Bizzarrini S.p.A. was an Italian automotive manufacturer in the 1960s founded by former Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Iso engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. The company built a small number of highly developed and advanced sport and racing automobiles before failing in 1969. Notable models include the 5300 GT Strada and the P538S.
Originally Prototipi Bizzarrini s.r.l., the name was changed to Bizzarrini S.p.A. in 1966. The Bizzarrini marque has been revived with a number of concept cars in the 2000s.
|Giotto Bizzarrini, founder|
Giotto Bizzarrini was born in Livorno, Italy in 1926. His father was a rich landowner who came from a family with strong roots in Tuscany and the city of Livorno. His grandfather, also named Giotto Bizzarrini, was a biologist who had worked with Guglielmo Marconi on his inventions, especially the radio, following which one of the Livorno Library sections was named The Bizzarrini Library.
Bizzarrini graduated as an engineer in the University of Pisa in 1953. He taught briefly before joining Alfa Romeo in 1954. He worked for Alfa Romeo from 1954 to 1957. He began working for Ferrari in 1957, eventually becoming controller of experimental, Sports and GT car development. He worked at Ferrari as a developer, designer, test driver, and chief engineer for five years. His developments there included the Ferrari 250 TR, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB (Short Wheelbase Berlinetta or Berlinetta Passo Corto), and the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
Bizzarrini was fired by Ferrari during the "palace revolt" of 1961. He became part of Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS)), a company started by the ex-Ferrari engineers to build a Formula 1 single seater and a GT sport car, the A.T.S. Serenissima.
One of ATS's financial backers, Count Giovanni Volpi, owner of Scuderia Serenissima, hired Bizzarrini to upgrade a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, with chassis number #2819GT to GTO specifications. This resulted in the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Drogo also known as the "Breadvan".
Bizzarrini's engineering company, Societa Autostar, was commissioned to design a V-12 engine for a GT car to be built by another dissatisfied Ferrari customer, Ferruccio Lamborghini. Lamborghini considered the resulting engine to be too highly strung, and ordered that it be detuned.
Bizzarrini worked since 1964 for Iso Rivolta and developed three models: Iso Rivolta GT, Iso Grifo both A3L and A3C versions. His work was to develop a pressed steel frame chassis for Iso cars. Renzo Rivolta hired him as consultant to the Iso Gordon GT project which became the Iso Rivolta GT. The Iso Gordon GT prototype was developed from the Gordon-Keeble. The Gordon Keeble GT was designed in 1960 by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Bizzarrini tested the car and was impressed by the powerful V8 Corvette engine and the rear De Dion tube suspension used for the GT:
"Rivolta had me test the prototype. I liked its De Dion tube and especially the Corvette engine. It was the first time I had driven one. It was superior to Ferrari's engines, having the same power, but with a more immediate throttle response."
The Iso Rivolta GT was a Giugiaro-designed four-seater with beautiful body, speed, comfort and handling, and was a successful car for Iso, with 799 units sold. Powered by a 327 in3 (5.36 L) Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine with a classic De Dion rear suspension design with pressed steel monocoque bodywork over pressed steel frame chassis. Unveiled to the press in 1963, production continued until 1970.
The Iso Grifo A3L was a monstrous idea for a super coupé, the L coming from Lusso. The result of the brilliant Giugiaro and Bizzarrini working together, it was based on a shortened Iso Rivolta GT chassis and was debuted at the 1963 Turin show. The Grifo epitomised the 1960s Italian style with its handsome low and wide handmade bodywork. It was the fastest production car tested by Autocar Magazine in 1966 with a top speed of 160 mph (260 km/h). Later versions of the Grifo were powered by a big block Chevrolet Corvette 435 bhp (324 kW; 441 PS) engine. These 90 handbuilt units are distinguishable by the raised "pagoda style" scoop bonnet. Some of these Iso Grifo 7 Litri units were rebuilt later with even bigger engines.
