Films: 1965 Bizzarrini A3/C: A Le Mans Underdog Story
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Made To Drive | S10 E16

1965 Bizzarrini A3/C: A Le Mans Underdog Story

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Robert in LA
Robert in LA
3 years ago

Eleven of Bruce Meyers cars are coming to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles for display to the public. For details try this URL: https://www.petersen.org/never-lift Opening night is February 22.

Ed -- SteeringWheelGuy
Ed -- SteeringWheelGuy
4 years ago

Great video!…thx for sharing. What he says at the end about giving back to motorsports is exactly why I’m looking into starting a video series about steering wheel grip design using my Beck Lister Corvette since its open cockpit makes shooting hands on a steering wheel easier…

Seth
Seth
5 years ago

I want to personally drool on this one of a kind car, haha

CruiseMulholland
CruiseMulholland
5 years ago

Gulett right you are : Iso Grifo A3/C No. 022 had a light fiberglass body from yacht builder Nautici Catarsi. This also was the first Bizzarrini with independend rear suspension and inboard disc brakes. Essential ingredients for the racing success in Le Mans. With ongoing funding for the A3/C homologation by Rivolta – 100 cars had to be build – this could have been a potential World Champion in the GT class.
Fascinating the Bizzarrini story.

John Daggett
John Daggett
5 years ago

I really connected with the owners philosophy about buying a car based on passion and enthusiasm, not worrying too much about the technical detail or wondering if he can flip it. Me? I’m not rich and can only afford one car, I needed a new car for work it gets used every day, its a 2016 Abarth 595. The noise, the boost gauge, the fun way it drives I love it! I think that is what the owner was getting at?

Michael Gulett
Michael Gulett
5 years ago

in LA

I believe that Bizzarrini designed the A3/C with Le Mans specifically in mind, after all it was the most desirable race to win. He was the chief engineer of the Ferrari 250 GTO and he has said that if he would have stayed at Ferrari the A3/C would have been his next creation except of course it would have had a Ferrari engine.

The A3/C takes Bizzarrini’s ideas used on the GTO and pushes them to extreme: the engine is further back, the windscreen is flatter, the car is much lower and has much better aerodynamics. The engine is so far back that there is a panel on the dashboard used to access the distributor. A special light weight oil sump allows the engine to sit lower yet the oil sump is still the lowest point under the car.

The A3/C has some under the car air flow management, there is a skid plate at the front that allows air to flow under the engine more smoothly. There are two air funnels just ahead of each of the in-board rear disc brakes that force air over the brakes for cooling and then the air is pulled up through two tunnels which sends the air out the two air vents located on top of the car just below the rear window. It seems this air flow would reduce air turbulence under the car and pull the rear end down.

The engine position allows the car to be lower and specifically the front to be lower where there is not a conventional grille. The front grille is limited to the two ’nostrils’ which have become a Bizzarrini design trade mark. There are also two rear facing air intakes toward the front of the hood that send air into the engine bay. There are two small electric cooling fans in front of the radiator which are turned on and off by one of the toggle switches on the dash. There are engine bay exhaust vents on the upper front fenders in front of each door. There are air exhaust vents located just behind each wheel well. The air intakes just below the headlights are used for cabin air on a Strada and for engine air (carburetor) on a Corsa. There are additional air intakes on the Corsa located on the front fenders and the rear window for cabin air.

The top of the A3/C is nearly flat similar to the Ferrari Breadvan but with a taper that improves the looks and ends at the rear with a Kamm tail.

There are 3 gas tanks all filled from one fuel filler. There is a 20 gallon tank behind the interior and each door sill has a 7.5 gallon gas tank for a total of 35 gallons. Bizzarrini also used rear in-board disc brakes like on a Jaguar. The gas tank placement and the rear brakes indicates that Bizzarrini was concerned about side to side weight distribution in addition to front to back.

Even though Giugiaro is credited with the design of the A3/C I believe that some of the body style was dictated by the race ambitions of Bizzarrini which is one of the things that caused his split with Renzo Rivolta at Iso (race ambitions not the body style).

