Engineering Legend Giotto Bizzarini Dead at 96

·2 min read
Photo:  Klemantaski Collection (Getty Images)
Photo: Klemantaski Collection (Getty Images)

When you think of Lamborghini’s origins, you likely think of the famous Ferrari story: Humble tractor maker Ferruccio offering Enzo tips on clutch design, and the latter spurning the former over his pride. But by the time Lamborghini had a car factory to his name, his car business was built on more than just clutches — it was built on V12 engines, designed by Giotto Bizzarrini. Now, 60 years later, Bizzarini has died.

This past Saturday, May 13, Autoweek reported Bizzarrini’s death. Bizzarrini had a long and storied career as an automotive engineer; from his time as a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in the 1950s, through development of the Ferrari 250, to his time with Lamborghini and beyond. He built his own company, worked with Giorgetto Giugiaro in the days before Italdesign, and even helped create an ill-fated supercar for AMC. Truly, his contributions to the automotive world were staggering.

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One of Bizzarrini’s best known works was the 250GT Breadvan, a short-wheelbase Ferrari 250 modified to compete with factory-built GTOs on the race track. Bizzarrini redid the car’s aerodynamics, lowering the car and extending the rear end, in an attempt to make up for its less sophisticated running gear. The Breadvan did well in its day, but a four-speed transmission never allowed it to truly show the Ferrari-built GTOs who was boss.

Bizzarrini’s self-titled company many not have lasted long in the ‘60s, folding in 1969, but Bizzarini S.p.A. has returned — just in time to announce the Bizzarrini Giotto before its namesake’s demise. Bizzarrini himself may not have lived to see the car bearing his name in full production form, but it’ll be a nice tribute to his memory.

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