Iso Rivolta S4

If you had the money, the taste and love for cars, Maserati, Iso, Aston-Martin and many others were giving you a hard time choosing between their products. You could buy a sports car, a luxury coupé, a sedan for traveling trough Europe with your wife and children and for work but there was no car that combined all that. Piero Rivolta saw the gap and he thought he could built a car that looked like a sports car, handled like one and still be suited for business trips. Space for four or five and luggage, very fast and sporty.
 
Rivolta already had a good chassis so his main problem was the design of the car.

A beautiful drawing made by Giugiaro. Several little changes were made to make the car look lighter and smaller.

He asked Giugiaro of Ghia to design the car to show his autonomy from Bertone who designed his other models. After several months they knew they were on the right track and they also found the solution of connecting the lower front part of the car with it's high rear, a little jump in the rear window.

Ghia info sheet

Left, a late Fidia in the Varedo factory. This time the quality of the bodies was of a much higher level than that of the S4.

Right, the IR10 sales sheet. With its 4790 mm it was a large car in Europe. The Americans however were stunned by the way Iso used available space.

Ghia September 1967 Press sheet:

Ghia presents: "Iso Rivolta S.4"

The new Italian sedan up to international level is the Iso Rivolta S.4. It has been created by the recent cooperation between Iso Rivolta and Ghia and fills a remarkable gap in the first-rate cars market.

Its body represents the latest example of the Ghia style: It is glamorous and sober, large and luxurious and it joins a limited but evident sport mark to a new classicism.

The luminous and soundproof interior offers a wide space, where even 5 or 6 passengers can comfortably travel also during the longest and most uncomfortable journey.

Special studies and texts have been carried out for the cloth trimmed seats, for the leatherette covering, for the wooden functional dashboard, for the ventilation and for all safety measures.

The wide luggage compartment is another of the most interesting characteristics of this wonderful car.

Specifications

Dimensions and weights: Wheelbase m. 2,85; front and rear track m. 1,41; max length m. 4,97; max width m. 1,78; max height m. 1,32; min road clearance m. 0,12; min. turning circle m. 12,50; empty weight kg. 1.500

Engines and transmission: 300hp and 350hp Corvette engine; 5358cc V8; Warner 4-speed synchromesh and reverse or GM power- glide automatic transmission (option with 300hp); Rear axle Salisbury self-locking differential R. 3,07:1 or the optional Salisbury R. 2,88:1 and Salisbury R. 3,31:1

Performances: max speed 300hp 220 km/h; 350hp 230 km/h

The production of the S4 started in 1968 (Feb.) after some modifications were made to the brakes and suspension. The people who tested the car were quite pleased with it's looks and performance. They did make remarks about the slow steering. But inside the Iso factory the workers saw that there was more wrong with the S4. The bodies that they received from Ghia were of poor quality and soon cars came back to the factory. This was the reason for Piero Rivolta to start building the bodies inside the Iso-factory.

In November 1968 the Dutch carmagazine "de auto" tested the Iso S4 300hp in Italy.

When they picked the car up from the factory the wheel covers were missing and could not be found. After 500 meters they stopped at a local gasstation and they were asked if it was a new Ferrari, strange!

The journalist and his wife took the car from Milano to Torino at an average speed of 164 km/h, he could go much faster but it was a new car and he didn't want to stress it.

Later that same evening he did try the whole potential of the engine and reached an average topspeed of 217,5 km/h.

His conclusion:

Why an Iso if you can buy a 300 SELL 6.3 for the same money? Because it's exclusive and built like a piece of art. And it's a good car too!

Iso Rivolta Fidia - IR 10

Presentation to the press of the Iso Fidia 1969

The "new" Iso Fidia was presented to the press in Greece, Athens in 1969. It was important to show that Iso was serious about this car and that the Fidia wasn't only a updated version of the S4. The Fidia drew such a crowd that the local police was needed to make space for the press to have a look at the car.

This picture shows you the pressmap given to the reporters in Athens. It is now a very rare item.

Go to the Fidia pressmap pages

After 45 S4's left the factory the production stopped. The whole car was redesigned to bring quality up to a higher level. The new S4 had to be stiffer and it's interior was of a complete new design to justify it's price. They also changed the name to make clear to the potential customer that this was a new car. Early models still had the Fiat 1500 headlights of the S4.

And this name was Fidia, the name of the Greek sculpture made by Phidias. The presentation of the new car was in Greece, Athens feb.13 1969 in front of the Acropolis.

New seats, dash, center console, high quality materials (Fidia Mk)

First Fidia's came with the Corvette engine but later models had the Ford Cleveland 5.7 ltr. unit. This engine delivered less power, 325 hp.

Auto Becker press sheet:

Iso Fidia

Sports car for the whole family. Five people can, after a breathtaking acceleration, enjoy the feeling of a 240 km/h topspeed. The Italian couturier Ghia designed the beautiful dress of this limousine; Ford delivered the proven 5,8 ltr. Cleveland engine."Der treue" is it's name in German - from Varedo, Milano proves itself as a "dauerlaufer".

Technical data:

Engine; Ford Cleveland 351-V8, 5768cc, 330 hp, Cruise -o- matic automatic or ZF 5-speed manual. Topspeed 240 km/h. Price in Germany DM 59.817,90.

Aggressive and elegant, best of both worlds combined in one car.

Ken Goddard drives the ISO FIDIA.

......on the other hand, there were many features of the Fidia that we liked very much: performance is there in plenty, finish is very good and all the extra's one could need are fitted - the alloy wheels with their chrome center covers set the car off well. It certainly won't achieve any sales records, but the Fidia justifies a place in the market for an unusual sporting saloon..............................

(copy of a brochure of the UK concessionaire)

One of a kind,

The Iso Fidia was one of the most luxurious cars you could buy in the early seventies. Built quality was very good and only the best materials were used. It's a shame so many were destroyed by rust and used as donor cars for others. Iso produced 192 cars and perhaps 50/75 are left. Most are in need of restoration. It is a great car and today not that expensive.

Cabin is roomy and light. Built quality was very good and it's a shame Iso ignored rustprevention. In the late sixties and during the seventies and early eighties nobody wanted a car as big as a Fidia. Many were sold to the wrong people, students and pimps who trashed and crashed them for fun.

The ex-owner of these remains bought a new body from the Iso warehouse in Italy to rebuilt his car. The original body was so bad that almost nothing could be saved. It was left to rot behind a Dutch carmuseum. >>

Isicus Fidiacus Rottus

A very beautiful example. (photographer craig@howell.nt )

  1974 Press release - Ivo Pera & New York Motor Show