During the late 1950s and early 1960s Giotto Bizzarrini was associated with a number of Italian Super Car manufacturers. After leaving Pisa University with an automobile engineering degree he joined Alfa Romeo as a chassis engineer, then to Ferrari as a test driver where his engineering prowess was duly recognized and he became head of the experimental department. One of his projects was the development of the famous 250 GTO but he then left Maranello with Chief Engineer Carlo Chitti to set up the ill-fated ATS Company.
Following this he became a free-lance engineer and was commissioned to design the new Lamborghini V12 engine as well as the first all independent suspension chassis. His aim was to produce his own Super Car and the ancestor of the subsequent Bizzarrini GT was the Chevrolet V8 Corvette-engined Iso-Rivolta that he designed for Milan industrialist Renzo Rivolta.
A short wheelbase version was then developed with a striking two-seater coupe body by Bertone and shown at the 1963 Turin Motor Show as the Iso-Grifo. An all aluminum competition version was then entered for the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hour race, coming 14th, which was then produced in small numbers as the Bizzarrini GT Strada 5300.
Although the Strada and the Iso-Grifo are similar in appearance, both being coachbuilt by Bertone and using the same engine and monocoque style chassis frame, there are considerable detail differences. This Iso has more luxurious fittings in an all-steel bodywork, whereas the Bizzarrini is much lighter, mainly aluminum, and a competition based vehicle providing an exhilarating 165 mph performance.
This superb red coachwork example described here is one of the last cars built and has spent most of its life in a private collection in Switzerland, having only recently been imported into the UK where all taxes have been paid. The car has been completely restored both mechanically and cosmetically and is now in perfect condition and must be one of the best in the world.
Total production is thought to have been only about 100 vehicles, of which seemingly very few have survived. It represents a period of Italian muscle Super Cars that were the fashion, the Bizzarrini being by far the rarest, and with its competition pedigree on of the most exciting. The ultra low profile and very purposeful appearance couple to ultra reliable, high performance Corvette power does provide a tractable and exhilarating two-seater sports coupe. With only a very few known examples left, this car must represent an excellent investment and at the same time provide the ultimate enjoyment.