Image credits: © Bizzarrini.

1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT

1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Coupe
After working with Renzo Rivolta at the Italian Iso Company since 1962, Giotto Bizzarrini formed his own company in 1965 to build his 2+2 Coupe's. The racing version of the 5300GT received the Corsa name and the road cars were badged Strada. A short while later the Strada was joined by the America model, which sported a fiberglass body and a double wishbone rear suspension. Production of the 5300 GT lasted until well into 1968 and a combined total of 115 examples were produced. There was no replacement design for the 5300 GT, and in 1972 Bizzarrini was forced to close his factory. He returned to consulting and has since produced a number of prototypes.
1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Coupe
Vin #: 1A30256
Thanks to his test-driving and engineering skills, Giotto Bizzarrini was hired by Enzo Ferrari in 1957. Here he first fine-tuned existing models and eventually was given the responsibility to develop a new line of GT racers. However, while in the midst of developing the 250GTO, Bizzarrini, together with a number of other key people left the company in the infamous 'palace revolution' of 1961. Together, the defectors formed ATS to rival Ferrari in both sportscar and single seater racing, but due to conflicting opinions, Bizzarrini quickly left the new concern. He then worked as a consultant for Count Volpi for whom he created the 'Breadvan' Ferrari and for Feruccio Lamborghini for whom he designed the V12 engine that would power Lamborghini sports cars for decades to come.

In 1962, he teamed up with Renzo Rivolta, who was turning his Iso company into a manufacturer of sports cars. Bizzarrini's first job was to help develop a sophisticated platform chassis for the 'Iso Rivolta' 2+2 coupe. He was then commissioned to turn the Iso Grifo two-seater into a race winning machine. Pretty much independent from Iso, he conceived the exceptionally low A3/C that was an Iso Grifo in name only. Both cars shared a shortened Rivolta platform chassis and also the double wishbone front suspension and the DeDion axle. Comparing the finished products, it was hard to imagine both cars shared the same underpinnings.

In the summer of 1965 the relationship between the two titans quickly deteriorated. While Rivolta wanted the Grifo put into series production, Bizzarini thought the car required further development. The two ideas conflicted and eventually all ties were severed. Bizzarrini was now fully independent and while Iso continued to deliver parts, he was not allowed to use the Grifo name. From then on the cars were marketed as the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. The racing cars received the 'Corsa' moniker and the road cars were badged 'Strada'. Not much later, the Strada was joined by the 'America' model, which sported a fiberglass body and a double wishbone rear suspension.

1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GTProduction of the 5300 GT lasted until well into 1968 and a combined total of 115 examples were produced. In those years Bizzarrini produced three 5300 GTs with a Targa body and a small run of the smaller engined '1900 GT Europa'. The company's racing efforts were focused on the mid-engined P538 from 1966 onwards. There was no replacement for the 5300 GT and in 1972 Bizzarrini was forced to close his factory. He returned to his consulting and has since only produced a number of one-off prototypes.

This 1967 Bizzarrini Strada 5300 Coupé was offered for sale at the 2008 Russo & Steele Auction held in Monterey California. Finished in silver with a black suede interior, this 5300 Strada represents the ultimate in period Italian automotive styling with the bulletproof reliability and proven performance of the Chevrolet small-block. Únder the hood, finned Corvette valve covers and a quartet of Weber DCOEs represent the business-end of this take-no-prisoners Gran Touring coupé, while inside the low-slung doors, the interior is finished in fine black suede, cloth and carpet set off only by a few instruments and a beautiful wood steering wheel.

This silver metallic car with black leather Series One interior has spent all of its life in Europe, only coming to the Únited States in January of this year. This aluminum-bodied car is a Strada model, as opposed to the competition-oriented Corsa, and is equipped with a 365 horsepower V8 Chevrolet engine.

