My Car Quest

December 13, 2018

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada Chasis No. IA3*0286

by Mike –

A friend and I took a drive back in 2011 to look at cars, specifically to see this Bizzarrini for sale in Oakland, California just a short drive away.

This 1968 Bizzarrini GT 5300 was sold by the dealer to a new owner in Canada and it was shipped out the day before! This means that we did not get to see this car.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

At the dealer in Oakland in 2011

Now we are going to read about what happened to this unique Bizzarrini GT 5300 from someone who spent a lot of time working on it and later driving it.

Text by Dale Walmsley

Bizzarrini #0286 arrived in North America thanks to Max Balchowsky. Max was likely best known for his Old Yeller race cars but he owned a car dealership in the Los Angeles area called Hollywood Sport Cars and was responsible for importing many exotic cars in the 1960s.

Max saw the Bizzarrini on the show stand in Turin Italy and had to have it. Max became the importer of Iso and Bizzarrini cars for North America.

Max owned #0286 for a short period of time and then sold it to his good friend Carey Loftin. Carey was a Hollywood stunt driver and later a stunt coordinator and is likely best known as the stunt coordinator for the movie “Bullitt”.

Carey is reported to have owned at least three Bizzarrinis. Steve McQueen starred in the movie and also owned a Bizzarrini. Both cars appear in the movie; #0286 appearing briefly in the opening credits.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

At the dealer in Oakland in 2011

When new, the car was red. It’s unknown when or why but at some point prior to the 1968 filming of “Bullitt”, the car was painted metallic green. It appears this way on the cover of the July 1971 “American Car Prices Magazine” and was owned by Loftin at that time. Loftin owned the car for a period of time and then Max brokered a deal to sell the car to another of his good friends, Ernie Nagamatsu.

Ernie owned the car until 1986 when Max again brokered a deal to sell the car to a gentleman in San Francisco who owned the car until 2011 when the current owner purchased it. It is not known when, but the car was painted a root beer/burgundy color; the color it wears today. While it’s been painted twice, the car remains one of the few unrestored Bizzarrinis.

When the car arrived in Calgary, Canada in the spring of 2011 it was in need of a mechanical refreshening. It had only 18,000 miles on it but had not been driven in over 25 years. Braking, cooling and fuel systems were all in need of some degree of repair. Over the winter of 2011 and spring of 2012 I was fortunate to be involved in this process.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Arriving in Canada

A great deal of research went into this project. While you can pick up a tune-up kit at a local parts store, you won’t find anyone with parts for the Campagnolo calipers. So many of these cars have had replacement parts adapted simply because correct replacement parts are no longer available.

We were so fortunate that #0286 had not been violated in this way and was pretty much as it left the factory. It was only by a stroke of good luck we found what brake and clutch master cylinders were correct. One of the factory drawings we have mentioned a Fiat part number and we got a single hit on Google. Fortunately for us, the part is still available as a Fiat part. Parts like axle seals were simply matched at the parts counter.

In addition to the systems mentioned above, the transmission and rear differential were drained, cleaned, inspected for wear and reassembled. A new clutch and pressure plate were installed and all the electrical systems in the car were made operational again. As brake pads are not available for the Campagnolo calipers, new pad material was bonded to the old backing plates.

All three fuel tanks were pulled out, inspected and repaired as necessary. New seals were found for the original Campagnolo calipers and new brake lines were installed where necessary. Bearings were cleaned and repacked. A new waterpump was installed along with some hard pipes that had completely corroded away.

Once all systems had been tested, #0286 was pronounced ready for action.

More on this Bizzarrini GT 5300 later.

Max Balchowsky also helped out Giotto Bizzarrini in some of his racing adventures.

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Bizzarrini logo

Summary
Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada Chasis No. IA3*0286
Article Name
Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada Chasis No. IA3*0286
Description
A Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada once owned by the Hollywood stunt man Carey Loftin is resurrected.
Author

Comments

  1. Jeff Dreibus says:

    Mike,

    Great story.

    I should locate and post the photos I took about a month ago of the dark blue Bizzarrini in a collection near Asheville, NC . . . unless you already know the car, which you probably do.

    Jeff

  2. Jeff Dreibus says:

    Mike,

    I’m not sure how long Ken has owned it. Here is the website for We Love Cool Cars (aka G&S Motors, aka GAS Motors) in Fletcher, NC: http://www.welovecoolcars.com/

    No photos of the Bizzarrini on that site, however . . . and unfortunately I can’t seem to figure out how to post or drag/drop photos here.

    Please provide instructions, or email me and I will send pix to your address.

    Jeff

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