1 of 192: 1969 Iso Rivolta Fidia

Feast your eyes on this!

In the late 1960s, Italian automakers were trying to catch up with the Germans in the race for the perfect upscale executive sedan. Mercedes-Benz had already mastered this segment, but their cars still wore a conservative, upright styling that, while now timeless and classic, was to be outdone at the time. The Italians already had an edge in the supercar segment, practically inventing the wedge with Gandini's iconic Alfa Romeo Carabo in 1968.

For the Iso Fidia, they asked up and coming designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, then of Ghia, to design their flagship sedan. Iso was an edgy post-war manufacturer who created the legendary Isetta bubble car. In the 60s and 70s, they turned to performance oriented sports cars, before launching the Fidia.

Giugiaro delivered. The Fidia wears a long and low shape that is well-proportioned and balanced, especially from the side. The front is a little less graceful and more muscular with quad square sealed-beam headlights (complete with French yellow driving lamps). The greenhouse is large and inviting, and the window profile swoopy. The whole thing is very sexy and somewhat ahead of it's time, as this shape is currently being revived to a degree in the Fisker Karma.

Inside, occupants are treated to polished wood and hand-stitched leather. This is the pre-'71 update interior, so the dashboard is clearer and less cluttered. The white-on-black guages and wood-and-aluminum steering wheel are pitch-perfect here.

Like the DeTomaso Pantera the Fidia engine was sourced elsewhere and had either Chevrolet or Ford V8 engines under the hood. Pre-'73 cars such as this one feature a 5358cc Chevrolet V8 that propelled the 3,483 lb. car to 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds, which is remarkable for the time and still really impressive today. Italy didn't have any Autobahn, but a day trip away and this could be seen ripping along speed-limitless highway.

Iso only made 192 Fidia before the firm went bankrupt in 1974.

This ultra-rare survivor is found in California where the seller says it has been for the past 30 years. Cosmetically, they say it was repainted once but does have rust, cracks, and fading. Mechanically, they say 350 HO engine has been rebuilt. It's mated to a 4-speed Borg Warner transmission.

The classic car elite see sedans as less collectible, but with a Giugiaro-carved body, big V8 power and super-low production numbers, this Iso Fidia definitely bucks that trend.

Available here on ebay with 12 bids at $8,400 and reserve not met.

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