Bizzarrini Showstopper at Gooding's Amelia Island Auction

Bizzarrini Showstopper at Gooding's Amelia Island Auction

1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada | Estimate: $700,000 - $900,000
Purchased New by Famed Hollywood Stuntman Carey Loftin
Just Two Documented Owners from New and Single Ownership Since 1988
Restored in 2000 and Used Sparingly Since; Showing Approximately 18,000 Miles
Coachwork by Bertone
Chassis 1A3*0291

One of Just 133 5300 GT Models Built, and 86 Stradas with Aluminum Coachwork
Purchased New by Famed Hollywood Stuntman Carey Loftin
Just Two Documented Owners from New and Single Ownership Since 1988
Restored in 2000 and Used Sparingly Since; Showing Approximately 18,000 Miles
Recently Serviced by Italian Car Expert Greg Jones

Technical Specs
327 CID Chevrolet V-8 Engine
Single 4-Barrel Carburetor
365 BHP at 5,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Dunlop Disc Brakes4-Wheel Independent Suspension with Coil Springs

After receiving his engineering degree from the University of Pisa in 1953, Giotto Bizzarrini joined Alfa Romeo as a test driver before moving into the engineering department. Lured to Ferrari by 1957, Bizzarrini served in multiple roles and was later promoted to the post of chief engineer where he is credited with the development of three of Ferrari’s greatest cars of the period: the 250 Testa Rossa, 250 GT SWB, and 250 GTO.

In 1961, Bizzarrini left Ferrari with a key group of employees during the “Palace Revolt” when a crisis developed over increasing involvement by Enzo Ferrari’s wife in company affairs. The defectors formed upstart ATS intending to compete against Ferrari, but Bizzarrini abandoned the effort, electing instead to establish his own engineering consultancy firm, Società Autostar.

In 1962, Bizzarrini and Renzo Rivolta began developing a new line of luxury sports cars to compete with Ferrari and Maserati. Engineered by Bizzarrini and styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Bertone, the Iso Rivolta and Iso Grifo used American-built drivetrains for proven reliability and to avoid the considerable expense of developing a new engine from scratch.

Bizzarrini saw motor sport potential with the Grifo, so he worked towards developing what he called an “improved GTO” – the Iso Grifo A3/C. The A3/C was powered by a Chevrolet Corvette 327 V-8 mated to a four-speed Borg-Warner manual gearbox that was moved back 16" farther than in the Grifo to give the car better weight distribution. Bearing some similarities to the standard Grifo, the low-slung and sultry aluminum body was restyled and reshaped by Giugiaro using a wind tunnel. 0–60 mph was estimated to take less than seven seconds, with a claimed top speed of 174 mph. At the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours, an A3/C secured a prototype class victory and 9th Overall, showcasing the car’s potential against very stiff competition.

Bizzarrini and Rivolta parted ways in 1965; however, an agreement was struck in which Bizzarrini could continue to build the A3/C under his own name. Dubbed the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada (street) and Corsa (race), the 5300 GT – with minor alterations and improvements over the A3/C – would remain in production until 1968 with 133 units believed to have been completed at Bizzarrini’s factory in Livorno, Italy.

The original owner of this 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada, chassis 0291, was Carey Loftin of Studio City, California. Widely considered one of Hollywood’s most accomplished stunt drivers, Loftin’s body of work included seminal classics such as Bullitt, Vanishing Point, The Love Bug, Duel, Maximum Overdrive, Smokey and the Bandit, and The French Connection among many others.

A devoted Bizzarrini enthusiast, Loftin is thought to have owned at least five other Bizzarrini 5300 models over the years, often placing them in scenes of movies on which he worked. The consignor purchased this 5300 GT Strada directly from Mr. Loftin on May 17, 1988, as documented by a copy of a signed registration card on file.

Beginning in 2000, this Bizzarrini was the subject of a documented and comprehensive two-year restoration by Auto Elite in Tenafly, New Jersey. The aluminum coachwork, originally delivered in pale yellow, was stripped to bare metal by Sportscar Painting in Long Island City, New York, and meticulously refinished in red over a reupholstered black leather interior completed by Hudson Valley Interiors in Nyack, New York. All chrome and brightwork were refinished as needed by Martin’s of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and new rubber trim and gaskets were installed throughout. The car’s drivetrain was rebuilt, while braking and suspension components received similar treatment, the former being done by Stainless Steel Brakes Co. in Clarence, New York.

Kept in running condition, though sparingly used since restoration, the Bizzarrini shows approximately 18,000 miles on its odometer, which the consignor believes to be original. In preparation for auction, the car received basic maintenance performed by Italian car expert Greg Jones of Stuart, Florida.

Offered with the sale of this rare machine are historical documents, receipts, spare tire with cover, as well as a copy of a registration card signed by Carey Loftin.

One of the era’s most attractive designs, with racing pedigree and performance to match, the sale of this truly uncommon Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada represents a commensurately uncommon opportunity.

March 4 - Amelia Island Auction
Geared Online Spring Automobilia

Inage & Copy courtesy of Gooding & Company

Related Market and Auction Articles

4,915 articles