After famously leaving Ferrari and ATS, Giotto Bizzarrini teamed up with Italian industrialist Renzo Rivolta, who was turning his Iso Company into a manufacturer of sports cars. After developing a sophisticated chassis for the Iso Rivolta coupe, Rivolta then asked Bizzarrini to turn the Iso Grifo A3/L into a race winning machine.
Featuring a combined multi-tubular semi-monocoque chassis, the A3/C frame was derived from the A3/L, albeit with a reinforced floorpan and a shortened wheelbase. Reduced from 2700 to 2450mm, the A3/C chassis was also much lighter than the A3/L frame and had its engine mounted well back for optimum weight distribution. The motor was actually positioned so far back that access to the ignition and distributor was via a trap door located on top of the dash.
The A3/C used a Chevrolet Corvette 327 cubic inch V-8 prepared in-house to either 405bhp in Corsa trim or mildly de-tuned 365bhp Strada spec. The Strada normally featured an 11:1 compression ratio, Carter four-barrel carburetor and 365bhp at 6200rpm. This was enough for a top speed approaching 160mph and a 0-60 time of just 6.1 seconds putting it firmly in the territory of Ferrari’s new 275 GTB.
Bizzarrini worked in close cooperation with Bertone’s Giorgetto Giugiaro to sculpt the A3/C’s aluminum skin. Being a racing car, the main priority was to create as little frontal area as possible, but nevertheless the result was quite pleasing to the eye. Fabricated by Piero Drogo’s Sports Cars of Modena, the light alloy bodywork was riveted onto the chassis to form a combined monocoque with the frame.
Production began in early 1964 and the earliest customer cars were delivered soon after, one of the first (chassis B 0202) contesting the Sebring 12 Hours in March and making the A3/C’s competitive debut. Over the next eighteen months, Corsa’s racked up several important results including back-to-back class wins in the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans 24 Hour races.
Despite this promise on the track, relations between Renzo Rivolta and Giotto Bizzarrini had broken down. By August 1965, their association was finally terminated after A3/C production had barely reached thirty examples.
While marketed at the expense of Iso, Bizzarrini had supplied nearly all the aforementioned A3/C’s with Bizzarrini Livorno badges, this after registering the dual model Grifo designation for himself. Understandably, Rivolta was more than a little disgruntled and the two men split, Rivolta acquiring the rights to the Grifo name for use on his forthcoming A3/L. In return, Bizzarrini was given enough component parts to construct fifty vehicles and the sole rights to build the A3/C under whatever name he desired.
Once Bizzarrini was in charge of building and marketing the A3/C himself, one of his first acts was to rename it the Bizzarrini 5300 GT in Strada or Corsa trim, although customers could have some degree of cross-over if they so wished.
As a manufacturer in his own right, however, Bizzarrini struggled to make money and by the middle of 1968, the firm went into receivership, closing down for good in 1969 after producing 67 5300 GT Stradas and probably no more than two Corsas.
1967 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada For Sale
Details: Seller Cars International Kensington does not list an asking price. Car is located in the U.K.
Seller Comments: “Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada, chassis no. IA3 0264 is finished in red with black interior and according to Jack Koobs de Hartog, the keeper of the European Bizzarrini Register has a continuous ownership history including we are led to believe Bruce McLaren. Chassis number IA3 0264 is described as being completely correct and is ready to participate in the very best historic events on the planet.”
“365 hp, 5,359 cc, Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine, one Carter four barrel carburetor, independent, wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shocks, anti roll bar front suspension, De Dion tube, coil springs, hydraulic shocks, longitudinal struts, anti roll bar rear suspension, four wheel disc brakes.”
“Today, the car is presented by Cars International in absolutely superb condition and has to be the finest example available for sale.”
Sports Car Digest Comments: The May – August 2008 Cars That Matter price guide advocates a $421,000 – $575,000 range for a Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada.
From the August 1996 issue of Sports Car Market, “Current value of a “best in the world” Bizzarrini is in the $75,000 range. While Bizzarrinis will always have collector appeal, they will remain a second-tier collectible, and will never accelerate past the market at large. They are reasonably priced at the current time, and should hold their value.”
This is not a dig at SCM, but a look into the way enthusiasts used to view Bizzarrinis only 12 years ago. Fast forward to present day where Bizzarrinis are top-tier collectibles welcomed at car events around the world.
This “finest example” and formerly owned by Bruce McLaren Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada will not be cheap, but the buyer will own one of the most striking cars of the era, if not of all time. Plus, mechanical replacement parts are available and reasonably priced, allowing for a relatively affordable cost of ownership.
Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Photos: