1968 Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I. BA4*108
This red Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I (1968) with chassis number BA4*108 is the 1st production & only spider ever to be shipped to the USA landing in Livonia, Michigan in 1968.
"I have said many times that one of the reasons I worked professionally with the rare classic cars is the Livornese magician Giotto Bizzarrini, not only for the unparalleled style of the cars he created but mainly for the passion he had during his many years of career in the automotive field. Many are the ones who envied him, insulted him with bad behaviors but this is something very common for people who managed with their work to reach the top, good reading, & thank you!"
Giotto Bizzarrini expanded into the U.S. market with the GT America, a Stradale with a control-arm rear suspension and fiberglass bodywork. The distributor, for a short time, was John Fitch (MTC, Spring 2010), though the experience was so horrific Fitch refuses to speak of it today. In December 1966, Road & Track tested an America with the Weber competition package (the Corvette’s Holley four-barrel came standard), praising its steering and handling performance on the Lime Rock circuit, but finding fault with the brake proportioning and the general build quality and refinement, concluding, “It’s a hairy, gutsy car that handles as well as anything but the all-out mid-engine jobs.” Car and Driver was far less kind two years later, acknowledging that it “handles very well, but requires more effort from the driver than can be reasonably expected.” The magazine singled out the slow, heavy steering, harsh ride, and a lack of amenities and build quality, summing up, “It can be almost sinfully enjoyable as a fun car, but as transportation it’s a bad second to an arthritic horse.”he markings are English and the fenders get side marker lamps.
Mr. Giotto Bizzarrini best known for prototyping the 1st Ferrari GTO and after leaving Ferrari making his own brand of race cars and putting them on the street.
This is the 1st Factory production Spyder S.I. Built from the original 1966 Geneva Prototype show car designed By Bizzarrini, Style Italia (S.I.). Only 2- Production Spyders were built from 1967 thru 1969 before Bizzarrini had closed the doors. This Spyder (S.I.) weighs is at 2835lbs, Chevy 327/420 bhp 2-seater all aluminum roadster. This was one and only Spyder (S.I.) ever ordered and sold to a American customer Mr. Harold Sarko from Detroit, Michigan. This 1st production Spyder started its life in late 1967 from the Body builder Stile Italia (S.I.) in co-operation with Sibona e Basano, Under Mr. Bizzarrini supervision. This 1st production Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I. Serial #BA4108 was originally Painted in the color (Blue Metalized) and the roof design was shown with the center T-Top bar removed as a Targa or a full convertible (See attached article written by Mr Gino Baglio in late 1967). The Rear Roll bar made in steel and was removable, This is confirmed by Mr. Diomante See attached Document Dated 08/30/2010. Mr. Giotto Bizzarrini turned this 1st production Spyder S.I. over to Mr. Diomante to test his abilities to finish this spyder for the American customer Mr. Harold Sarko. Mr Diomante started out as a Body supplier from Torino, then in 1967 moved to Livorno where he was responsible for body selection and saw over final assembly for Bizzarrini S.P.A of livorno Italy. At the request of Mr. Harold Sarko, the American customer asked this 1st Spyder S.I body to be painted in (Red) BA4108 is the only production Spyder to have the new design chassis called (BA4). This chassis allowed for a Larger Interior Cockpit with the seats a little longer a center console was added with a well needed glove Box. This chassis aloud for Bizzarrini fully Independent rear suspension w/inboard Magnesium disc brake calipers w/12 solid rotors, Jag 2.88 geared rear end and Adjustable Koni shocks. This was completed in with keeping the same 95.6 wheel base as the IA3 chassis that were fitted with the De Dion suspension. The chassis flex still was a concern and under pressure to finish the Spyder (BA4 *108) it was agreed to add a center bar which became a T-Top. It was at this point the Steel Roll bar was bolted on along with the center bar – giving the appearance as a T-Top to allow for 2-small roofs to be removed and stored in the trunk. This did solve the flex problem.
The car was Sold New in 1968 and delivered to the US Customer where the Spyder was titled and plated in Detriot, Michigan. This Spyder then past hands to the Sassak Family in 1969 where this Spyder still remains over 50 years later.
This two owner 1968 Red Spyder S.I. was driven for twenty years before a full restoration in 1989. This spyder S.I. has received over 90 awards from Best In Show, Best In Class, People’s Choice, Grand Marshall, Designers Choice and Best Finish among many others. By invitation only to the Top Concours d’ Elegance events from Meadowbrook, Eyes on the Classics, Pebble Beach, Concourso Italiano, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Keels and Wheels and LeBelle Macchine d’ Italia just to name a few. This beautiful Spyder S.I. has been featured in Road & Track as a Salon Car 1989, Automobiles Classiques, Top Wheels, Car Collector, Auto Week and Auto-Selekt and in 2004 featured on Meguian’s Car Crazy TV show.
