1965 Bizzarrini GT AmericaSOLD
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Estimate: 280,000£ - 350,000£
Estimate: €412,000 - €515,000
Estimate: $567,000 - $709,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £251.438

From the Italian Collector Sig. Giuseppe Prevosti

420 hp, 5359 cc, Chevrolet Corvette overhead valve V-8 engine with four side draught twin choke 45DCOE Weber carburettors, four-speed gearbox, and four wheel independent suspension via unequal length A-arms, coil springs, tube shocks, anti roll bars, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96.5”(2,450mm).

Giotto Bizzarrini graduated from the University of Pisa in July 1953, with a degree in mechanical engineering. An unassuming man, his name was to become inextricably linked to some of the most stunning supercars the world would ever see.

Shortly after graduation - in 1954 - Bizzarrini was hired by Alfa Romeo, and he moved swiftly through the ranks until he was working in the experimental department - and at the same time becoming a test driver.

Bizzarrini then moved to Ferrari as a test driver but his engineering skills were quickly recognised and he was made head of the experimental department. Whilst at Ferrari, Dr. Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini was acknowledged as being largely responsible for the development of the 250 Testa Rossa and the fabulous 250 GTO - arguably Ferrari’s greatest cars up to that point.

In November 1961 an episode that became known as “The Purge” or the “Palace Revolt” occurred at Ferrari which resulted in a mass exodus of key engineering and development staff, including Bizzarrini. The engineer decided to go it alone and quickly won a commission from Lamborghini, for whom he designed their formidable V12 engine, and one from Count Volpi, for whom he designed the “Breadvan” GTO derivative.

Bizzarrini then joined forces with wealthy Milan industrialist Renzo Rivolta, who wanted to build a genuine GT car. The prototype Iso Rivolta GT – a 2+2 design - was completed in 1962, and production began the following year. A two-seat GT variant soon followed. With coachwork by Giugaro at Bertone, the new Iso Grifo was a stunning design. Before long, the cars were racing on road courses and hillclimbs, earning an enviable competition record.

In 1965 Bizzarrini split with Rivolta, changing the car’s name to Bizzarrini Grifo 5300. Before long, he ceded the Grifo name and the car became known as the Bizzarrini GT Strada 5300. Late 1965 saw the launch of the GT America. With identical looks to the Strada other than the badging, the new model had independent rear suspension and a fibreglass body.

Less than ten examples were built, and all were intended for racing. At least one competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and others were seen at a variety of racing events in the period. Unfortunately chassis records do not exist for most races, and as a result it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine with certainty which chassis were used at which events.

The Bizzarrini BA4 GT America presented here, chassis number BA4 0102, is thought to be the first Bizzarrini BA4 built and therefore possibly the car sent to the USA for race homologation.

The earliest recorded owner of BA4 0102 is Melvin Leroy Packard of Pasadena, California who registered the car in his name in 1977 (copies of the California titles accompany the sale). He apparently kept the car until July 6th, 1984 when he sold it to Everett H. Hinojos of Upland, California – for the sum of $1,700. Again, copies of the title and bill of sale paperwork are included in the documentation file.

Hinojos kept the car until early 1991 when he sold s/n BA4 0102 as well as a large stock of parts and at least two other cars to Oliver Kuttner’s Griffon Motorcar Company of Charlotteville, Virginia – where it was titled in his name on March 25th, 1991. A long term fan of Bizzarrini cars, in a recent conversation with the author, Mr. Kuttner clearly recalled his purchase of BA4 0102 as it was one of the first of more than 25 examples of the marque he would own.

From the documentation existing on the car it would indicate that Hinoojos sold the car to Oliver Kuttner without an engine, evidence of this can be seen in a set of photos taken of the car by UK Iso and Bizzarrini registrar and enthusiast Chris Lackner at Laguna Seca in 1990. Oliver Kuttner decided to sell the car to fund his other projects, and in May of 1991 he sold BA4 0102 with a slightly later Chrysler engine to Sig. Prevosti and arranged shipment to Italy, where it has remained ever since. Further proof of this cars chain of history can be seen in the photos of the car in its shipping container upon arrival in Italy where many of the features of the Laguna Seca car, roundel on the side and bonnet straps can clearly be identified.

Upon getting the car back to Italy, Sig. Prevosti, an active Gentleman driver at that time, decided to take his new acquisition racing and delivered it to his favoured mechanic Roberto Cairati where the car was mechanically restored and prepared for the track. Whilst the car was with Cairati Sig. Prevosti decided to show the new and extremely rare addition to his collection to Engineer Giotto Bizzarrini who was delighted to provide the car with his approval. Photos of Engineer Bizzarrini inspecting the car at Cairati’s workshop are included in the file. Sig. Prevosti then took the car to Luigi Bottini where he had the bodywork restored and painted along with the fitting of all necessary accessories to comply with Italian historic race regulations.

Following a couple track outings Sig Prevosti was dissatisfied with the car’s competitiveness as the car was suffering from overheating of the brakes and unpredictable handling car and therefore was recommended to employ marque expert and leading restorer, Salvatore Diomante, to restore the car again and prepare it for competitive racing. It was whilst the car was being restored by Diomante that some modifications were made to the car such as changes to the instrument binnacle and the dashboard. The fibre glass body is thought to be original although, as can be seen from the photos, some repairs and modifications were made to the car during its race preparation. In addition, an extra front engine brace was added to the car at the suspension mounting points to further increase rigidity. Sig. Prevosti ran the car in a couple of Italian historic meetings prior to deciding to further enhance performance by purchasing a set of full race internals for the engine from the USA.

BA4 0102 is finished in red with a proper functional racing interior including period racing seats with racing harness,
roll cage, fire extinguisher and safety fuel cell. The car was restored in 1993 and the chassis and engine bay are described as being in excellent condition all round.

Without factory records and race history it is necessary to rely on other historical documentation, photographic records, and chain of ownership – along with the opinions of various marque specialists as to the provenance of each Bizzarrini BA4 America.

Given the significant history file and the photos of the car dating back to 1990, together with title documents dating back to 1976, there is little doubt that the example offered here is an extremely important motor car in Bizzarrini history.

A total of 115 Bizzarinis were built, but this includes the street cars, the Grifo 5300 and the GT Strada. Competition specification cars are much rarer, and with the right driver, Bizzarrini GT America BA4 0102 would be a competitive racing car at the most prestigious historic events around the world.

Reference Number 13142

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1965 Bizzarrini GT America
VIN BA40102 
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