The born of the new Bizzarrini
The tale of Barry Watkins from 1993: HOW THE PROJECT STARTED In 1989, my occupation changed from developing quality shopping centers in Southern California to enjoying the opportunity of a mid-life occupational change. Anno Domini 1989 was a year in which I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to collect several special exotic sports cars and race cars. My passion was to own a few very special collectibles. In 1989, at the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance, I saw my first 1968 Bizzarrini Spyder S1I. which was one of two cars ever built. After discovering how unobtainable it was, I wanted to have the eat Ing. Bizzarrini design a new "One-Off' for me. Much of the rest of 1989 and early 1990 were spent researching how I could meet Bizzarrini and request this project to him. I also met an English author and real estate developer, lan Webb, semi-famous in Ferraristi circles for his book entitled "Ferrari 275 GTB and GTS." I had indicated to him that I wanted to build another One-Off exotic sports car project. Soon thereafter, I acquired a Ferrari Testarossa with only 260 miles that would serve as the platform for my One-Off dream car. I sketched a few crude line drawings of what this dream car could look like. lan saw these when he was vacationing in California. We discussed the possibilities of how we might approach Ing. Bizzarrini to request he create a world class design out ofthese three or four lines. On my way to the 1990 Mille Miglia, our jet made a left turn over the Atlantic and landed in London. Ian and I spent a couple ofdays together in London playing cars. He happened to have a friend by the name of Bruce MacIntosh, who had been previously well known in the miracle mile area of Modena, Italy, where most of the great Italian sports cars are born. On my behalf, Ian wrote a letter to Ing. Bizzarrini in Livorno, Italy, in mid 1990 for the purpose of determining if Bizzarrini was interested in our One-Off car project. We received a response from Bizzarrini in July that he said he was going to be in California at the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance as an honoree for his lifetime achievements in the automotive world and that he would see us then. We were elated. Coincidentally, I too was going to be at the same event with my 1959 Scaglietti Berlinetta Corvette (the Carroll Shelby car), which was a twin to the Scaglietti Corvette (the Jim Hall car) I had shown the previous year. Ian arranged for a meeting at the event between In. Bizzarrini and me. THE BEGINNING OF THE BZ 2001 At the Concours D'Elegance the event dignitaries introduced Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini to me. The Scaglietti Berlinetta Corvette was considered by many who attended to be one of the most beautiful Italian bodied sports cars at Pebble Beach that year. Ing. Bizzarrini was so impressed with the Corvette that three times that day he returned to the display site to compliment the car's beauty. He told me about his friendship with Scaglietti and how they had worked on projects together. As the sun was slowly sinking into the beautiful blue Pacific, our conversation led to us exchanging ideas about what a future sports car or super car would look like. I imagined what over 25 years of Bizzarrini's experience since the Bizzarrini Spider could bring to a project. We shared many common ideas such as how the aerodynamic treatment would look on a car of the next century. I saw the once in a lifetime opportunity of having " The Maestro " design the ultimate One-Off which would carry the Bizzarrini name into the next century. The seeds of another substantial Bizzarrini project were just growing. As Bizzarrini described the proportions, the lines and other features of the futuristic dream car, I unrolled a few sketches of my three or four major lines and showed them to him. He provided many ideas and evolved the concept with much more detail and, all of a sudden, I could see he was very interested in the project. Bizzarrini had already considered creating some sort of supercar of his own design which was revealed later that evening at his special tribute dinner. This project added fuel to the fire and perhaps he realized a way his project could proceed to reality. I said to Bizzarrini, "I want you to design for me the ultimate One-Off Supercar with a design into the next century and I would like to visit your home in Italy in the very near future to discuss it in much more detail." Before we parted, he gave me some very specific instructions and suggested that I have a basic model created so that when I went to Italy we could have something to review. As you might imagine, I was very elated. I notified lan Webb that we needed to make arrangements to meet with Bizzarnni in Italy. Ian made those arrangements and Bruce MacIntosh would be our translator. THE TRIP TO ITALY OCTOBE 1990 A few months later we arrived in Livorno, Italy and Bizzarrini met us at the Palace Hotel lobby. Before him was laid a very rough plastic casted model ofhis concept that we had discussed at Pebble Beach. I think he liked it very well and he said "This will give us a good starting point." We followed him back to his home in the