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A historical race car with significant historical value, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT is one car you absolutely need to know about.
Any gearhead out there who might not have heard about the company Bizzarrini could be forgiven because this is not a name many people know. The short-lived company was founded by Giotto Bizzarrini, a former engineer at both Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Founded in 1962, he originally named his company Società Autostar, before changing it to his namesake in 1964. Over seven years, Giotto Bizzarrini and his brand made several remarkable sports cars. Sadly, the company bit the dust in 1969, but it still became a part of automotive history with its legendary car, the 5300 GT.
A historical race winner at the famous European endurance race of Le Mans, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT was made between 1964 and 1968, to put Bizzarrini's past employers to shame on the racetrack. At the same time, old Giotto did need to keep the bills paid, for which he made road-going cars that were just as beautiful as the next Alfa or Ferrari. In that vein, here are 10 facts about this fantastic car, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT, that you must know.
The Bizzarrini 5300 GT was sold as a coupe, a roadster, and a Corsa racer. Unsurprisingly, it was the road-going 5300 GT that sold the best for the Italian car manufacturer.
After all, this was the car that was supposed to help keep the company afloat. With its low-slung style, curvaceous chassis, and coupe styling, it's not tough to see why the 5300 GT was as successful as it was.
With the 5300 GT, Bizzarrini wanted to show up his old boss, Il Commendatore himself. However, in constructing the car, Giotto went against Italian sports car tradition, and chose an American engine for his Italian sports car!
The Bizzarrini 5300 GT ran on a Chevrolet V8 engine. This combo proved to be as beneficial as it was unusual, as the engine was cheap to procure, plentiful in power, simple to tune, and quite a reliable power unit. The Chevy V8 helped Bizzarrini do exactly what he set out to do, as the 5300 GT, with some mild tuning, made considerably more power than the Ferrari 275 GTB.
Originally, the track-built Bizzarrini 5300 GT Corsa was a revised version of the Grifo A3/C, which Giotto Bizzarrini had co-built. While it had the same Chevrolet engine underneath, the 5300 GT improved several aspects of the already track-focused Grifo.
Equipped with twin-choke Weber carburetors, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT managed to squeeze out 40 more horsepower from the same Chevy engine as the Grifo. Furthermore, an all-plastic body kit made the 5300 over 100 lbs lighter. This was a car built to go fast, even at the cost of the driver's comfort, with its extremely low ride height, and even tighter steering ratio.
Bizzarrini only ever built 133 units of the 5300 GT, from 1964 to 1968. This is what makes the historic vehicle so special from a collector's perspective, as the 5300 GT's initial exclusivity makes it even more valuable today.
Of course, Giotto Bizzarrini would have continued making as many of these track-bred machines as he could have, but the company's coffers were empty by 1969, thus bringing about the end of the Bizzarrini brand, as well as the excellent and competitive 5300 GT car.
Old man Giotto did succeed with the Bizzarrini 5300 GT in showing his old boss that his car wasn't the only one capable of victory at Le Mans. The original intention of building the 5300 was to craft it for the racetrack, which is what the 5300 Corsa essentially was.
The 5300 GT proved its chops at the 1965 edition of Europe's most famous endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Bizzarrini 5300 GT became a part of Le Mans' history when it won its class and finished ninth overall.
Over the 4-year lifespan of the Bizzarrini 5300 GT, the brand built just three Spyder versions of the car. Even these three models weren't all full convertibles, as only one prototype was a proper convertible.
The other two were production versions of the 5300 GT and featured removable T-Tops. We'd bet that helped out when the interior got too heated because of the engine's placement.
Boy did the Bizzarrini 5300 GT go through a lot of conflict and changes before it finally got its name. Originally, it was Bizzarrini, Giugiaro at Bertone, and Renzo Rivolta, who co-created the Iso Rivolta 300 for the Iso car company. The car had a Corvette engine and was capable enough to run endurance races, in Bizzarrini's opinion.
When Rivolta eventually agreed, Giugiaro and Bizzarrini got to work on creating the Iso Grifo A3/C. This would be the car that became the precursor to the 5300 GT, even though they were pretty much the same car. With the work he put in, Bizzarrini considered the Iso Grifo A3/C models his own creations, and after Rivolta's demise, he sued Iso to get all the parts and rights he needed to make the car truly his, finally giving it his name, and the Bizzarrini badging.
While the 5300 GT was built to go head-to-head with the Prancing Horse, that didn't mean it couldn't learn from its prime rival. The Ferrari 250 GTO served as a lesson for the Bizzarrini 5300 GT, making the manufacturer fit the heavy Chevy V8 as far back as he could into the engine bay.
What this did was give the 5300 GT a near-perfect weight balance, especially because of the added effect of the side-mounted gas tanks. Of course, this engine location did intrude a little on the cabin room, but those complaints were swept away as the car took flight.
The limited run of the Bizzarrini 5300 GT makes it one of the most sought-after Italian classic cars in the world today, with collectors ready to part with an arm and a leg to get one of these. The cost of the 5300 GT has increased over the years, as has its value, with many models going for over half a million.
Hagerty values the average going rate for a mint condition Bizzarrini 5300 GT at a whopping $80,000, which is thrice what they cost just a decade ago. Needless to say, that figure will only continue to rise as the automotive world says goodbye to gas-powered icons and embraces electrification.
After Bizzarrini ran out of funds and closed its doors in 1969, Pegasus Brands acquired the rights to the names in 2020, two years ago. Now, partnering up with former Aston Martin executives, they have announced a revival series where they would build 24 models of the 5300 GT Corsa model.
To keep each model as faithful to the original '60s version, they will strip down a real 5300 GT from their collection and scan every single component and part against the original drawings, keeping things as authentic as possible. The revived cars also meet all FIA standards.
If it has wheels and an engine, Samarveer Singh is going to be obsessed with it. He is a budding Indian motorcycle racer, competing at the national level in his country in his very first year, chasing his dream around every corner of the racetrack. A touring enthusiast, Samarveer is forever stuck between the urge to constantly redline his bike, or save its clutch plates for longer.
10 Facts About The Bizzarrini 5300 GT, An Epic 1960s Sports Car You Probably Never Heard About – HotCars
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