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GT Europa 1900
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  Bizzarrini GT Europa 1900      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1966 - 1969
Numbers built:12
Introduced at:1966 Turin Motor Show
Price new:Lire 2,900,000
Designed by:Pietro Vanni
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 10, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionGiotto Bizzarrini quickly realised that to safeguard the future of his fledgling company, the Bizzarrini line-up would benefit from a more affordable model alongside the 5300 GT, which would appeal to a broader market. He received further encouragement from an investor friend, who suggested that the proposed GT Europa would be eligible for a government grant, which would allow Bizzarrini to construct a larger factory. Showing typical poor business acumen, Giotto Bizzarrini agreed that he would build a prototype at his own expense before applying for the grant and looking for further investments.

In many ways a downsized 5300 GT, the GT Europa was built around a steel platform centre section with front and rear subframes. The prototype featured a DeDion rear axle but to further cut costs, the production car sported double wishbones on all four corners, with an anti-roll bar on the front axle only. Bizzarrini initially intended to use a Fiat 1500 'four' but eventually settled on the Opel 1900 through his connections with General Motors. This unusual engine featured a camshaft mounted in the head, which actuated the valves through short mechanical rams. Equipped with a single Solex carburettor, it produced around 110 bhp. A four-speed ZF gearbox was also used.

Bizzarrini's in-house designer Pietro Vanni penned the GT Europa 1900 lines, which were also closely based on those of the 5300 GT and were further refined in the wind-tunnel of the university of Pisa. Created in fibreglass, the body sported a particularly airy cockpit thanks to the tall glass sections of the doors that cut into the roof. The completed car tipped the scales at just 640 kg and this was balanced perfectly between the two axles because the engine was mounted almost underneath the dashboard. The prototype was ready in time for the 1966 Turin Motor Show where it was very well received.

Encouraged by the successful launch, Bizzarrini ordered enough components and fibreglass bodies for 50 examples. Sadly, but also hardly surprisingly, the promised investments and government grants never materialised. This made the GT Europa more expensive and time consuming to build and this, together with the sharp price, left very little room for profit. Other Bizzarrini ventures also proved troublesome and within a few years, bankruptcy was inevitable.

By that time only twelve GT Europas were built, including a Spyder and at least one ss, which featured a more powerful, twin carburettor engine. After the sale of the unused components, at least five more examples were built. Praised for its superb handling, the GT Europa could have been Bizzarrini's saviour but unfortunately, the hugely talented engineer lacked the necessary business savvy to secure the finances necessary.

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  Article Image gallery (33) Chassis (2) Specifications User Comments (1)