hills, traveling through the narrow winding mountain roads to Gabbro. We discussed the construction site ofthe full size car, Italy or the United States. It seemed the most feasible to build the car in the United States, since I was going to be the financier and the "developer" ofthe project. After Bizzarrini's first review, he stated that it would be the most feasible to have his son, Giuseppe, who was a most talented engineer and owner at that time of Forme e Technologia in Milan, scan the dimensions of the model and document the project's information. Giuseppe utilized state ofthe art CAD Systems to study the model and digitize it on a computer. After this process there was sufficient information for Bizzarrini to evaluate the technical aspects, styling and aerodynamics ofthe project. Not only was Giuseppe extremely talented but he spoke great English. Styling was very important to me so we decided that we would like to have two or three alternatives for each ofthe major portions ofthe project such as the front end, undertray, sides, rear end and the top. Drawings, faxes and ideas went back and forth for several months. My Bizzarrini file grew three to four inches, with all the information that was traded back and forth. While all ofthe sketches and drawing were being exchanged, an agreement was signed in May of 1991 between Giotto and Giuseppe Bizzarrini and Watkins Racing whereby the concept would be the responsibility of Bizzarrini, and the construction, finance and development would be the responsibility of Watkins Racing. THE ELECTION OF THE PROJECT MANAGER In April of 1990, I met Luis Romo by chance and I mentioned that I was working on a project with Bizzarrini in Italy and Luis' brown eyes became as big as saucers. Luis came to my house and saw the drawings and the work we had done. He said that he wanted to build the prototype car. Luis had been the Project Manager for the Dodge Viper Prototype at Metal Crafters. He was also on the Mazda Miata design team and was the Project Manager for the Plymouth Speedster and many, many other exciting development projects. Luis said something that I remember to this day, and that is that the information and drawings I had from Bizzarrini were in two dimensions and one of the most challenging parts of any project is to translate those into three dimensions. After studying Luis's resume I realized that he was a world class designer, modeler and project manager for some ofthe most important automotive projects that have happened in Southern California in the last ten ( 10) years; he was the man we needed at this end of the joint venture, and therefore became the BZ-2001 project manager. CONSTRUCTION BEGINS To implement Bizzarrini's concept drawings and sketches, Luis translated them into a 1/5 clay model. We compared the 1/5 scale model to our original 1/8 plastic model presented to Bizzarrini and there was basically very little similarity in proportion or style. Bizzarrini had taken a few lines and a very rough model and its translation became an absolutely stunning model. We couldn't wait to get the car completed in full scale. We both felt we really had something special to work with. A goal arose at that time and that was to see ifwe could build the most beautiful sports car of all time. In the last twenty-five years we have seen the advent offax machines, personal computers, CAD software (Computer Aided Design) and one day air parcel delivery, all of which makes it much easier to build such a dream car with team participants from across the world. I know I feel very humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to build this magnificent prototype with the Maestro and Luis Romo. Some specific reflections of the project that I remember are as follows : In August,1991, Luis first started packing and shaping clay on the project, and only 41/2 months later we rolled the car out of the shop onto the viewing area for its review. There were several people whose hearts started to pump very rapidly due to the beauty of the shape before us. We obviously had a long way to go but the overall image was awesome. Luis then took color photos of the brown clayed full size car and air brushed them in red so we could see what the car would look like. When the photos were finished they were breathtaking. The full size clay car was then cast into a multi-piece full size mold. Upon the disassembly of the casted mold the clay was destroyed, the mold was cleaned up and we started casting the body. The body was mounted on the chassis and we started to develop the geometry and engineering of all moving parts: door openings, trunks, hoods, etc. In July of 1992, the car was once again rolled out onto my driveway for another review. Changes were made as necessary and so began the final stages ofthe prototype body. Headlight and taillight openings were formed and plaster molds were made for the headlights, taillights and the rear side marker lights. Luis spent a month inside ofthe car shaping the clay interior. Molds for the interior pieces were made along with the interior doors and trim, and parts were formed in carbon fibre for the dash, side door panels, the floor pan and the seats. The feeling we wanted to create for the interior was one of sporty