My Car Quest

August 12, 2022

Editorial: Checking Out the Pro-offered Treasures – Bizzarrini GT 5300

by Wallace Wyss –

Some car brands are without a doubt on the ascendancy, going up hundreds of thousands annually compared to what they were a few years ago. No. 1 with a bullet is Bizzarrini, an exotic two seater coupe engineered by the same man who did the 250GTO for Ferrari.

I remember when they were around $13,000 and now they are breaking $500,000 and much more for a good one. So since I missed the boat on keeping one (I bought three as a barn finder for clients) I occasionally check on how many are for sale to see what they are going for.

Bizzarrini GT 5300

This is the publisher’s former Bizzarrini, a car that checked out historically. We don’t show a picture of the Bizzarrini Strada with fiberglass body mentioned because we haven’t seen proof yet of how and when it got a body change.

In July 2022 I googled Bizzarrinis for sale and found a few. One dealer in Europe responded with pictures of one that had a serial number that existed, in the high 200’s, but then wouldn’t cha know there were these inconsistencies–like it has a fiberglass body probably by Diomante, the man who worked for Ing. Bizzarrini in making the real ones.

Now the GT America had a fiberglass body, but the GT5300 body was aluminum. Plus the body of this car for sale had a vent above the 5-vertical blade fender side vent. Never saw that in a GT 5300 Strada before.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

And it had two of the rear lights being two-tone, white and red–never saw those on a Bizzarrini in their original era. Maurice Mentens, an Iso and Bizzarrini restorer in the San Fernando Valley, says “that’s excusable–the originals are so hard to get that it’s easier to use Opel units that fit”.

The seller provided a list of at least five owners, that list will still have to be checked against registers of various clubs if they will share them. (I found one old Iso Bizzarrini Register which skipped over that SN). I haven’t gone that far yet because the price of the car keeps soaring to unreal levels, up to $800,000 now and because it’s in Europe, Americans would have to add transportation and oh, customs duties.

But I was wrong to doubt a Bizzarrini Strada is worth that now. Mentens, says “A good Strada (without stories) is now an easy million dollars. SN291 just got sold for $700K but needed a lot of work. Earlier Drogo cars will set you back 2 million dollars or more–they are the undisputed champs. I just did a restoration on a real one and the finished car should go towards 3 million dollars if it ever hits the market.”

But I still say on the car offered in Europe, we need to know how it came by a fiberglass body. But that being said, with a car made by a tiny start-up, you have to know we are not dealing with a company that did things “by the book.” They might have used the same SN more than once to avoid taxes, or selected parts of a race car to affix to a street car being ordered by a “boy racer.” (I saw this at the DeTomaso factory myself–street Panteras being fitted with wider racing wheels, etc,). Hey you were dealing with high profile individuals back then who wanted the ultimate–who cares if the wheels bolted on weren’t on the option list? In fact the more race car equipment you can load onto street car, the more the customer would pay.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

I don’t search for cars to buy for myself and am seldom asked to search for cars for collectors, but I do take pride in spotting a ringer when I see a car for sale, cars that don’t quite add up when you consult all the references. I would say, since hearing about this fiberglass bodied Bizzarrini from that European dealer, I’ve put in eight hours of research. You need a lot more than that to buy a car this expensive.

I advise those entering the exotic car field with the hope of making an investment that will appreciate as well as being fun to drive should step cautiously and hire an expert who will ask these key questions when you’re getting ready to make an offer.

With brands who folded their doors decades ago, like Iso, Bizzarrini, Intermeccanica, DeTomaso, Marcos, etc. there is no central archive, no staffed office or repository of factory records, nothing like Porsche or Ferrari have, so you have to restrain from leaping too fast to buy it.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

The practice of vetting correctly I call “due diligence”. Don’t show me any more shiny knock offs, or mouse fur covered dashboards, show me records from different countries that agree on said car’s former owners–no big gaps in its ownership–I want to see accident records and restoration invoices.

True, of the three I found and bought as a barn finder, I didn’t do that much checking (and one did have two different serial numbers in two different places) but those were the ’70s, in the early days of the ascent of Bizzarrini–before registries started to be assembled. It was the Wild West. But now we have prices vastly larger and a few nefarious folks putting together cars of dubious ancestry. It’s a field sewn with land mines.

When you’re talking low production sports cars from long disappeared brands, let the buyer beware….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a former auto historian with 18 books to his credit. At present he is a fine artist specializing in portraits of exotic cars.

 
 
 
 
 

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Editorial: Checking Out the Pro-offered Treasures - Bizzarrini GT 5300
Article Name
Editorial: Checking Out the Pro-offered Treasures - Bizzarrini GT 5300
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I advise those entering the exotic car field with the hope of making an investment that will appreciate as well as being fun to drive should step cautiously and hire an expert especially for a Bizzarrini GT 5300.
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Comments

  1. Wally, the taillight lenses on that specific rebodied Bizzarrini are of Fiat 850 heritage. Much easier to obtain than the original Bizzarrini ones.

    • The original taillights for the 5300 Strada used the chrome body of the 275 GTB and a few special bodied Ferrari’s but had its own plastic light lens made by Altissimo that was unique to it and the Italian car builder OSI. The front turn signal lights for the 5300 Strada were just as rare mfg by Carello and used on the first year only for the Fiat 850 spider.

  2. Glenn Krasner says

    Intermecchanica is still in business, run by the son of the founder, now in Vancouver, Canada, after moving from Torino, Italy to the US to there. They make a replica of the 1959 Porsche 356.
    Glenn in Brooklyn, New York.

  3. wallace wyss says

    Of course we know Intermeccanica is still in business but they never made much effort to supply owners of their cars like the Italias with bodywork ,trim , etc.
    or sold repro rights so the frustrating thing if you own say, an Italia, you can’t’ go to them to buy parts

  4. Intermeccanica also makes electric cars.

  5. Warren Seifer says

    Intermeccanica has a hardcover table book portraying the history of the firm with great narrative and pictures along with a list of every car they made. Serial #, year, paint and interior colors, original purchaser, and mechanical details, where it was shipped etc. Many parts are offered by aftermarket specialists with ties to original factory sources in Italy.

    • Glenn Krasner says

      Thank you so much, Warren!!! That sounds like a wonderful resource for marque and model manufacturing history as well as for a terrific source of restoration parts!!!

      Glenn in Brooklyn, NY

  6. wallace wyss says

    That is the kind of basic book that every collector marque needs; i.e. a
    bible. The only trouble is in the case of some import, like the Pantera, over the decades so many have been customized and messed with it is difficult to assemble the facts.Since there are far less GT5 and GT5-S models (those marketed outside the US except for grey market ones) just those can be put in a register so buyers would be able to tell if the car they are looking at was one of those or an ordinary US model when built .Since there were over 7000 Panteras exported to the US that is too big a book but a smaller book could be done on the more valuable rest of the world models. Since the Mangustas are worth so much more, they deserve a Register now, but as I said before, deTomaso made up their history by day so there’s no factory records to consult. Glad to hear Intermeccanica Italias have a ref. source in case owners want to bring them back to original.

    The ’05-’06 Ford GTs are a good argument for buying a car where there’s been a deep dive done by authors, there’s at least two books now about them that tell every option, so that’s the reason why some of them (with the Heritage paint job) are inching up toward three times their original price–there’s documentation.

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