During the 1950s, Bizzarrini played a crucial role in developing the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and the 250 GTO. However, it wasn’t until 1960 that Giotto Bizzarrini decided to strike out on his own, collaborating with Giorgetto Giugiaro to create the Iso Grifo and Rivolta. In 1963, he embarked on his most ambitious project yet: building his own car, using the Iso AC/3 as a base.
In 1966, the Bizzarrini P538 made its highly anticipated debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This sleek racing car was powered by a potent Chevrolet 327 V8 engine and showed impressive performance and reliability. Sadly, the P538 was forced to retire from the race after just three hours due to a steering arm failure.
Despite its initial promise, Bizzarrini faced financial difficulties in the following years, ultimately leading to his bankruptcy in 1970. Despite Bizzarrini facing financial difficulties, several P538s had already been produced, including a unique specimen commissioned by Frenchman Jacques Lavost. This particular car was intended for the future owner of the ISO brand and featured several modifications from the traditional P538 design.
The car’s acronym, P538, represents its key features: P for rear-wheel drive, 53 for the 5.3-liter engine displacement, and 8 for the number of cylinders. This powerful car produced an impressive 355 horsepower, which was particularly notable for a vehicle from the early 1980s and one that was produced in very limited quantities.
In total, only 8 P538s were made, some with a Chevrolet V8 engine and others with a naturally aspirated Lamborghini V12, making them extremely rare and sought after by collectors.
Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s