The idea of Bizzarrini was to use the 3AL cars for competition. The competition versions of the Grifo were named Iso Grifo A3C, C for Competizione or Corsa. A new lightweight riveted aluminium body was designed and built by Piero Drogo. It was an aggressively-designed machine, oriented to endurance races. It uses normal Iso underpinnings but the engine was moved further back in the chassis frame than the Grifo A3L, protruding well into the driver's cabin, fitted with hot cams and fed by four big Weber carburetors, giving more than 400 bhp (298 kW; 406 PS).
Around 29 A3C sport cars were built under the Iso name. Five of these 29 cars were bodied in plastic/fiberglass by Piero Drogo at Carrozzeria Sports Cars in Modena. A3Cs were widely raced. Some cars entered the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans 24 hour, 1965 Nürburgring 1000 and 1965 Sebring. It achieved a Le Mans class win in both years and a 9th overall in 1965 with no factory support. A3Cs were one of the fastest cars on Le Mans' Mulsanne Straight in both years.
Due to the complicated deal with Iso, Bizzarrini left in 1964 and founded Societa Prototipi Bizzarrini (Bizzarrini S.p. A), which produced some 140 cars through 1969 at its Livorno factory.
Giotto Bizzarrini was a dedicated race car designer and builder. Likely one of the sources of disagreement between Renzo Rivolta and Giotto Bizzarrini was Bizzarrini’s desire to build race cars and Renzo Rivolta’s desire to build high quality GT cars and family transportation cars. They decided to part ways in 1964.
Bizzarrini had mixed success in racing. The lowlight for Bizzarrini must certainly have been the Sebring 12 Hours on March 27, 1965 where both Iso/Bizzarrini race cars were heavily crashed and totaled.
The highlight came later that same year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 19–20, 1965 where an Iso Grifo/Bizzarrini won the 5000 cc and over class and was ninth overall.
C. Rino Argento helped Bizzarrini manage the race cars during that terrible week in June 1965 at Sebring. He has written a detailed account of that week, which was originally published in the Griffon, the magazine of the Iso & Bizzarrini Owner’s Club.
Car No. 8, driven by Silvio Moser, went off track due to brake failure and crashed into a Volkswagen bus. Nobody was injured, but the car was a total loss.
Later during a very heavy rain storm car No. 9, driven by Mike Gammino, aquaplaned, hit the pedestrian bridge and split in two. The car split right behind the driver and Mike Gammino did not realize how close he came to being killed until he stepped out of the car.
The famous California race car builder Max Balchowsky was also at Sebring helping the Bizzarrini team. He took all of the pieces of these two Iso/Bizzarrini race cars back to his shop in Southern California with the intention to build one Iso/Bizzarrini from the pieces of the two destroyed cars. This recreated Iso/Bizzarrini race car has never been seen again.
There was a morbid end to the week: a plane crash killed Iso and Bizzarrini supporter Mitch Michelmore and his son as they were on their way back to California. Michelmore "had a Chevrolet dealership in Reseda, California and he had sold quite a few Iso Rivoltas; he was enthusiastic about the cars and interested in the racing version (the Grifos) and was seriously considering a sales activity for them in this country", according to C. Rino Argento.
Argento summed up the week: “This was the end of a terrible week and the pain was unbearable for me, the organizer of this adventure! In great part because of my initiative and planning all these people had congregated at Sebring for what was supposed to be a fun, interesting, successful, and profitable race and it turned out to be a human and material disaster!”
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 A3Cs, resulting in a power-packed yet sensuous coupe that is 43" in height.
At least three 5300s were turned out as Style Italia-designed spyder/targa versions, all of which survive and are currently owned by the same person.
Bizzarrini also managed a scaled-down 5300 GT project. Designed for GM-Opel, it was based on Opel 1900 platform. Bizzarrini's proposal was more aggressive and attractive in appearance, like a small 5300 GT. The production Opel GT was designed by factory stylists and was less aggressive, but still beautiful. Bizzarrini then decided to build the car on his own. Around 17 prototypes were completed. The car is officially named as the Bizzarrini 1900 GT Europa. One of these cars has a barchetta ("little boat") body. Some cars are powered by 1300-litre and 1600-litre four-cylinder engines sourced from General Motors, Alfa Romeo and Fiat. There is even a highly developed racing version with a SPICA fuel injection system.
