The Bizzarrini Strada was sold in the US under the name Bizzarrini
review by Vladimir Pajevic
The story of Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada is a kind of dream came
true story. Although Giotto Bizzarrini has already firmed some
of the exotic projects for most revered names in the sports
car world such as 250 SWB, GTO and Testa Rossa for Enzo Ferrari
or Iso Grifo for Iso Rivolta and vas involved by Ferruccio Lamborghini
in Miura project as engine chief engineer, his secret desire
was to realize a car that would bear his own name.
Bizzarrini was remarkable character with clear ideas about sports
car and even some experience as a factory owner being for some
time proprietor of ATS together with Chiti and Conte Volpi di
Misurata, but he was also decidedly an artist as well as a designer,
requiring his cars and engines to look as well as they performed.
That's why, when he started with his idea of making the first
"Real Bizzarrini", still under the contract with Iso
Rivolta, he engaged another wonder boy of Italian car body design,
Giorgetto Giugiaro, that executed a beautiful coachwork for
extremely low (111 cm) road raptor with unmistakable smell of
circuits. A legend was born.
This superb machine was born at wrong time when oncoming oil
crisis has already decreed the end of that magic moment that
European GT car production lived. The Golden Age of supercar
adventure was passing remorselessly but the Bizzarrini dream
entered the hall of fame.
Although the entire story of Bizzarrini car factory occupied
a mere 3 years of existence, no marquee more nobly painted the
idea of mighty, yet elegant and refined road racer. In the early
1960s, that was leading concept of major European top car builders.
Sports car racing absorbed much time and money, but Giotto Bizzarrini
has learned in the temple of racing, as a chief engineer of
Scuderia Ferrari, that only the circuits could crown the successful
projects, and that's the reason that he developed his car as
a natural heir of group 6 prototypes that dominated the scene
in world racing, mixing together ennobled and sophisticated
chassis and suspension with huge American engine capable of
various stages of tuning. Despite the fact that Bizzarrini was
the father of such a jewel as Lamborghini Miura V 12 engine,
he chose Chevrolet Corvette 5, 4 l alloy motor suitable for
extreme tuning and preserving at the same time its natural tremendous
The car appeared for the first time at Turin show in 1963 at
Iso Rivolta stand under the name of ISO 150A3C moved with Chevy
engine tuned to a 410 bhp and stated to 305 kph of maximum speed.
It looked impressive with its body of nude aluminium just riveted
to a monocoque chassis.
The engine was pushed back in the front part of the chassis
to equilibrate the weights, and occupied partly cockpit producing
a kind of hell temperature in such narrow space, making the
car decidedly not suitable for daily street use. However, despite
its racing origins it was never developed as a competition car
and later, when Bizzarini in 1966 started the production in
his own factory and under his name in Livorno, the car was detuned
to 'only' 365 bhp and 'only' 280 kph, the heating problem in
cockpit was fixed, the rear window was enlarged and the car
offered in the States as "3500 GT".
But the game was over. Although Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada remain
instantly recognizable throughout the sports car history, the
fact is that only 107 of this superb thoroughbreds were assembled,
and its uncompromising character where performance had absolute
priority over other considerations, could not save this masterpiece
from general catastrophic decline of the world of supercars
at the end of decade.
Giotto Bizzarrini closed his activity in 1969, promising some
better days and even better thoroughbreds in the future, but
the season of the miracles has passed forever?