My Car Quest

June 17, 2024

Farewell to Giotto Bizzarrini, Creator of Legends

The car world would have been very dull without him.*

by Mike Gulett –

Giotto Bizzarrini (6 June 1926 – 13 May 2023) died on May 13, 2023 at the age of 96 in Rosignano in the province of Livorno, Italy where he was in a nursing home. The funeral will be held on Monday May 15 in Quercianella.

As regular readers know I am an admirer of both Giotto Bizzarrini and his automotive creations. I was privileged to have met him once in Italy in 2013 and to have owned a Bizzarrini GT 5300 for many years.

*The well known chronicler of all things Bizzarrini, Jack Koobs de Hartog, wrote to me about Giotto Bizzarrini;

“The name of this friendly, introvert, emotional, gruff, inflexible, Tuscan perfectionist is often mentioned as the spiritual father of the most famous cars in the world. The car world would have been very dull without him.”

Giotto Bizzarrini by Jack Koobs de Hartog

Giotto Bizzarrini by Jack Koobs de Hartog

His accomplishments are legion and have been documented here on My Car Quest and elsewhere.

Bizzarrini’s contributions at Ferrari would be considered an entire lifetime of work for most but not Bizzarrini who was still young when he left Ferrari in 1961 after leading the development of the 250 GTO, Testa Rossa and other models.

He had a whole creative career ahead of him including: the Lamborghini V12 engine, Iso Rivolta GT, Iso Grifo A3/C, Bizzarrini P538, Bizzarrini GT 5300, Ferrari Breadvan and many others.

We can honor a brilliant man like Giotto Bizzarrini by owning, driving, racing and showing his creations. We also honor him by writing about his cars and his ideas. What better way to honor a brilliant engineer than to analyze one of his designs? In the case below the air flow over, under and through the Bizzarrini GT 5300.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Air Flow

Behind each rear wheel are open vents with a grille that removes the high pressure air lifting the rear of the car.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Air Flow

Read the whole story by Ken Phillips here…

He had a class in his name at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016. Not many people get that honor.

1965 Iso Grifo A3/C

This is the most successful Iso/Bizzarrini race car – it won its class at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Iso Grifo A3/C

Iso Grifo A3/C and owner Bruce Meyer

R-03

See all of the Bizzarrini cars at Pebble Beach in 2016 here…

Giotto Bizzarrini and Mike Gulett

Giotto Bizzarrini and Mike Gulett with Jack Koobs de Hartog in the plaid shirt in the back.

RIP Giotto Bizzarrini.

Bizzarrini logo

Bizzarrini logo

Summary
Farewell to Giotto Bizzarrini, Creator of Legends
Article Name
Farewell to Giotto Bizzarrini, Creator of Legends
Description
Giotto Bizzarrini died on May 13 at the age of 96.
Author

Comments

  1. RIP Giotto indeed. Well done Mike – good, concise tribute and I’m surprised by the relatively low level of coverage of this great man’s passing. Regards, David

  2. Robert Feldman says

    Bizzarrini’s achievements are nothing short of remarkable! This is another page in automotive history that will never be repeated. It was an amazing time. Thank you Giotto, RIP.

  3. We are fortunate-enough to presently have one of his 1968 5300GT Strada’s on exhibit at the Savoy Automobile Museum, which gave me an opportunity to look further into his background and accomplishments over a life well-lived. An automotive maestro, of the 1st degree….

  4. His cars are exceedingly rare so most admirers will only see the esthetic beauty of them, but Mike is right – their beauty is indeed not just skin deep. I was fortunate enough to have been around them for decades and drive them literally on a daily basis. (Poignantly the moment I heard of his passing last Saturday I was driving a Bizzarrini…) I still find myself in awe over the genius in certain items I incur while working on an Iso/Bizzarrini, knowing it stemmed from his brain in order to always achieve the best. And realizing again I am just standing on the shoulders of this giant. I wish admirers would have the chance to get more insight into his technical innovations as that would only heighten their respect for this man. Now he has passed I realize it is even more up to us to continue his legacy and show the world of the impact this man had on the automotive world, And it I will be an honor for me to do my part in that. Godspeed Giotto!

  5. Jack Koobs de Hartog says

    And don’t forget … over the years Giotto was involved in the design of many, many, different cars …

  6. John Shea says

    My condolences to Giotto’s family and friends ! Especially to Mike and Wallace who are so passionate towards him and his creations.

  7. wallace wyss says

    When I look back at Detroit’s response to the Iso Grifo A3/C and Bizzarrini I am disappointed they didn’t make the Corvette “front mid-engined” or a full targa (rather than with center bar). They figured nobody in the US saw the A3/C or Bizzarrini so they didn’t have to worry about updating their car. I worked at Motor Trend when I myself sent the Iso distributor packing because they wouldn’t buy ads so I was part of the unofficial conspiracy to deny new automakers coverage and now, looking back, I feel GM got away with keeping the Corvette uncompetitive engineering wise.

    Another reason I like the Bizzarrini is because one man was in charge–engineering, development–it wasn’t a bunch the usual bundle of compromises you get when there is too many cooks in the kitchen.

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