Imagine what Bizzarrini could have done if he would have had more resources!

The photo is a side view of Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada No. 0256.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Gulett

Thanks for this, Michael.

I was hoping that someone who knows these cars far better than I do would have things to say about the aerodynamics and the weight management. Putting fuel in the rocker panels is an interesting choice. Not only is that the lowest static structure in the car, but it is as far outboard as the fuel can be placed. Of the three tanks, the rocker panel tanks would have likely been the lowest, and therefore the last to be used. If this is true, much of the weight of the fuel in the rocker panel tanks would have been present there for almost the entire race. The fuel in those side tanks would have ballasted the car against yaw motion resulting from an impulse hitting one side of the suspension only, such as hitting a curb. There are serious safety concerns in surrounding the driver with fuel tanks, but from a weight management perspective the placement is an effective one. Pulling the engine back into the cockpit, compacts the fore-and-after mass of the car, reducing lateral front tire load at the entrance of a turn. Spreading out the weight laterally, reduces yaw motion (roll), when one side of the suspension sees a vertical impulse that the other side does not see. Using the inboard brakes in the rear, reduces unsprung mass. A lot of what Bizzarrini is doing here has to do with the optimization of mass distribution, and with aerodynamics effects, especially generating down force.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Gulett

Mr. Gulett, I had no idea. You are quite modest about your achievements. For those who are new to the Iso and Bizzarrini cars, Mike Gulett is the author of a book that presents Iso literature, photo graphs and drawings of the period, and provides commentary. In that book you present the case that this car was designed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and discusses the involvement of Giorgetto Giugiaro in the project.

Iso Car Literature
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: lulu.com (September 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 110505635X
ISBN-13: 978-1105056352

Robert in LA
Robert in LA
5 years ago

The front mid-engine placement and the aerodynamics of the slab sides are both interesting features. Bruce Meyer says he does not ‘study’ these cars, however he certainly would be in contact with people who do. Meyer may not seek them out, but I suspect they influence him because his observations about this car are so astute. Moving some of the engine weight out of the nose must have made the car more nimble than the car would have been with the engine in what was a more conventional place for the time. Iron block 327s weigh somewhere around 500 pounds. The engine may have been as much as a quarter of the weight of the car. Moving the engine back even a foot, to front-mid position may have reduced the polar couple for the whole car by as much as 500 foot pounds in a 1 g turn, taking a fair amount of lateral load off the front tires in a turn. Since most of the braking load is in the front, moving lateral load to the rear tires is very helpful at the entrance to a turn. Similarly taking the rocker panels straight to the ground with little or no radius on them, would have increased the Venturi effect for the under body, increasing down force with no penalty in frontal area. Both are design features that would persist, even though they would be realized differently. The car is such a transition piece in this sense. The design points the way forward, while remaining a front engine, rear wheel design, with reliable, conventional power and drive train.

Sotirios Bakaimis
Sotirios Bakaimis
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert in LA

very good observations

Robert in LA
Robert in LA
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert in LA

Like many people I really never knew that much about Giotto Bizzarrini’s work. The cars are so rare. They look fairly conventional, yet their engineering has some distinctive features. Hearing Bruce Meyer talk repeatedly about the way that this car, from a tiny company with very limited resources, came to dominate Le Man’s had me wondering how they did that. Did the designer just happen to hit a sweet spot in suspension design and balance or are there some more fundamental principles at place that Giotto Bizarrinni employed. For instance, was this car specifically designed for Le Mans, more than other courses of the time? Le Mans has long straights followed by tight corners. And it is especially in the entrance to these tight turns following long that the mid-front engine placement would have an advantage. When Bizzarrini moved that engine back, he may very well have been thinking of the Mulsanne Straight. Another choice that would have favored a 24 hour race is the use of the Chevrolet 327, push rod engine, that produces huge amounts of power in a simple, reliable package. With these engines there is far less to go wrong than with a V12 overhead cam engine. The Bizzarrini people had limited funding, and therefore had to be clever with what they had. They may have been focussed on one race, and one race only, and that race may have be Le Mans. Others on this forum would know better than I do.

