were left to add to the character of the car. He suggested to hand-polish the paint and make the repairs disappear as much as possible. So he spent 4 days on a stool in my shop; NO machines but all kinds of polishes, rags, cleaners and waxes. When he was done the car truly showed off its 22000-kilometer heritage! There were no areas overly “restored”; he put it back as one would expect the factory would have delivered it. What I was most excited about was to have found a Grifo with bone stock gray metallic body parts on it – after detailing these parts I was able to extract the correct color code which I will use for my current (and future) Grifo restorations! The color is a medium charcoal but holds 4 different colors of metallic flakes – very fine but visible with a magnifying glass under sunlight. Right, I didn’t hold it there too long! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

While the exterior was being detailed I had an interior specialist go through the interior to mainly restore the original leather and corduroy. The leather was still supple but did have some aging signs and a bit of discoloration in the driver’s seat edge. He was able to make it all come out beautiful, when you open the doors on this car it feels like you’re in 1974!

The trunk compartment held the highly coveted Iso tool roll, Bettani jack, fully original upholstery and an even more awesome find: a spare wheel which has never been mounted! The original Cinturato tire is like new and never touched the road! So the trunk compartment was easy to clean up and put back to the year 1972.

The engine compartment needed more cleanup work, obviously old oil and oxidized parts. Several parts were missing their (black) paint and we decided to not repaint them but preserve the parts as they are – just clean them. The engine got serviced, a few new tie rods were installed and the car now runs and drives like any restored Grifo I handled.

Some repairs I did: the vacuum headlights did not open; they were connected wrong after a solenoid locked up – I put new bellows in and they now work perfectly. The door windows did not work and it turned out some “mechanic” had tried to re-use the brittle (Ducellier) motor gears and (of course) they failed again – leaving Sam wondering if they could do ANYTHING right to his Iso! I DO give the “mechanic” some credit for his inventiveness though, I included his “good for ten minutes fix” of the gears with steel wire and resin… Looking at the picture; I’m glad Sam did not give him more to work on! It does have 2 (non-audible, small) holes in its exhaust system but I don’t see it my task to change anything on it – it still carries the (now non-existent) Iso-stamped chrome muffler tips. One of the many revelations Grifo 369 brought us by just existing.

The car is still in my shop to assist in another project I’m dealing with: to restore a client’s Iso Grifo who’s sheet metal has been badly mangled by an accident, but even more by the welding job afterward. That car is missing it’s original factory dimensions and Sam’s Grifo 369 is very happy to offer it’s perfect body for all kinds of cardboard take-offs.
I have made known to the Iso-Bizzarrini community that this car still exists and for all of them this is the first time they laid eyes on it. Only 5 or 6 of them ever saw it in person but they rave about it (as they should). A true miracle how it could go undetected all these years, especially in this condition. Sam should be hailed for how respectful he treated his car, he is the one who kept it and made the word “survivor” mean too little for a car of this caliber. It now gets driven occasionally and it will probably be shown at the Supercar Sunday next week – it’s first non-work related outing in decades. I’m looking forward to it!

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