The very exclusive Club of Bizzarrini 5300 GT
It has the refinement of a benini sculpture and lines that possibly would have been curved by Michel Angelo. The Bizzarrini 5300 GT has an archetypal Italian styling written all over it. But for its actual maker, this sports automobile wasn’t just about its appealing looks. It bears the hallmark of Giotto Bizzarrini – arguably the most talented racing car constructor of the ‘60s. The mission of the 5300 GT was simply to leave the opposition in the dust on the racetrack and fill its creator with pride.
Bizzarrini, the very name still makes Ferrari or Maserati owners edgy. Its maker had high hopes of it becoming the new star on the sports car Horizon following Triumph on the track. But this supernova on four wheels fizzled out all too rapidly. Today most people wouldn’t even recognize a 5300 GT. Eric Oswald is the happy owner of one of these rare racers. The 5300 GT was built between 1964 and 68 in a limited edition. According to some sources production amounted to just 70 and assembled specimens.
Giotto Bizzarrini was born in Livorno, Italy in 1926. He is to many, one of the most influential constructors in the history of motorsports. He spent five years at Ferrari as developer, designer, test driver and chief engineer. Among his accomplishments there? – The iconic GTO. Eventually there was a clash of egos between him and boss Enzo Ferrari leading to his departure.
The GTO went on to clock up a string of Victories and remains one of the most viable and hotly desired racing cars of all time. For some people, the greatest Ferrari ever. Models have been auctioned for up to $30,000,000. Only 39 were built.
After being recruited by Renzo rivolta, he created the “Iso Grifo”- a high-performance Gran turismo with American engineering on board. But Bizzarrini wanted more. He built a two-seater competition Car based on the Grifo. His boss Rivolta wanted to sell cars rather than burn money on the racetrack however. The two, likewise parted ways. Bizzarrini took his latest creation with him and named it the “Bizzarrini 5300 GT”. The V8 engine was like that in the Grifo taken from the Chevrolet Corvette.
Bizzarrini was the first to come up with a front mid-engine; explains proud owner Eric. Engines on top of the axle have a far higher center of gravity. An engine below and behind the axle is far lower which gives you a massive advantage in terms of handling. It still copy today.
From the very start of his career when he was making bigger cars Bizzarrini had a preference for high-capacity American engines over their smaller high-powered Italian rivals. He also once tried to convince Ferrari to construct a large displacement engine with lower rev levels. The 5.4 liter V8 complemented by a battery of twin Weber carburetors pumps out 360 horsepower, and that’s in the basic version. The engine is unusually far back. The only access to the distributor cap was via an opening on the dashboard.
The driving feeling
Take to the wheel of a Bizzarrini and you’re left in no doubt that it was constructed for the track. The full-blooded V8 propelling a two-seater weighing just 1100 kilos delivers the kind of ferociousness otherwise associated with modern super sports cars. The GT is not for a jaunt in the countryside.
The 5300 GT was launched into action on the track against Ferrari to give Bizzarrini sweet revenge for his dismissal by his former employer. And he did win a few times at the 1000 kilometer race in monza in 1965 for example. 5300 GT left all the GTOs in its tracks. But the car maker was unable to follow up on that success. Not at least because of a lack of funds.
The exclusive membership club
Eric’s price beauty is the first of just 10 corsa editions featuring a lightweight body. Today the 5300 GT is a member of a very exclusive Club. Anyone who owns one will be desperate to hold on to it. Potential buyers are looking at a six-figure price tag, whatever condition it’s in. Most recently of 5300 GT changed hands for over half a million Euros. For the vast majority of auto aficionados a Bizzarrini will always be just a dream.