You can tell a pedigree of a car by the name badge it carries. The prototype and the 1st Red production Bizzarrini 5300 spyder S.I. serial# BA4*108 carries 4 unique badges, (1) round Bizzarrini Badge on its nose and (1) well placed Bizzarrini script badge on it deck lid. 3rd and 4th badges has to be considered some of the rarest from Style Italia (SI) and Partner Sibona e Basano (SB) from of Torino, Italy. Well placed just behind the side cooling vents on each side of the front clip just in front of the side doors and behind the door. Both spyders the prototype and 1st production car had there own Catalog sheet from the factory. Present owner is Mark S Sassak of both spyders, the 1966 Silver Prototype # IA3 *245 and 1st Red production Bizzarrini Spyder #BA4*108.
Giotto Bizzarrini car’s under his own badge could best be summed up as the closest thing to taking a race car and putting it on the street. His cars were offered at that time as the only production automobile in the world offering 20 Competition and Grand Touring features as standard equipment. It was a perfect marriage between combining American muscle and the reliability and durability in the small block Chevrolet corvette motor.
1988 Meadow Brook, Concours D’Elegance, Best in Class
1989 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, Class Award
1989 Eyes on the Classics, Best in Class, Best Craftsmanship, Peoples Choice Award
1989 Santa Barbara Concours d’ Elegance, Peoples Choice Award, Best in Class, Most Exotic
1989 Avanti Vintage Grand Prix & Concours d’ Elegance, Best in Class
1993 Meadow Brook, Concours D’Elegance, Best in Class
1994 Eyes on the Classics, Designers Choice, Grand Marshal Award
1997 Eyes on the Classics, Honorary Chairman Award, Chairman was Mr. Robert A Lutz
1997 Meadow Brook, Concours D’Elegance, Best Sports Car, Peoples Choice Award
2002 Concours Italian Style, Best in Show, Best Finish
2002 Cars on Campus, Best in Class, Best Italian Car
2004 Concorso Italiano, Best in Class, Best in Show
2004 Lebella Macchine d’Italia, Best in Class
2008 Keels & Wheels, Best in Class
327 –350 & 365, 420 HP corvette motor with 11 to 1 compression
Optional light weight magnesium side -draft manifold w/45-dcoe Italian made webers carb.
Italian push rods
Sand bent header 4 into 2
Oversize magnesium oil pan.
Wind tunnel tested
All aluminum body bonded to a welded tube frame.
4-wheel independent suspension.
Koni adjustable shock-absorbers.
Magnesium 12 in disc brakes (inboard-at rear).
Double circuit servo assisted braking system.
Magnesium knock off wheels 7" front 9" rear
Dunlop racing tires.
Ideal placement of the motor to give a 50/50 weight distribution.
3- light weight alloy fuel tanks (7.5 gal reserve) totaling 35 gal. served by 3 fuel pumps, and still maintaining front to rear weight distribution with less than 1% variation from full to empty.
2-electric fans for the radiator.
Shoulder harness type safety belts.
Largest luggage compartment of any production sports car accommodates ample luggage and full size spare tire.
Weight of the bizzarrini spyder is 2535 lbs.
Steel roll bar.
Limited slip differential.
Grand Prix wood wheel
Blueprint top view Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder SI from Stile Italia in co-operation with Sibona e Basano.
Some very exclusive photos for your eyes only, enjoy!
Mark Sassak and wife Allison have run a successful Toy (& Sporting goods) manufacturing business for 35 years now. Mark’s father bought the red car when it was six months old, and Mark restored it at the same shop that was then restoring the blue car, learning many lessons that eased his subsequent restoration of the silver prototype. Mitsubishi/Kia dealer Don Meluzio bought a Bizzarrini 5300 Strada coupe in 2001, acquired this blue Spyder in late 2005, and today serves as the IBOC club president.
WHY I LIKE IT: Mark: “The lines! When I was 14 years old and my dad drove it home, I just knew I had to own that car some day.” Don: “I think it’s the most beautiful car in the world.”
WHY IT’S COLLECTIBLE: Giotto Bizzarrini earned a reputation as one of Italy’s most accomplished automotive engineers, but he built fewer than 150 cars with his own name on them.
RESTORING/MAINTAINING: Chevy powertrain parts are plentiful, though the ($10K) magnesium Weber intakes are scarce. Most trim, body, and chassis parts must be recreated if Salvatore Diomante’s parts stash in Italy can’t supply them.
BEWARE: Provenance is everything. Chassis numbers assembled by other entities after Bizzarrini’s bankruptcy are worth less. Original copper brake lines, magnesium calipers, and disused power booster diaphragms are leak-prone.
EXPECT TO PAY: Keith Martin of Sports Car Market guesses the spyders to be worth 1 to 1.25 Million (note this was 2011). The evaluation today should be many times more then the most original expensive Bizzarrini 5300 GT/Strada I have seen auctioned for $2 million.
JOIN THE CLUB: Iso & Bizzarrini Owners Club (IsoBizzarriniOwnersClub.com)
All photography work is copyrighted by the author, plus: Motor Trend Classic, Mark Sassak, Jim Fets, please don't download and publish these pictures in the internet without my permission! Larger high quality pictures is available only for donators up on request!
Vasileios Papaidis 2021 © All Rights Reserved