Source - Russo & Steele
1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT 1966 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Coupe
Chassis #: 1A3 0253
Engine # 77F010850
Renzo Rivolta relied upon the Italian designer Giotto Bizzarrini, the individual responsible for the Ferrari 250 GTO and Testa Rossa, to create the Iso Grifo. It was fitted with a Chevy small-block V-8 engine and given a four-speed gearbox from the Corvette. Even though the Iso Grifo cost twice the price of a Corvette, it was much lighter and one of the most exotic cars of the era. It was a pure road-going race car that had a roofline that stood a mere 43-inches above the ground and the performance of a thoroughbred race car.

Iso would continue to make the road going cars, known as the Iso Grifo, while Bizzarrini built racing versions dubbed the Grifos. When the partnership between Bizzarrini and Iso soured, Iso was able to secure the supplies and parts necessary to build 50 Bizzarrini GT Stradas.

This example is one of the early, first-series 5300 Stradas. It has aluminum bodywork and a 5354cc Chevrolet V-8 engine and a four-speed manual gearbox. It was delivered new in Italy and remained there until it was restored in 1986 by a marque specialist. Upon completion, it was sent to Austria by a Bizzarrini and Lamborghini agent, Bruno de Cillia. He sold the vehicle to another Austrian, Kurt Gaggl who sold it in 1999 to an individual from Denmark, named Peter Larsen.

This 5300 GT Strada Alloy has won the GT category at the Cartier Concours d'Elegance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2005. It has been used in several rallies including the Italia Classica. It is currently painted in silver metallic cellulose with a soft black leather interior that is equipped with four-point safety belts, lumbar supports and a fire extinguisher.

In 2009, this Bizzarrini Coupe was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was expected to sell for $525,000 - $600,000. Bidding failed to satisfy the vehicle's reserve and the lot was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Bizzarrini began his career by working with Alfa Romeo. His expertise and skills were quickly realized and his abilities were promising. Later in life he began working for Ferrari where he was given the responsibility of development of the 250 GTO. Near the end of 1961, he left Ferrari and became a consultant driven by desires to build automobiles that would outdue his former employer. Lamborghini commissioned Bizzarrini to modify their V12 power-plant, an engine that would be well used in future Lamborghini models.

After leaving Lamborghini, Bizzarrini was offered an opportunity by Renzo Rivolta, the owner of Iso. During his employment with Iso he created the Iso Rivolta and the Grifo A3 models. The A3C was a GT race car powered by a Chevrolet Corvette engine that had been placed in the front but pushed back to take advante of weight distribution. The car proved itself at the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans in 1964 where it emerged with a class victory.

By mid-1965, after thirty examples had been produced, the relationship began to disintegrated. Bizzarrini had placed his emblem on almost all of the A3/C models, rather than using Iso emblems. To make matters worse, Bizzarrini had trademarked the Grifo name. Bizzarrini had tried to increase the racing department's budget but was refused by Rivolta. Rivolta was disgruntled since Iso had provided funding to market and race the A3C's. The two companies decided to split, with Iso acquiring the rights to the Grifo name and Bizzarrini obtaining sole rights to build the A3/C and components and parts to construct a limited number of examples.

The A3/C was given a new name, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. The vehicle was available in either Strada or Corsa trim, with the Strada being the more popular choice out of the two. The 5300 GT was basically the same as the A3/C. It retained the same chassis and under the hood lurked either a 365 hp or 405 hp engine, depending on the body-style. The main differences were cosmetic; the 5300 GT had aluminum bodywork by Carrozzeria BBM rather than using Drogo's Sports Cars of Modena. A bumper strip adorned the front of the vehicle and a few other aesthetic changes followed. There were no door handles; instead, there were push-button releases.

Three examples, all uniquely designed and created, were outfitted with Spyder bodies, one making its way to the 1966 Geneva Motorshow. The bodies were created of alloy and developed at Turin's Stile Italia under the supervision of Bizzarrini. The Spyder examples were dubbed 5300 SI Spyder and with the alloy roof panel could be further converted into a Coupe or a Targa.