Sotirios Bakaimis
Sotirios Bakaimis
5 years ago

GREAT STORY & VIDEO!!!

Michael Gulett
Michael Gulett
5 years ago

Here are a couple of photos of Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada No. 0256 which I owned for a few years.

The second one is at The Quail in 2012 where we won the Bizzarrini Class and the first photo is the engine.

Alberto1962
Alberto1962
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Gulett

Thanks Michael for clarification. And congrats for your fantastic Bizzarini! Unfortunately in Switzerland there is hardly a chance to see one driving. But at least I saw an ISO Grifo at my Corvette’s specialist garage in Zurich. Petrolistic Greets from Switzerland!

Michael Gulett
Michael Gulett
5 years ago

@Alberto1962 and @bananaslinger

This is an Iso Grifo A3/C built by Bizzarrini it can be called a Bizzarrini A3/C or an Iso/Bizzarrini A3/C. There is a lot of confusion about the naming of these cars before Bizzarrini split with Iso. Bizzarrini called them various names which has led to the confusion.

This is not a Bizzarrini GT 5300, that name came later.

The body on Iso Grifo A3/C No. 022 was not made by Drogo. It is fiberglass not aluminum and was made by Catarsi.

Jonathan WC Mills
Jonathan WC Mills
5 years ago

I’ve met this car and Bruce both, and he couldn’t be a nicer, more authentic, truly passionate enthusiast. Our community is lucky to have him.

Alberto1962
Alberto1962
5 years ago

Wow what a car. Race and Design in one. Bizzarini was a genius. Why not him call as the commendatore’s spirit. Enzo was a bit gelous (smile). And what music from the exhaust and motor bay comes to my corvette 327 ear. Oh yes of course with a prise of Weber carburetors mixed in. Only one thing I don’t understand: why on the front I find a Grifo emblem? If I am not mistaken that was ISO?

Jack Koobs de Hartog
Jack Koobs de Hartog
5 years ago
Reply to  Alberto1962

#B-0222 was no Iso but a Bizzarrini. If you look carefully at attached photo from Le Mans in 1965 it already had that Bizzarrini Grifo badge

Dominick Toscano
Dominick Toscano
5 years ago

Was Trancas the day Bruce rolled with with the Bizzarrini, more like thundered in,as the 327 engine all alloy ,420hp and w sidedraft webers clearly filled the air,my favorite chevy engine of all time the 327,then the 427.Was their with my Spider! pic of the Bizzarrini,with my Spider in the back ground!

CruiseMulholland
CruiseMulholland
5 years ago

Entertaining to watch a again well lensed and edited car-enthusiast video… this one stands out for me because of the protagonists. The Bizzarrini (actually the Iso Grifo A3/C B0222 – engineered by Bizzarrini for Renzo Rivolta, body by Drogo) is my favorite race-/sports car of the 60s. Luckily this LeMans class winner ended up in Bruce Meyer’s garage and is not circling around on top of a spot-lit turntable in a car museum. This presentation of the iconic – but not widely known – race car and its enthusiast owner will be remembered.

bananaslinger
bananaslinger
5 years ago

iso (grifo?) a3/c
or
bizzarrini 5300gt

this title is not wrong, but not right either….

SantaCruzRed
SantaCruzRed
5 years ago

I ran into my one and only Bizzarrini in 1968 while working at F. Paul’s Foreign Auto Parts on Long Island. This remarkable car pulled into the parking lot and everyone piled out to see what it was… and it was stunning. Great vid… as usual.

CMLF
CMLF
5 years ago
Reply to  SantaCruzRed

When o LI was this store?

CMLF
CMLF
5 years ago
Reply to  SantaCruzRed

Where on LI was this store?

SantaCruzRed
SantaCruzRed
5 years ago
Reply to  SantaCruzRed

CMLF: I was a California kid going to school for a year, so my recollection in not being a “local” is kinda sketchy… I think Huntington.

