On January 15, 2011 in London at the Coys Autosport auction a 1968 Bizzarrini GT 5300 was sold. But was it a real Bizzarrini GT 5300? This car was reported by Coys as sold for £250,000 (approximately $405,000 US).
There have been some questions raised among Bizzarrini followers about the history of this car. Coys claimed in their catalog description of this car, Lot 224, that it was "Manufactured on the 8th of June 1968, this Bizzarrini is described as being in good condition throughout."
Clearly Coys presented this car as an authentic Bizzarrini GT 5300. The picture above and all pictures of the Coys car below are from the Coys Internet listing here.
The questions arise for many reasons, the first being that this chassis number, IA3*0308, is the same chassis number as that on a car owned by a long time owner who has assured me since this auction that he still owns Bizzarrini chassis number IA3*0308. In the picture below, of the chassis number stamped on the Coys auctioned car, the chassis number does not appear as on other Bizzarrini GT 5300s, mine for example, has a * between the IA3 and the series number (0308 in this example and 0256 in the case of my car). Other knowledgeable Bizzarrini people have told me that the * should be in the location as I described. This symbol should be a "star" not just crossed straight lines as they are on the Coys car.
Another problem is the body design, and there are several design issues with this car.
Below the Coys car is in the top half of each picture and four other correct Bizzarrini GT 5300s are shown for comparison. The last picture of the interior is my own Bizzarrini GT 5300 chassis number IA3*0256. I took all of the other pictures of the correct cars shown below.
The holes in the body above the trunk lid should not be there in the red Coys car. The original body design had two chrome air vents on each side just below the rear window and above the trunk lid. The blue car below is correct.
Click on the images for a larger view.
The front bumper is curved on the Coys car, it should be straight as it is on the green car below which is a Best in Show winner at Concourso Italiano in Monterey. It also seems like the gas cap cover on the Coys car is rectangular, it should be round as on the green car. The headlight covers are larger than they should be - more elongated.
In the pictures below you can see the side air vents are of different shapes and sizes than the correct red car in the lower picture, which is a Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance class winner sitting next to my silver Bizzarrini, also a multiple award winner.
There are problems with the interior as well. The first is that this is a series one interior and a 1968 model should have a series two interior (the layout of the dashboard is different between a series one and series two interior). The ignition key should be to the left of the steering wheel as it is on the lower car below and the cigar lighter should be on the dash below the three indicator lights as on the lower car.
Is it possible that two Bizzarrinis could have the same chassis number? Yes, it is possible but Coys did not mention this in their description of this car. I am not aware of any historical evidence to support two cars with chassis number IA3*0308 and I have asked Bizzarrini experts this question.
The design problems with the Coys car are concerning and I have only mentioned some of the problematic items. It is possible that this is a re-body Bizzarrini but the Coys description does not mention a re-body and that would not answer the chassis number question.
I contacted Coys about my questions and I sent them a draft of this article a few days before publication. Their response was not illuminating and they did not answer my questions.
There are doubts that lead a reasonable person to question the history of this car.
Part 2 is here.