Bizzarrini's advanced ideas emerged again with the superb Bizzarrini P538S, P for posteriore, 53 for the 5300 cc Corvette engine, 8 for V8 engine and S for Sportcar. The first V-12 car was ordered by American racer Mike Gammino.
This ultra low barchetta raced in the 1966 Le Mans (DNF) and was even entered in 1967, but did not start (DNQ). In 1966, after a spin at the start line, it lasted less than a half an hour and retired due to a cracked oil line. During the short race time, the P538 was clocked as one of the fastest cars on the Mulsanne Straight.
In 1968, Giugiaro rebuilt one of the P538 bodies as the famous Bizzarrini Manta. After some years in Sweden, it was dismantled for an extensive restoration. Later featured in various classics car events, it is now in the United States.
Seven complete AMX/3 cars and nine chassis are known to survive. Bizzarrini used the 8th AMX/3 chassis to build the Iso Varedo. The 9th chassis was used to build the AMX Spider. This was the ultimate evolution of the P538 and Bizzarrini 5300 GT chassis.
Officially, three or four chassis were originally built in period, destined to race in the United States by Mike Gammino and Le Mans. Today, not less than a dozen (or more) chassis are in existence, some of these replicas claiming to be the real cars raced in Le Mans. At least two of the replicas are Lamborghini V12 powered. These V12 powered cars were truly the long-awaited Bizzarrini dream — his own engine and chassis.
In 1990, Bizzarrini was involved in the design of a one-off supercar model. Based on Ferrari Testarossa components, Bizzarrini and his team designed a superb car. The Bizzarrini BZ-2001 is the true successor of the P538. The car was the first one of a planned production run, but only one more car was completed.
In 1989 a group of young friends living in Ascoli Piceno, with a strong passion for motor sport, had the idea to establish a company constructing "copies" of the cars manufactured in the past by Giotto Bizzarrini. During their first encounter, the Tuscan motor genius expressed a kind of animosity towards this idea; he refused to support the project and he turned the group of friends out. Nevertheless, their motivation was so strong that, after a short briefing of about half an hour, they presented an alternative proposal — to construct a sports car. The result was the Picchio Barchetta, powered by BMW engines. The cars were successfully raced in the Italian Hillclimb Championship and Italian Sport Championship.
The Kjara project was born in 1998. The Scuderia Bizzarrini built this sport barchetta in close collaboration with Leone Martellucci of University La Sapienza of Roma. The car is powered by a parallel hybrid propulsion system with a 2.5 litre TurboDiesel Lancia engine and a 40 kW (54 hp) AC electric drive; it was shown at Turin Auto Show 2000.
Mr. Bizzarrini is still busy with personal projects and conferences.
At the 2005 Geneva show, the new owner of the marque Bizzarrini showed the new GT Strada 4.1 concept, a two-door GT with a 4.1-litre 550 bhp (410 kW; 558 PS) plant, producing a maximum speed 360 km/h (220 mph), 0–100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, and was planned for production in 2007.
Since 2008, Giotto Bizzarrini has been working in Livorno, building replicas P538 for American customers.
Today, he is still very busy, teaching and collaborating with the Roma University developing advanced projects and designing, building and developing his own sport cars. He often said: "I'm not a car designer, I am a worker".
On October 23, 2012, the occasion of the inauguration of the University of Florence new Design Campus in Calenzano, Professor Giotto Bizzarrini was given the Honoris Causa Degree in Industrial Design.
