High bid of $500,000 at 2014 Mecum - Monterey. (did not sell)
Chassis #: P538B04
Giotto Bizzarrini worked as chief engineer at Ferrari during the 1950s on such projects as the Ferrari 250 GTO. He left Ferrari in 1961 and by 1963, he had formed his own company, Bizzarrini. Bizzarrini envisioned a mid-engined racing car that could achieve the success that his GT racers were unable to provide. The GT cars had captured class wins, but were unable to secure an overall victory. In mid-1965, design, development and testing of the P538 began. It was given a traditional tubular construction with triangle-shaped tubes, disc brakes, and a suspension comprised of double wishbones. The mid-mounted engine was a Chevrolet V8 unit mounted at a 90-degree angle and displaced 5.3 liters. The 365 horsepower it produced was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed ZF manual gearbox. The body was formed of aluminum and fiberglass.
Bizzarrini named his vehicle the P538 which was derived from the Chevrolet Corvette 5.3 liter V8 engine. It was ready by the 1966 LeMans 24 hours race, but had seen very little testing time. After just seven laps, it returned to the pits with a problem. There had been a vibration in the wheel. When the vehicle was hoisted up on jacks, it ruptured a water hose within one of the triangular tubes and sidelined it from the race. A year later, the car returned to LeMans, though it was not allowed to race for reasons unknown. The prototype racer was now obsolete.
This car, chassis number P538*B*04 was commissioned by Frenchman Jacques Lavost (ISO & Bizzarrini Owner Club Director in France) after the initial four cars were built in 1960s. Work began on the car in the early 1970s with Salvatore Diomante at Autocostruzione SD, using the same components used on the 1960s-built cars. This car is distinguished from the 1960s-built cars by the use of square as opposed to round frame tubing. It is titled as a 1965, although it was completed in 1978 and has certification from ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiano).
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2015
This car has different front air intake and side intakes in doors than the original 1960s examples and it has two triangular-section headrests and matching roll bars. In 2013, the engine and transmission were rebuilt and a new 180 crossover exhaust was added. The Holley carburetors were also upgraded to period-correct Bizzarrini quad Webbers.