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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1962 Bizzarrini Ex Giotto


Chassis no: IA3-0332 Price: Refer Department Giotto Bizzarini's name is a well-known and greatly respected one in Italian sports car history. By the time of his 26th birthday he had already worked as a designer for Alfa Romeo, before progressing to Ferrari where he had been Project Director for the immortal 250 GTO. In 1962 he set up his own firm, Prototipi Bizzarini Srl, in Livorno, where as the name implies he concentrated upon freelance prototype design work. One of the fruits of this business was his involvement with Ferruccio Lamborghini's new company, where he led the team that created the first Lamborghini power plant, the V-12, 4 cam engine that was to be the mainstay of the marque's success, through the 350GT and 400GT to the great Miura and on. Like many a great designer working within set guidelines and limits, though, Bizzarini was impatient to put his signature to a car that could be produced from top to bottom exactly as he wished, using the latest technology and without the restrictions imposed by boards of directors and marketing men. Bizzarini had always been drawn to racing cars - they were what he knew best. Likewise he had recently been involved in the Grifo venture with Iso, which had included running a couple of prototypes at Le Mans, and he had obviously been impressed by the rugged reliability and effortless power of the American V8 engines that he had fitted in them. These factors were strongly reflected in the specification of this new 5300 GT 'Stradale' ('roadgoing' in Italian). In fact there wasn't that much 'Stradale' about the car. The engine was a front mounted 5,354cc V8 unit, tuned to produce a formidable 365bhp. A sturdy 4-speed all-synchromesh gearbox was used, as were massive servo-assisted disc brakes all round and a de Dion back axle, available with varying ratios. The coachwork, designed by Bertone, was a truly stunning and extremely low two-seater berlinetta of dramatic proportions. Such was the balance of the design that it was not immediately apparent whether the car was front or mid-engined. With a drag co-efficient of only 0.3CD, and a near perfect weight distribution of 48%/52% F/R, it incorporated all that Bizzarini had learnt and wished for in previous ventures, and to this day has lost nothing of its initial impact. Chassis 0332 played a significant role in the development of the model. Much of the development of the Stradale specification was originaly tested on this car throughout it's early life. Originally built in 1965, the car became the company's test and development 'mule', a role it fulfilled over a three year period, during which all the racing developments that were introduced to the road car specification were productionised on this chassis. These developments will have encompased everything from engine and braking developments to suspension settings to interior layout and trim changes. As with any race bred development programme, the number of miles covered in establishing the optimum performance settings from all the different systems on the car will have been extensive, with improvments in one area leading to work to improve other aspects to cope, as more and more performance was extracted from the basic design, until the ultimate final specification was reached. When production ceased in 1968 Bizzarini retained the car himself, and had it converted to the latest specification, incorporating the production variations of all the development work the car had been involved in over the previous years. It was in this specification that Bizzarrini retained the car for the next three decades. In 1997 the car was purchased directly from Giotto Bizzarini by a well known British historic racing driver who entrusted the car to Steven Griswald's noted Italian race car preparation buisness for preparation for use in International Historic GT events, in which the 5300 model is so competative. The result of this rebuild is a car which has been a regular front runner in pre '66 endurance and sports racing events in recent years, regularly finishing in the top three places of these competitive and closely fought events. As well as being one of the most advanced designs from the period, the Bizzarini is also one of the most reliable, a factor so important in long distance races. The combination of the reliability of the hugely powerfull V8 engine with the robust chassis design by one of the foremost designers of the day make for a very attractive package both on paper and on the track. Though currently in racing trim, the car is registered for use on the road in the UK, and with simple modifications could easily be returned to this specification, resulting in a truly fabulous and exciting entry into any number of touring events around the world. Supplied with FIA papers as well as copies of documents from Giotto Bizzarini himself confirming his extended period of ownership of the car, this unique, highly sought after and compative competition 5300 remains a formidable historic GT car. In recent years the car has been driven at the Coys Historic festival, at the Silverstone Historic festival and in the Dijon 3 hour race. With its perfect historical origins, it is ideally suited for all historic GT events whether they be sprint format or endurance.


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