My Car Quest

June 12, 2024

Happy Birthday Giotto Bizzarrini!

by Wallace Wyss –

Giotto Bizzarrini was born June 6, 1926 in Quercianella, Livorno Province, Italy to a wealthy family. His grandfather had worked with Marconi on a little idea called the telegraph so inventing was a family tradition. He is well known as an Italian automobile engineer whose influence on Italian cars was from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Giotto Bizzarrini

During WWII he was captured and in a POW camp where he gravitated to fixing cars in the motor pool. After graduating in 1953, Bizzarrini first joined Alfa Romeo as a test driver. His reputation for identifying and solving problems earned him a job at Ferrari in 1957. He worked his way up to sports car development chief at Ferrari in the late 1950s, where in the early ’60s he first developed the 250GT short wheelbase, then a Comp version and then after Enzo panicked at the sight of the Jaguar E-type, was told to go full tilt boogie on an new body shape for the SWB 250GT which became the Ferrari 250 GTO.

But all was not happy at Ferrari and after Ing, Carlo Chiti was fired, a bunch of other engineers walked and Giotto went with a small group starting a rival business called ATS, which failed, producing only 11 mid-engined cars. He also consulted with Lamborghini, designing a V12 that was too powerful–Lambo had to throttle it back for longevity.

Ferrari 250 GTO Art by Wallace Wyss

He also was a college professor. He worked for Iso, in helping develop a four seater car, the Iso Rivolta GT, but agitated to go racing and got them to back a short wheelbase two seater version the A3/C race car. Then a street version, the A3/L. But the leaders of Iso didn’t like making cars of alloy, so after engineering another tamer Grifo sports car with a steel body, he left and due to a mistake in registration of the name Grifo ended up trading the rights to the name back to Iso for the right to produce the A3/C and A3/L under his own name.

Bizzarrini art by Wallace Wyss

After producing almost 200 cars including the Europa, a baby Bizzarrini, he hung it up and became a consultant again. Half a dozen times a new Bizzarrini has been announced but he was not involved with any production plans.

I think one of his greatest achievements was demonstrating the iron block pushrod American made Chevy V8 was a competitive engine with Ferrari. Another was working with American Motors to design the AMC AMX/3, a car killed off when it was obvious Ford had beat them to the mid-engined car with the Pantera.

He also helped Giugiaro become well known. When Giugiaro left Bertone and started his own shop, Bizzarrini helped him to create the Bizzarrini Manta, which got so much publicity, Giugiaro was able to go to new heights as a free lance designer.

I don’t think there’s many college professors of engineering that have such an impressive record of achievement…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR & ARTIST: Wallace Wyss is the artist who painted these works. For information on ordering write


Engine art by Wallace Wyss

Happy Birthday Giotto Bizzarrini!
Article Name
Happy Birthday Giotto Bizzarrini!
Giotto Bizzarrini had a productive automobile life, which includes involvement with many milestone cars.

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