He worked at both Ferrari and Lamborghini…
Giotto Bizzarrini died on May 13 at age 96, sadly just before the man marked his 97th birthday. The Italian engineer will forever be remembered by enthusiasts for his role in bringing the Ferrari 250 GTO and Lamborghini Miura to market, forever transforming the hobby.
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Like many legendary automotive engineers, Bizzarrini started off as a test driver. After graduation from the University of Pisa in 1953, he started working for Alfa Romeo and helped with development for the Giulietta. However, he gravitated to the company’s far more experimental ventures, earning quite the reputation.
In 1957 Bizzarrini was recruited by Ferrari. As chief engineer for the fledgling automaker, he’s credited for much of the work in creating the 250 GTO, perhaps the most revered Ferrari ever. Legend has it Bizzarrini lent his own 250 GT as a guinea pig for development in the quest to turn out a true track threat.
However, Bizzarrini was part of the Great Ferrari Walkout in 1961 and so wasn’t there as the 250 GTO racked up motorsports victories. Undeterred, the man worked as a freelance engineer before launching Societa Autostar in 1962, which played a role in developing the Iso Rivolta and Grifo.
At the same time, Ferruccio Lamborghini started courting Bizzarrini for his new auto brand. The man was persuaded to come onboard and of course developed a vicious V12 engine which was first used in the 350 GT. Used in different models in one form or another until the Murcielago, including mid-ship in the Miura, Bizzarrini’s creation strongly shaped the tone of Lamborghinis for decades.
He also started his own brand, Bizzarrini SpA, which racked up some accolades in motorsports and further impacted the hobby. Today, Bizzarrinis are rare and highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.