My Car Quest

May 20, 2024

The Bizzarrini Class At The Quail And Judging At A Concours d’Elegance

by Mike –

Most of my attention around The Quail has been focused on the Iso Rivolta 50th Anniversary which was a very significant breakout event for the Iso marque.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

The Bizzarrini Field

It is surprising to me how many car enthusiasts still do not know much about Iso cars. I just read today in a popular online forum where a commenter said an Iso Grifo was just a Corvette with a different body. What?

I cannot believe that anyone who has the ability to access the Internet would think that but at least one person still does. Maybe I will not go back to this forum until their knowledge level increases so that I can learn something. That is why I visit these forums.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

Bizzarrini GT America

This lack of knowledge is amazing and this is one of the reasons why I write about Iso and Bizzarrini so often. There are others reasons too, like I love them.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

Two Show Winners, The Quail (2012) on the Left and Pebble Beach (1998) on the Right

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

I have taken my Bizzarrini GT 5300 to most of the car shows in Northern California and a few in Southern California over the past few years and I am usually in a post-war sports car class with Mercedes 300SL Gullwing or Roadster, Jaguar XKE and maybe a Lamborghini Miura or other similar relatively high production volume model.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering and Mike Gulett

These have all been Concours d’Elegance judged events. One of the problems with owning a very rare car like a Bizzarrini GT 5300 is that most, if not all of the judges, have not seen one before and even if they have seen one they do not know what a correct Bizzarrini GT 5300 should look like. They may not even know the historical importance of the Bizzarrini GT 5300.

But examples of the other models in the same class are at virtually every event that they have attended for years. So, the XKE or the 300SL or the Miura will win the award with the occasional Aston Martin thrown in the mix.

If you are going to be a judge at a Concours d’Elegance you have a responsibility to learn about the cars you are to judge. The car owners have spent considerable money to bring their cars to the event, not to mention the cost of the car, and they deserve professional and competent behavior from the judges and everyone involved with running the event.

the interior of a Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail

Unique, Original Interior

This is one of the reasons why beginning in August 2011 at The Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance I now enter the Bizzarrini as display only. But the weirdness of cars shows continues to surprise me because my Bizzarrini won the Owner’s Choice Award at the 2011 Hillsborough show – the first time it was shown as display only.

For me this is like winning the Oscars and is much better than winning a judged award.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

I have many second place judged awards coming behind the other models I mention above. I do not want any more second place awards. I also had an award taken away at one well know Concours d’Elegance due to “clerical errors” which were later determined to be improper judge behavior. I have an apology letter from the head judge documenting this improper behavior.

The Bizzarrini was “judged” early in the morning at another event when the cover was still on the car (it was on the field overnight) so the “judge” just picked the cars he liked and it did not matter that he could not see all of the cars.

No Judges at The Quail

This takes me back to The Quail where there are no judges. Each car owner receives a voting card to vote on their favorite car in their class and separately they vote on their favorite car for Best in Show. The owner cannot vote for his own car. This sets up the strange chance that the Best in Show car may not be a Class Winner.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering

I like The Quail format better than a Concours d’Elegance format because who knows the cars better than the owners?

My Bizzarrini GT 5300 was the Bizzarrini Class Winner at The Quail this year – voted by the owners of the other Bizzarrini cars there. The Quail does not award second or third for each class – just the Class Winner.

Again this is like winning the Oscars. Hurray for Hollywood!


See more Bizzarrini GT 5300s in the slide show below.



Bizzarrini Badge


  1. Mike’s 5300 Strada is a fantastic example of the combined genius of Bizzarrini and Giugiaro

    For future judges here is the abridged version, Mike’s 5300 Strada is one of the most original Bizzarrini’s in the world and is first in class. I have judged numerous Bizzarrini’s and IMO this car ranks at the top. Owners can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on restorations, but it’s impossible to duplicate original. Much of Mikes car is original and in fantastic condition thanks to it’s original owner and Mike’s care.

  2. Wow, what a compliment – thank you. The original owner of 36 years (this may be a Bizzarrini record) took great care of this car even though he also drove it fast (remember the custom front air dam he made for this car because the front end became a little light at 150MPH).

    The second owner commissioned an excellent restoration of the exterior. I have been a careful care taker.

  3. Dear Mike,
    you’re talking right out of my heart!
    I’ve been to numerous car shows around the world and never been able to understand the judging (most of the judges!)
    Working on cars & parts for classic italian cars the number of incorrect “restorations” mostly surprises me!
    A “Pebble Beach” class winner with a key chain emblem used as front emblem!!! Wow, I couldn’t believe that!
    Congratulation to the originality of your 5300 Strada!
    Thomas Niedergerke
    Detmold, Germany

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