At the end of 1961 there was a revolt of the palace guard at Maranello, and among many who left was Dr. Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini, acknowledged as the father of the 250 Testa Rossa and the 250 GTO. After leaving Ferrari, he designed the 350 GT V12 for Lamborghini, and then went to work for Dottore Renzo Rivolta. From his prolific drafting board emerged a front-engined, space-framed, alloy-bodied coupe called, at first, the Grifo A3C and later the 5300 Berlinetta.
The Bertone design, executed by Pierro Drogo, looked sensational. Underneath, the car was equally impressive. The semi-monocoque body was riveted to the frame for added stiffness. To achieve a low polar moment, the engine was moved back in the frame, giving it 50/50 weight distribution. (To change the ignition points: one had to remove a small oval plate on top of the dash and, while balancing one’s knees on the seats and hitting the windshield with one’s head, squeeze one’s hands through the small opening to reach the distributor.)
Under the hood nestled the tried and true 327 Corvette engine with solid lifters, coupled to an excellent Muncie four-speed. With four dual-throat 45 DCOE Webers on a clever cross-flow cast manifold, headers, 10.5:1 pistons and some porting, polishing and balancing, this engine produced a very tractable 400+ horsepower at 6,000 rpm.