Carmen La de La Cadenita
Carmen La de La Cadenita
5 years ago

El sonido cuando baja la velocidad con los engrandes se escucha perfecto… <3 hermoso

Larry Kirkpatrick
Larry Kirkpatrick
5 years ago

This definitely works for me. I am sufficiently inspired to go out and blast through some corners, open some throaty pipes, and think that the whole world should be watching me have fun!

AndrewAllred
AndrewAllred
5 years ago

I was thinking the same thing! “welp- i guess ill leave for work a little early and take the long way”

cbell92129
cbell92129
5 years ago

AMAZING CAR!!!

Jared
Jared
5 years ago

Basso profondo! This car sounds amazing.

B Bop
B Bop
5 years ago

Wonderful video of a stunning car. It just exudes brutish elegance.
I hope this is appropriate, but for those who might be interested, here is another great video of the restoration of one of these cars, with some rather spectacular scenery to boot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny1Ja4c_yqQ

Robert in LA
Robert in LA
5 years ago
Reply to  B Bop

This is a very helpful and informative video about these cars. Thank you for posting this. There are fascinating little details of the construction of this car, present: things that only a restorer deeply engaged with the history of the marque would know.

I found it interesting for instance that the Bizzarrini engineering team attempted to use magnesium for the brake calipers. Apparently the magnesium would off-gas at temperature displacing brake fluid and leaving a gas pocket in the brake line. Also interesting is the assertion that this is one of the early performance cars of this class in which the body shape was developed with a wind tunnel. The venting of cooling air all seems to be very intelligently done: so I find this claim credible. If they were not ‘the first’ Bizzarrin & Co. were among the first to do this right.

One of the commentators also makes the case that the mid-front engine placement, was as far as you could go, in terms of improving mass distribution in a car with these kinds of performance aspirations. The next step would be the revolution in chassis design that puts theengine behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels. Apparently the Bizzarrini mid-front placement, along with a few others with this kind of engine placement, were the transitional design before the inversion of positions of engine and driver took place, to the configuration that of mid-engine rear wheel drive that is now regarded as standard for a car that is capable of speeds over 150 mph.

Brennan McKissick
Brennan McKissick
5 years ago

Fantastic story and video.

Ian Miles
Ian Miles
5 years ago

One of the best sounding cars I have heard in a long time. Fascinating story too.

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves
5 years ago

This car completelly blew my mind!

Thank you Petrolicious and thank you Mr. Meyer!

Kurt Uzbay
Kurt Uzbay
5 years ago

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Mr. Meyer at Amelia …
One of the true car guys- by that I mean: he doesn’t just buy/restore and then stare at his cars in the garage… He races and campaigns them. !! I appreciate that.. Car shows etc are great and fun, love ’em.. but to race and compete these beautiful machines, is a different level…
By the way: Giotto Bizzarrini was chief engineer is credited as the designer of the 250 GTO… Of course, Enzo woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and fired GB and most of the other Ferrari engineers… Ooofaaa…
– Kurt

Mike
Mike
5 years ago
Reply to  Kurt Uzbay

Bizzarrini was never fired, he quit along with many other Ferrar employees in what was known as the palace revolt. Bizzarrini regretted leaving but Ferrari was stubborn and that was that.Giotto went on to build the Lamborghini V12, the on to the Iso Rivolta company. The original cars were Iso Rivolta A 3c’s Bizzarrini went on to build those cars under his name after a fall out with the Rivolta family.

Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine
5 years ago

Great video. I like the narrative, Bruce Meyer’s enthusiasm is catching…he has been instrumental in making it okay for a car guy to like louvers, flatheads and Ferraris. The Bizzarrini is what happens when an artist designs a racecar.

Dennis White
Dennis White
5 years ago

Terrific! Now, Bruce’s Alfa TZ, please!

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves
5 years ago

Problem solved! :))

Eric Roth
Eric Roth
5 years ago

video link is broken. Petro….need my Tuesday video fix!! haha!!

Franje
Franje
5 years ago

I had the same problem but I was able to view it at Youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA0qzorFOW4

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves
5 years ago

I’m trying to see this video, but I get the following message – “video not available”…

Petrolicious, can you please tell me what’s wrong?

Thanks!

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
5 years ago

Same problem here as well .