The Corsa version was a racing bred, lightweight derivative of the 5300 GT. The bodywork was constructed of glass-fiber, the covers of the headlights were made of plastic, and a leather retaining strap kept the hood in place. The interior featured few amenities and whatever was not needed was removed. Modifications to the engine included polished ports and combustion chambers, free-flow exhaust system, high carbon connecting rods, and hot camshafts. The result was an 1190 kg dry weight automobile powered by a 405 hp engine.

As production progressed Bizzarrini started running short of components. To improvise, he constructed replacements or made changes to the original design. The seats, dash, and steering wheel were the most obvious of these changes.

Bizzarrini had created magnificent automobiles and designs, and had done well at selling the examples produced but it was not enough. By the middle of 1968 his company went into receivership and finally being force to close its doors in 1969.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
Bizzarrini's resume included working for the legendary Ferrari and Lamborghini marques, and when he began producing cars bearing his own name, these two marques became his top competitors.

The first car to bare his name was the 5300, created in collaboration with Giugiaro at Bertone and Renzo Rivolta, who were working on creating the Iso Rivolta 300 at the time. The Rivolta 300 had a Corvette V8 powerplant and a welded steel monocoque chassis. The suspension was indpenedent with double wishbones in the front and a DeDion rear axle. The Chevrolet V8 engine was a foreign piece of technology in an Italian sportscar, but it offered numerous benefits such as plenty of power (around 365 bhp), proven reliability, and low cost of production. The engine was placed as far back in the engine bay as possible, resuling in limited interior room, but maximum performance. Another drawback to being so close to the engine was the noise and the heat produced by engine. But, as in many other sports cars, interior space played 'second fiddle' to performance.

The result was spectacular, with performance and reliability coupled together in a small and stylish package. It was very aerodynamic, had a great suspension, and the powerplant to keep it competitive.

Bizzarrini wanted to take the cars racing but Iso, at first, disagreed. By 1963, Bizzarrini had convinced Rivolta to finance a racing program resulting in the development of a sportier version of the Iso Rivolta. The result was the Iso Grifo which laid the ground-work for the soon-to-come 5300GT. Homologation requirements meant the Iso Grifo was entered in the prototype category, pitting the car against some very fierce competition such as the dominant Ford GT40 with its seven-liter engine, and Shelby's Cobra. The team scored a 14th place finish at LeMans and a 19th at the Nurburgring 1000Km in 1964. 1965 began on a sour note, as a car was destroyed at Sebring and another at Daytona. The team switched to older cars, leaving them at even more of a disadavantage. At LeMans, the true potential of the cars shined, as they scored a class victory. This victory was made possible by the Ford GT40's retiring from the race prematurely.

At the 1963 Torino Motor Show, the competition Grifo A3/C and Grio A3/L 2+2 were displayed. These cars shared similarities, but very different bodies styled by Giugiaro at Bertone. The cars were given positive reviews at the show resulting in both being put into production. The chassis were built by Bizzarrini while Iso provided the engine and various other mechanical compoentns. The 2+2 A3/L models were assembled by Bertone and Drogo manufactured the competition bodies.

Only twenty-five examples of the Grifo's were produced before Renzo Rivolta's death. The relationship between Bizzarrini and Iso soon fell apart, ending with Bizzarrini suing Iso to get the necessary parts to finish 50 cars. The first set of cars carried the Iso badge, while the cars the came after chassis number 0024 were dubbed the Bizzarrini 5300 GTs. As such, both the Iso Grifo AC3/C and the Bizzarrini 5300 GT were very similar in many respects. Their designs were slightly different, as Carrozzeria BBM was tasked with creating the bodies for the Bizzarrini's which introduced small subtletees such as different door handles and small changes to the light and signals in the front and rear.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008

1966 Bizzarrini Models

Concepts by Bizzarrini

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