Friday, September 2, 2011

It Came from a…Detroit Junkyard: 1968 Iso Fidia S4

1968 Iso Fidia S4  Seen On www.coolpicturegallery.us

Ask any classic car nut what’s on his or her list of must-have Italian exotics, and chances are there’ll be at least one Iso. The boutique automaker made several notable contributions to the world of motoring, among them the legendary Grifo and svelte Rivolta.

1968 Iso Fidia S4  Seen On www.coolpicturegallery.usThe company was also responsible for the Isetta bubble car and, sadly, the Fidia S4 sedan pictured here. Let’s just say it wasn’t one of the company’s finer moments.

Built from 1967 to 1975, only 192 Fidia S4’s were produced. Iso, which had not built a four-door before and would never build one again, describes the Fidia as, “the four fastest seats in the world”.

I call it, “an ugly box of a sedan that only a true Italian auto aficionado could love”. Giorgetto Giugiaro – later of ItalDesign fame – penned the Fidia while working for Ghia. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Giugiaro’s work but the design of this particular car has not aged well.

The interior featured a polished wood dashboard and hand-stitched leather, no doubt contributing to the Fidia’s high development cost and the subsequent pricetag that put it beyond Rolls-Royce territory.

Early cars came with a Corvette-sourced, 5.4 L V8 mated to a Borg-Warner 4spd manual; 1973 saw the introduction of a Ford 5.8 L V8. The latter was offered with the choice of either a 5spd ZF manual or Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic auto.

Today’s eBay offering comes from a man who rescued it from a junkyard in 1977. The car was originally owned by GM Chevrolet Engineering, where it was purportedly driven by such luminaries as Duntov, Mitchell and DeLorean and acted as a “benchmark” vehicle.

Sometime before 1977, GM decided to get rid of it and so ends our story. It has the original Corvette engine, a 4spd manual that tends to jump out of second when you decelerate and non-original wheels and seats.

Unsurprisingly, the reserve price has not yet been met, though at the time of writing the bidding had reached the US$15,800 mark.

Not bad for a Giugiaro-designed, Corvette-engined penis extension, eh?

By Tristan Hankins

PHOTO GALLERY

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