Rare Bizzarrini 5300 GT Hits Public Roads, Showcases Corvette-Sourced V8

There are several reasons why the 1960s are considered the golden era of the automobile. That's when muscle and performance cars really took off. The world's first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura, also arrived in the 1960s. And while Italian companies were building tremendously beautiful cars and the U.S. was rolling out more muscle cars than you can count, some people decided to get the best of both worlds.
Bizzarrini 5300 GT 6 photos
Photo: DtRockstar1/YouTube
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That's how cars like the DeTomaso Pantera, Iso Grifo, and Bizzarrini 5300 GT were born. Designed in Italy and powered by American-built V8 engines, these cars are what many of us call "Italian muscle cars." They're the perfect breed, combining the best of what Europe and North America had to offer back in the day.

Unfortunately, some of these cars, especially the Grifo and the 5300 GT, are all that famous and don't get the recognition they deserve. For several reasons. First, they were built by small companies that didn't have dealerships and the marketing power of the large carmakers. Second, these companies disappeared after a short while and didn't get to produce more than a few cars.

As a result, chances are you won't see a supercar like the Bizzarrini 5300 GT very often. And it's safe to say that many of us won't ever see one in the metal. Unless you attend certain car shows that tend to display vehicles like this. The annual Eyes on Design is one of them and in case you missed it, here's some footage of a 5300 GT in motion, flexing its Chevy-sourced, naturally aspirated V8 engine.

Designed by ex-Ferrari chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini while running the company wearing his name, the 5300 GT, also known as the Strada, emerged in 1964. It was related to the Iso Grifo, which Bizzarrini designed while working at Iso, but it featured an all-new exterior design and a few different technical solutions. It's also decidedly more track-oriented than the Grifo.

And while Iso eventually opted to go with big-block engines, Bizzarrini for the smaller and lighter 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) Chevrolet V8. A mill that Chevy offered in the second-generation Corvette, the V8 pumped 365 horsepower in the road-legal Strada model and 400 horses in the track-spec Corsa version.

This streamlined beauty needed less than seven seconds to hit 60 mph (97 kph) from a standing start and reached a top speed of 174 mph (280 kph).

Bizzarrini built 133 examples from 1964 to 1968, but the actual number of units that survived to this day remains unknown.

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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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