I first saw the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada some 10 years back, when I attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the very first time. What struck me then, and has stayed with me all this time, is how beautiful it is, how unique I thought is looked and I wanted one (not very likely, but the desire was there).
In 1966 Bizzarrini S.p.A. released a stunning street legal Grifo A3C as the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada (or Bizzarrini 5300 GT America, depending on the market). The body shape and mechanical parts were the much the same as the Iso A3C’s, resulting in a power-packed yet sensuous coupe under 40″ in height.
Production of the 5300 GT lasted until well into 1968 and a combined total of 115 examples were produced (so it is a rare car). 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.
So who was Giotto Bizzarrini?
Hired by Ferrari in 1957, thanks to his test-driving and engineering skills. Here he first fine-tuned existing models and eventually was given the responsibility to develop a new line of GT racers. He was busy developing the 250 GTO, when he 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 manufacturer. 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.
Giotto Bizzarini was undoubtedly an extraordinary man, a genius, and his 5300 GT Strada is one of the greatest cars ever!
However, I cannot help but wonder, if this man had been a great marketer, could he have been much more well-known, aka Enzo Ferrari, Ferry Porsche, Ettore Bugatti, Colin Chapman and other giants.
It is a shame that only the most avid sports car enthusiasts know this man’s importance, his genius: WOW, I certainly think this man was a legend, helped create the Ferrari GTO (many state the most beautiful car in the world, ever!), constructed the famous Lamborghini V12, he was the Iso Grifo business, and he made what for me is one of the all time most beautiful cars, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada.