Monday, March 1, 2010

1970 Iso Fidia - Too Far Gone?

I hate seeing cars like this.

This is a 1970 Iso Fidia. Built between 1968 and 1975, just 192 were built.

Iso wanted to build the world's fastest 4 door sedan. They came close. Powered by a Chevy V8, 60 MPH came in just 7 seconds and its top speed was 143 MPH. However, the Maserati Quattroporte, the car Iso was aiming at with the Fidia, turned out to have a top speed of 149 MPH, making the Fidia the world's second fastest sedan at the time.

The body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was with Ghia at the time. The first 40 or so cars were built by Ghia, but Piero Rivolta, who took over the Iso factory after his father died in 1967, had reservations about the quality and brought the production in house. The Ghia built cars are referred to as S4, while the Iso built examples were just named Fidia. (The seller refers to the car as a Ghia Tio, which is something I've never heard of and cannot find any info about. If anyone knows what he's talking about, please e-mail the information to me.)

This car is a mess. It's fairly complete but extremely rusty. I don't understand how a car like this could wind up in this condition. How could someone let this happen?

I'd love to see this car restored, but, given its condition, it would take a very brave (and very talented) person to take it on. If you know anyone who has the guts, talent and wealth to take on this project, pass along the listing to them.

Located in Hudson, NC, click here to see the eBay listing.

A little Iso Fidia / S4 trivia... John Lennon bought one. It was rumored to be the second one built and one of only a few RHD examples. The car still exists and was displayed at Brooklands recently. It is pictured below.

11 comments:

hoov23 said...

Wow, that Lennon car is gorgeous. The one on eBay looks really rough on the outside but somebody out there who's talented with bodywork can surely get her back to perfection, right? With a Corvette motor it should be easy enough to get running again at least. What a rare find, so complete and with original engine...

hoov23 said...

Also, where did he park it 7 years ago, on the sun?! Man that thing is looking rough for something that was parked in 2003.

Richard said...

Looks like to me its been stored at the bottom of a lake for the past 20 years, such a sad sight.

Anonymous said...

Stored a the bottom of a lake and then dried on the sun...

Jon said...

A few weeks back you had an OSI, and today you have an ISO. What next... A TOYOTA?

Golf claps please...

The WIKI for "Diminishing Returns" should include a photo of this very car. While the styling is tighter than that of the De Tomaso Deauville, this particular example is too far gone. I can't imagine what the undercarriage looks like. The mob must have been running moonshine with it and ditched it when the Feds showed up. At least with a Deauville you have a small chance of networking with the Pantera clubs for parts. One would be better off waiting for a ISO Rivolta coupe to show up for sale.

If you like the styling of this car, try looking up a Fiat 130 Coupe. An 11/30/2009 Bring A Trailer entry had one that eventually sold for $7500.

Just A Car Geek said...

You missed the point, Jon. (But you get points for the "A TOYOTA" palindrome)

This ISO will most likely never see the road again. There are a few bids on it, but my guess is it will become a donor car for another Fidia / S4 project.

The point of the post was twofold...

First of all, I don't understand how this car could have wound up in this condition. At some point someone acquired this car and thought it was a good idea to leave it outside. (Or on the sun, or in a lake.) I might understand that if the car had been wrecked. But the body, under the massive amount of rust, seems straight. Even someone who is not a car geek should have been able to tell that this was something special and, at the very least, kept out of the elements.


"Diminishing returns" is what's killing automobile collecting and is the whole "anti-point" of this blog. Too many cars get destroyed or left out in the elements because the emphasis these days is placed on "how much can I get for it when it's done?". I suspect that might have been what happened with this car. Someone bought it, realized the work involved in repairing it (prior to being left outside) was more than the car was "worth" and ignored it.

It would have been nice to see someone take this car (when it was in a better state) and restore it for the pride of ownership, not for it's financial potential. That's what old car collecting should be about. (And yes, I realize that we're living in 2010, and everything in life seems to be done for financial gain these days...)

The really sad part is that this happens more often to rare cars, which is why I so often write about "common" cars. MG / Triumph / Alfa / Renault / Peugeot / Opel, etc., owners will spend far more than their car is worth to maintain and restore it. They do it because they love the car, not its auction value.

The S4 / Fidia is a rare car. It's one I've never seen in person. With roughly 40 or so left in the world, the odds that I (we) will ever see one are not good. Had this car been restored when it was restorable, those odds would have increased by a fraction.

*** Note - Jon and I are old friends. We often have these type of conversations in person.***

Chris Keen said...

You know, if the frame is solid enough, it'd be pretty cool to spiff up the mechanicals on this one (cheap Chevy parts?), clean out the bird crap, and drive it as is. Park it too close to a shiny Ferrari at the next local Italian car show.

Jon said...

The description indicates that it ran until it was parked 7 years ago by the seller. While it may have spent some time in a garage or barn, at some point it made it outside where it was exposed to the elements. The right bottom edge of the front bumper has the telltale lump from a chain pull.

The frustrating part is that it appears that they left the windows (or a window) open. This would account for the bird crap on the tops of the leather seats and the rusty floor pans.

It's possible that the owner initially kept it intact for an eventual overhaul. The seats, that were probably in decent shape when he parked it, would have otherwise made it into someones Camaro by now. Same goes for the engine.

Who knows?

Bill said...

Iso "Tio"? Look at the third picture down in the right column, and just reduce your literacy or Iso knowledge a little bit. Below the Ghia badge there appears a standard Iso script. Okay, now squint a little. Could read "Tio" to the under educated! Still a shame how this happens to rare cars.

Jon said...

Concerning the Fidia...

If Todd Rundgren ever does a remake of his old song Lockjaw, this car is worthy of at least a verse or two...

Just A Car Geek said...

Bill, that's too funny and I think you're 100% correct.

That poor car just can't get a break.


Dave