One of the Three Final Cars Built by Famed Italian Engineer Giotto Bizzarrini Known as the “Father of the 250 GTO”, Bizzarrini hand built a run of just three new cars based on the P538 and dubbed “P538 Le Mans Anniversario.” One of those three will be offered in Monterey.
News-Antique.com - Jun 12,2013 - As the engineer responsible for the design and development of some of the most successful and innovative racing and GT cars ever conceived, Giotto Bizzarrini remains one of the most revered names in motorsport history. Hailing from Livorno, Italy and eventually leaving Alfa Romeo for Ferrari where he began as a test driver and quickly rose to Chief Engineer, Bizzarrini collaborated with Carlo Chiti on the 250 Testa Rossa’s V-12 engine and the 250 SWB, with his career at Ferrari culminating in Bizzarrini’s radical re-engineering of the 250 SWB into the 250 GTO, which of course occupies the pinnacle of today’s classic-car world.
Known as the “Father of the 250 GTO”, Bizzarrini was a refugee from Ferrari in the wake of the infamous November 1961 “Purge” or “Palace Revolt” at Modena. He worked with the brilliant but short-lived ATS concern, designed the Piero Drogo-bodied 250 SWB “Breadvan” for Count Volpi of Scuderia Serenissima, and he gave the world the original DOHC Lamborghini V-12 engine, as well as the Iso Rivolta and Grifo, and the Bizzarrini A3C and 5300 GT, culminating in his four P538 competition cars of the mid-1960s, with one contesting the storied 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 before open cars were declared ineligible for 1967.
Fast-forward to 2005. To commemorate both his upcoming 80th birthday and the 40th Anniversary of the P538 in 2006, Giotto Bizzarrini was encouraged by Dutch Bizzarrini experts and historians, Jack Koobs de Hartog and Peter Opper, to build a run of just three new cars based on the P538 and dubbed “P538 Le Mans Anniversario.” While no trace of the original P538 technical drawings remained, Sig. Bizzarrini produced new ones from memory and with the assistance of a few period photographs, with the Anniversario cars hand-built by Giotto Bizzarrini at his Scuderia Bizzarrini premises in Rosignano, Italy. Wife Rosanna helped lay out the fiberglass bodies, using the original molds supplied by the Vincenzo Catarsi works during the 1960, and the entire chassis for each car was constructed by Mr. Bizzarrini himself, who displayed joy and virtually indefatigable energy in the completion of the historic project.
Following completion of the three P538 Le Mans Anniversario cars in 2009, Sig. Bizzarrini closed Scuderia Bizzarrini and retired for good. Thankfully, the Anniversario venture was fully and lovingly documented in the book “Bizzarrini P538 Anniversario: A Tribute to a Genial Engineer and Feared Entrepreneur,” by Jack Koobs de Hartog. As one of the final three cars ever to be constructed and otherworldly in its styling and performance, the example Russo and Steele will offer in the Monterey, California auction is a spectacular and most fitting tribute to its inspired creator, Giotto Bizzarrini, who is rightly known as “L’Ingegnere.”
The 13th Annual Sports and Muscle Monterey Auction event, held August 15-17, 2013, is located at its new auction venue that remains conveniently located in the heart of downtown and is now on the waterfront. This three-evening auction event offers over 250 of the highest quality, most