Rare Rides: The Bizzarrini BZ 2001, From 1991

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the bizzarrini bz 2001 from 1991

Bizzarrini — a name which conjures images of, well, probably nothing for most people. In the Sixties, Bizzarrini was a short-lived auto manufacturer, but after the company’s demise, the name popped up once more in the early Nineties.

Let’s find out a little more about this one-of-one BZ 2001.

First, the brand. Established in 1964, Bizzarrini was founded by engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, who’d previously worked at Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Iso. Headquartered in Livorno, Italy, the company produced three notable models circa 1966: the 5300 Strada, the 1900 GT Europa, and the P538 S. Some were road cars for discerning customers, others were race cars that took part in events like the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

All of the company’s cars were very low-volume. The Strada numbered 133 examples, which made it entirely commonplace compared to the other two’s single- or double-digit production. Perhaps it’s not surprising that by 1969, the company was no more. After the brand went bust, Mr. Bizzarrini continued work on some existing ideas in the Seventies. He notably completed a few examples of a new model called the AMX/3, and a few more of the P538 S.

Cut forward a few years or 20, and in 1990 investor Barry Watkins phoned up Bizzarrini and asked if he’d be interested in designing a new supercar. Bizzarrini agreed, World SuperCars, Inc. was formed, and the project was officially underway. With an eye continually toward lightness, Bizzarrini designed a body composed entirely of carbon fiber. The sleek new design was sponsored by several different parts manufacturers who assisted in its engineering. Underneath, the BZ 2001 used the Ferrari Testarossa’s V12 engine and various other components.

Introduced circa 1993 at various auto shows, World SuperCars planned to sell each BZ 2001 for $250,000 ($450,925 adjusted). The ad’s rambling copy (linked below) attributes the BZ 2001’s failure to fading interest from the Indonesian conglomerate which eventually bought Lamborghini. Other factors might include the extreme pricing, or perhaps a failed test drive by Autoweek where the hood flew off. In any event, the BZ 2001 never progressed past a singular prototype.

Said prototype is for sale presently in Belgium at a price which is available upon request.

[Images: seller]

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5 of 8 comments
  • CammerLens CammerLens on Dec 18, 2019

    "Underneath, the BZ 2001 used the Ferrari Testarossa’s V12 engine and various other components." I thought the Ferrari Testarossa had a flat 12 engine.

    • See 2 previous
    • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Dec 19, 2019

      @Corey Lewis Because technically it is a 180* v-12 since it is not a boxer, the other "flat" engine.

  • NeilM NeilM on Dec 18, 2019

    Yeah, these cars are much more Mediterranean. I remember seeing a Bizzaririni Strada (Porsche orange) parked on the street in Nice in the late 60’s or thereabouts. Didn’t know they ever made anything more modern.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).