1968 Bizzarrini GT Strada 5300 Coupé
After spells at Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, where he was the prime mover behind the legendary 250 GTO, Giotto Bizzarrini turned freelance in 1962, winning commissions from Lamborghini, for whom he designed their formidable V12, and from motorcycle company Iso, then returning to automobile manufacturing with the Rivolta. A four-seater coupé, the Rivolta combined Bertone styling with Chevrolet V8 power and provided Bizzarrini with the basis for his next project - the Grifo. Also styled by Bertone and graced by one of the maestro's most attractive efforts, the two-seater Iso Grifo coupé employed a shortened version of the Rivolta's fabricated platform chassis that retained the larger car's independent front suspension, De Dion rear axle and all-round disc brakes. Performance depended on the engine installed, with up to 180mph attainable by the 7-litre model.
Convinced the car had competition potential, Bizzarrini finally obtained permission from Renzo Rivolta to manufacture the high-performance derivative under his own name. A road-going version, the Bizzarrini GT Strada 5300, was introduced in 1965, selling in the USA as the Bizzarrini 5300 America. The Strada retained the race car's lightweight aluminium bodywork (which shed 400lbs) and lowered suspension, but featured a higher level of interior trim. The '5300' title derived from the model's 327ci (approximately 5,300cc) Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine. The latter produced around 310bhp with single Holley carburettor or 365bhp when equipped with a quartet of Webers, in either form endowing the lightweight aerodynamic coupé with stupendous performance. Not for nothing was the Bizzarrini reckoned, "as fast as a Ferrari".
Contemporary records indicate that 133 A3C and Strada models were built and all but 12 had all-alloy bodies. The chassis sequence began at '201', production continuing from 1964 to 1968. Only a handful of prototypes were produced after the Livorno factory ceased production in 1969, by which time 139 cars of all types had been built.
This aluminium bodied Bizzarrini GT Strada was purchased on 17th December 1988 from the USA where it had previously been owned by a Chevrolet dealer. The latter had commenced its restoration before selling the car to well known specialist Oliver Kuttner, of Charlottesville, Virginia, who completed the work and then sold it to the present owner, British collector and 'motoring personality' Alexander 'Chips' Fyshe. Further work was carried out in the UK by Marlborough Garages following the car's importation in July 1989, at which time the odometer reading was 30,252 kilometres (approximately 18,800 miles) while in recent years it has been maintained by Bill McGrath Ltd.
The Bizzarrini was exhibited at the first Louis Vuitton concours d'elegance in the UK at Stowe in July 1990, at the Parc de Bagatelle in September 1991 and at the Hurlingham Club in June 1999. It won the 1995 MotorSport concours at Silverstone and was subsequently featured in the eponymous magazine. Until recently it had not been driven for the past seven years and the odometer currently reads 40,544 kilometres (approximately 25,200 miles). In July 2008 Bill McGrath Ltd went through the car before it was put back on the road, following which a new MoT roadworthiness certificate was obtained. The re-commissioning invoice of £3,869 accompanies the car.
Offered with British V5 registration document, this is a fine example of a rare and evocatively named US-Italian supercar of the 'Sixties that can only become increasingly collectible. Compare its dramatic looks, performance and reliability with those of its contemporary rival, the Ferrari 275GTB/4, and the Bizzarrini stands out as offering superb value. Alexander Fyshe's personal notes recording starting procedure, operating instructions and other useful data are included in the sale.