ASA (Autocostruzioni Società per Azioni) was an Italian automobile manufacturer active from 1961 to 1969, who is known for manufacturing the ASA 1000 GT. This car was developed by Ferrari engineers in the late 1950s as a less expensive, compact alternative to existing Ferrari GT cars. ASA used inline-four and straight-six engines derived from the "250" 3-litre V12 designed by Gioacchino Colombo. The chassis was developed Giotto Bizzarrini, and derived from the tubular frame of the 250 GTO.
The prototype that would become the ASA 1000 GT was first presented by Carrozzeria Bertone (Geneva 1961) under the name "Mille". Following this debut in late 1961, Enzo Ferrari decided to not sell the new car as a Ferrari and entrusted production to a close friend, Oronzio de Nora. The car was manufactured in Milan by a newly formed company called ASA (owned by the De Nora Electrochemical Group) from 1964 to 1969. The 1000 GT model was officially introduced in 1962, but due to production difficulties series production did not begin until 1964.Automobili Turismo e Sport
ATS (Automobili Turismo e Sport) is an Italian automotive constructor. It once had a racing team that operated between 1963 and 1965, formed after the famous "Palace Revolution" at Ferrari.Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I.
Bizzarrini 5300 GT S.I. Spyder prototype created in 1966 on chassis number IA3*0245. They were designed by the unknown carrozzeria Stile Italia (S.I.), via Governolo 28 in Torino and built in cooperation with Sibona & Basano. The name Spyder had an "y" in it for marketing reasons, because the Italian alphabet does not know that letter as such. The first appearance was at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, after a traffic accident of the transporter who brought the car(s) to the show. The present owner of the two of these three Spyders, Mark Sassak, clearly defines the differences between these cars.Bizzarrini Europa
The Bizzarrini Europa was a small GT car produced by Bizzarrini between 1966 and 1969. Originally powered by a 1481 cc Fiat straight-4 engine, the car officially became the Europa with the introduction of an 1897 cc Opel powerplant. About 25 examples were built, the definitive number is not known as the factory did not keep records. All parts were bought by Salvatore Diomante from the court after the bankruptcy. Some cars were finished in the late 60s and early 70s.
The prototype had steel doors and was sold to Giordannengo, Cuneo, ItalyBizzarrini P538
The P538 or P538S was a rear-engined race car launched in late 1965 or early 1966 by Scuderia Bizzarrini of Livorno, Italy. At least two P538s were built with the Chevrolet Corvette's 327-cu.in. V8 engines and two more with 4.0 and 3.5-litre Lamborghini V12 engines. Five-speed manual transaxles were used, with gearing specific to the race for which each car was constructed. Braking was via inboard four wheel disc brakes, with a fully independent suspension. The body was made of fiberglass over a tubular steel chassis.
The first V8-powered car debuted at Le Mans in 1966, with Swiss drivers Edgar Berney and Andre Wicky, but records indicate both retired after three hours with a cooling problem. A second team in a production-based Bizzarrini A3/C, driven by Sam Posey and Massimo Natili, was disqualified after a pit lane violation, possibly while returning with serious frame damage.American Ferrari driver Mike Gammino then commissioned a Lamborghini 4.0-liter V12 powered car, which he raced once. Bizzarrini attempted to build a second, 3.5-litre V12 car for Le Mans, but was unable to complete it before bankruptcy.Bizzarrini Strada
The Bizzarrini Strada (also 5300 GT Strada and 5300 GT), was a gran turismo automobile produced by Bizzarrini from 1965 to 1968. Sold as an exceptionally low slung 2-seat coupe, roadster, and track-tuned "Corsa" racer, it proved their most successful model.Carrozzeria Sports Cars
Carrozzeria Sports Cars was a niche carrozzeria in Modena, Italy, active in the 1960s. The company was founded by one-time Formula One driver, Piero Drogo, and it quickly began taking on small sports car and racing body orders from the manufacturers in that city. His bodies were used by Scuderia Serenissima and Bizzarrini, and his occasional work for Ferrari brought him some fame. Drogo and his Carrozzeria disappeared by the end of the decade.Notable designs:
Dino 206 SP
Dino 206 S
Ferrari 330 P2
Ferrari 330 P3
Ferrari 330 P4
Ferrari 250 P4 Thomassima II
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan 1962
Ferrari 250 Drogo Speciale
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 The 'Navarro'
Maserati Tipo 151/3
De Sanctis SP1000
Iso Grifo A3C
Porsche 550 Spyder special
Aguzzoli Condor MK1Ferrari 250 GTO
The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. It was powered by Ferrari's Tipo 168/62 Colombo V12 engine.
The "250" in its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each of its cylinders; "GTO" stands for Gran Turismo Omologata, Italian for "Grand Touring Homologated."
Just 36 of the 250 GTOs were manufactured between 1962 and 1964. This includes 33 cars with 1962-63 bodywork (Series I) and three with 1964 (Series II) bodywork similar to the Ferrari 250 LM. Four of the older 1962-1963 (Series I) cars were updated in 1964 with Series II bodies.
When new, the GTO cost $18,000 in the United States, with buyers personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti. In October 2013, Connecticut-based collector Paul Pappalardo sold chassis number 5111GT to an unnamed buyer for a new record of around $52 million. In June 2018, the 1963 250 GTO set an all-time record selling price of $70 million.In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the "Greatest Ferraris of All Time." Popular Mechanics named it the "Hottest Car of All Time."Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan is a one-off Ferrari made in 1962 from a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis number 2819 GT. It was built to compete against the new 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other FIA World Sportscar Championship races.Giotto Bizzarrini
Giotto Bizzarrini (6 June 1926 in Quercianella, Livorno Province, Italy) is an Italian automobile engineer active from the 1950s through the 1970s.
After graduating in 1953, Bizzarrini eventually joined Alfa Romeo as a test driver. He gained a reputation for identifying and solving problems and was head hunted by Ferrari in 1957. Bizzarrini's responsibility increased until he became sports car development chief at Ferrari in the late 1950s, working on such notable projects as the Ferrari 250 GTO. He split from the company as part of the 'Great Walkout' in 1961, worked first with ATS, and then in 1962 started his own company, Società Autostar, whose name was changed to Bizzarrini in 1964. In addition to producing the exotic Bizzarrini 5300 GT, Bizzarini also worked for other makers including Iso, Lamborghini, and Alfa Romeo. Several concept cars in the 2000s bear his name.Iso (automobile)
Iso was an automobile and motorcycle maker, the product of Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A of Italy. The company was predominantly active from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. Iso are known for the iconic Isetta bubble car of the 1950s, and for a number of powerful performance cars in the 1960s and early 1970s.Iso Grifo
The Iso Grifo is a limited production grand tourer automobile manufactured by Italian Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. between 1965 and 1974. Intended to compete with Ferrari and Maserati GTs, it utilized a series of American power trains and components supplied by Chevrolet and Ford to ensure performance and maximize reliability. Styling was done by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone, while the mechanicals were the work of Giotto Bizzarrini.The first production GL models appeared in 1965 and were powered by American Chevrolet Corvette small-block 327 (5.4-litre) V8s fitted to American supplied Borg-Warner 4-speed manual transmissions.
In 1970, the Grifo Series II appeared, with sleeker styling and hide-away headlights and powered by big-block Chevrolet 454 V8 (7.5-litre) engines. It was replaced in 1972 with the Grifo IR-8, which utilized a small-block Ford Boss 351 engine (5.8-litre) as its power train. This was the last new Iso of any type, as the manufacturer went bankrupt and eventually shut down and ceased all operations permanently in 1974. The bankruptcy had a number of causes, perhaps the largest being the 1973 oil crisis which significantly reduced demand for cars with large V8 engines.Lamborghini 350 GT
The Lamborghini 350 GT was a grand tourer manufactured by Lamborghini between 1964 and 1966. It was the first production vehicle produced by Lamborghini. The 350 GT was based on the earlier Lamborghini 350 GTV and was equipped with a 3.5 liter V12 engine and a 2-door coupé body by Carrozzeria Touring. The 350 GT debuted at the March 1964 Geneva Motor Show and production began the following May. The success of this model ensured the company's survival, establishing it as a viable competitor with rival manufacturer Ferrari.Picchio Racing Cars
Picchio Racing Cars is a small Italian racing and road automobile manufacturer, based in the town of Ancarano, Teramo.
