Jay Leno Drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GT, Calls It Automotive Royalty

Remember our coverstory on the epic Bizzarrini 5300 GT? Well, here's your chance to get an even closer look at the car and hear its V8 engine roar. A perfectly restored example just paid Jay Leno's Garage a visit and the former TV host took it out for a high-revving spin.
Jay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GT 6 photos
Photo: Jay Leno's Garage/YouTube
Jay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GTJay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GTJay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GTJay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GTJay Leno drives the Bizzarrini 5300 GT
A not-so-famous yet amazing Italian-American hybrid from the 1960s, the 5300 GT combines European styling and handling with the reliability and power of a Chevrolet V8. Designed in Italy by famed engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, this curvaceous sports car hides a 5.4-liter, Corvette-source V8 engine under the hood.

Equipped with Weber carburetors in Italy, the small-block V8 sends a solid 365 horsepower and 284 pound-feet (385 Nm) of torque to the rear wheels through a four-speed Borg-Warner manual. The engine's placement is perhaps the most innovative feature about this car, the first to sport a front mid-engined setup for better weight distribution.

One of only 133 units built from 1964 to 1968, this 5300 GT was thoroughly restored from 2016 to 2019 and it's one of the finest-looking examples out there. And Leno seems fascinated by its design and how surprisingly comfortable it is. He even goes as far as to call it "automotive royalty," quite the big deal for a sports car that was overshadowed by the Ferrari Daytona, Lamborghini Miura, and Maserati Ghibli.

Of course, things become a lot more interesting when Leno gets behind the steering wheel and takes the car for a spin through Los Angeles. You won't understand much of what Jay is saying due to some technical issues with his microphone, but that's not a big deal if you're a fan of V8 exhaust notes.

The 5300 GT is way louder than a Corvette fitted with the same engine and that's mostly because it's essentially a slightly more comfortable version of the Corsa, a full-blown race car. This video is the best proof out there that the ultimate vintage unicorn is not the Ferrari 250 GTO. You can't fight me over it in the comments sections, but only after you hit the play button below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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