1965 Iso Bizzarrini A3/C Competition

May 3, 2019 | On Show

Photos: Johnny Miles

Up until 1961, Giotto Bizzarrini played an important role at Ferrari as a development manager, engineer, designer, and test driver. He was instrumental in Ferrari’s most legendary racer, the 250 GTO. However, he was fired in 1961 after complaining to Enzo with a group of fellow employees about interference in company matters by Enzo’s wife, Laura.

As a talented engineer, Bizzarrini was soon hired by Renzo Rivolta to help design a series of high-performance grand tourers, including the Iso Grifo, which is known as one of the most successful Italian-American hybrids, combining beautiful Italian design with a reliable and powerful Chevrolet V-8.

The Iso Bizzarrini A3/C Competition car seen here was an extreme version of the Iso Grifo. It could hit 188 mph down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans thanks to the combination of a sleek Giugiaro-designed body and the 400-hp American V-8. This car, chassis BO222, finished first in class and ninth overall at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car’s engine location behind the front axle made this a true mid-engine design and contributed to its success. If you can overlook the American V-8 instead of the Italian V-12, it is in many ways the spiritual successor to the iconic 250 GTO.

Today, this car is a part of the Bruce Meyer Collection, and it is on display as part of a special exhibition at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles entitled “Winning Numbers: The First, the Fastest, the Famous.”

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