Founded in 1989 by Giotto Bizzarrini, Picchio built their first car, the SR2, in 1998. Also known as the A001 or the MB1, the SR2 used a 3-litre BMW straight-6 engine, and made its debut at the Misano round of the International Sports Racing Series in July 1998. In 2002, the firm gave Armando Trentini the exclusivity to introduced the D-USA which, with the collaboration of G&W Motorsports (now Synergy Racing), was used in the SRPII category of the Rolex Sports Car Series; Darren Law took second in the SRPII championship that year whilst driving a D-USA. the team also had one victory at the six hours of Mont Trembland Canada (drivers Daren Law, Andy Lally, Armando Trentini). In 2003, Trentini and G&W Motorsports introduced the DP2, which was built for the new Daytona Prototype class of Grand-Am. On its debut, the DP2 finished 24th in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Darren Law was the most successful DP2 driver, and he took sixth in the Daytona Prototype championship; whilst Steve Marshall won the SRPII championship in a D-USA, and helped give Picchio the SRPII Constructor's championship. A new Daytona Prototype entered development in 2003, but the car, known as the DP3, never actually raced, although Andrea Montermini did test a version of the car. The DP3 would later morph into an Alfa Romeo 8C-based Daytona Prototype, but this too would not materialize.
In 2004, Picchio introduced a new series of prototypes for hillclimbing; the Light Series. In 2010, Picchio introduced their second hillclimb series, the P4/E2, which used a 1750 cc turbocharged engine. Christian Merliin was selected as the official P4/E2 driver, and he took six wins from seven races. The same year, they introduced the Picchio DANY road car, which was the firm's first entry into the electric city car market, and began life as the Belumbury project in 2008. In 2011, Nicola Guida designed a carbon-fibre bicycle for Picchio.Salvatore Diomante
Salvatore Diomante is an automobile engineer and restorer, best known as Bizzarrini's factory manager in the 1960s.
Diomante resides in Nichelino, Italy and operates Autocostruzioni S.D., where he keeps parts, special tools and original moulds from Bizzarrini P538s and Bizzarrini 5300s. He rebuilds and restores old Bizzarrini cars, as well as other Italian exotic cars.He usually is called by owners to make spare parts. Some info talk about some new cars and replicas built using original and old sourced parts.
In the eighties, Diomante offered stretched versions of some Italian cars. A long wheelbase Fiat 131 and a Maserati Quattroporte elongated by 65 cm were some of his efforts. The Quattroporte offered a sumptuous interior and a correspondingly high price tag of 210 million lire. The stretched 131, called the SD 131 Diplomatic, sat on a 60 cm longer wheelbase than usual and was thus nearly 5 metres long. It was a four-door sedan with an added middle row of seats.Scuderia
Scuderia means "stable" (noun) in the Italian language. It has entered English usage mainly through professional auto racing, in which many Italian teams incorporate the term in their names.
"Scuderia" may refer to:
Scuderia Ferrari, a current Italian Formula One team
Scuderia Toro Rosso, a current Italian Formula One team
Any of a number of other racing teams:
Scuderia Centro Sud
Scuderia Enrico Plate
A version of the Ferrari F430
Scuderia, a streamliner dragster
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003, American sportscarValentino Balboni
Valentino Balboni (born 13 May 1949) is the former chief test driver of Lamborghini, a manufacturer of sports cars in Italy. He retired in October 2008 due to Italian government work regulations, after having served the company for 40 years.
To pay tribute to him in occasion of his retirement, Lamborghini had labeled a 2009 edition to the Gallardo line-up, the LP550-2 Valentino Balboni.