elegance, an emotional experience behind the steering wheel second to none. THE FIRST GUEST APPEARANCE OF THE BZ-2001 In November of 1992, Brian Jackson called and asked what kind of cars I might be interested in bringing to the Barrett-Jackson Expo Tent the following January. I informed him of our Bizzarrini project and sent him some pictures. He responded immediately and said that he would give me top billing if I would bring it over and display it in the Expo Tent. I was pleasantly surprised when he featured the BZ-2001 as the first car in the event brochure. The first person to greet me at the Barrett Jackson Expo Tent was a world famous exotic collector from Houston, Texas. I remember his comment when he said, "This car is a lot more gorgeous than beautiful, isn't it? Hi, I'm Gerald Moore. " The other things that I remember about Barrett-Jackson was the estimated 15,000 people who saw the car. The comment range we received was, "This car is absolutely gorgeous," up to "This is the most beautiful car ever made.". Brian Jackson, told me when we were leaving, "This car puts all the other super cars to shame and it is the most beautiful sports car I have ever seen. " Don Williams, of the Blackhawk Collection, who I consider the "Major Domo" of the exotic car world, said, "The Bizzarrini was the major attraction ofthe Expo Tent. There were cars worth millions and millions of dollars sitting next to the Bizzarrini in the Expo tent that weren't even noticed. " FEATURES OF THE PROJECT There were many times in the development process at which major decisions had to made as to which products to use, especially for a car that was going to represent styling into the next century and carry the Bizzarrini name. We wanted to create a car that is unique and something that will create design cues for the years to come. We had several conversations with Goodyear about the advantages and disadvantages of 17,18,19 and 20 inch wheels and tires. Their tests consistently concluded that a 17 inch tire/wheel combination provides the best overall performance. So we took a few points ofi styling and traded those for greater performance and went with 17 inch tires. The fronts are 23 5/45 ZR 17's that have an 8 inch tread width. The rears are 335/35 ZR 17's with a 12.2 inch tread width. Bill Jongbloed built a special set of his three piece modular wheels with magnesium center sections that weigh only 17 pounds. This compares to a 26 pound cast aluminum wheel and a 22 pound cast magnesium wheel ofthe highest quality. We used Alcon/Hyperco lightweight aluminum calibers with 12. 5 inch vented and cross drilled cast iron rotors mounted on aluminum hats. The performance ofthe brakes is phenomenal. Tilton Engineering developed to our requirements a prototype 91/2 inch carbon-carbon clutch that replaced the existing 46 pound clutch-fly-wheel combination for a unit that weighs only 16 pounds. This results in about a 200% reduction in inertial weight. The engine revs much quicker and the transaxle shifts much quicker. Some people will prefer a more conventional clutch that provides more forgiveness. People who prefer a more high performance feel will choose the much better acceleration durability, faster shifting and positive feel of the carbon-carbon clutch. I fall into the latter category. The double adjustable lightweight shocks are Penske Racing units. Penske supplies similar shocks to almost every team on the Indy/Cart Series and Formula One teams. Eibach Springs wound several special sets of springs for us to test. Their quality is unparalleled in the industry. Borla fabricated an extremely lightweight stainless steel exhaust system that incorporates four total silencing chambers with performance and sound second to none. Piaa high performance driving lights are featured in the front lower driving light panel to provide safe high-speed vision at night. Through our research for lightweight components, we bridged fields of technology with hi-tech electronics and selected a battery that weighs just 22 pounds as opposed to a standard automotive battery that weighs 48 pounds. The purity of the lead provides ample cranking amps and it recharges much quicker than a conventional automotive battery. We have used one in our Devin SS vintage race car for a year and it turns over our 13 to 1 compression ratio 500 hp engine instantly. Griflfin Radiators engineered our pair of aluminum radiators with very compact dimensions and weight of only 61/2 pounds each. Without a doubt, the most beautiful paint today is by House of Kolor. Our choice was their brand new deep rich red, Kosmos Red. There is not a prettier, richer red on any car that has ever been painted. All the plating for the special parts was handled by Santa Ana Plating. Plating has seen the advent ofmany technological advances in the last five years, and they use these new techniques for gold cadmium, black anodizing, and gold anodizing. We have several very special parts that we wanted to show off, such as the engine deck hinges which were machined from a solid billet of aluminum and all of the grills on the car. Obus Forme, based in Toronto, Canada, makes fantastic orthopedic seat products. We incorporated their system to our Bizzarrini seats, and created very comfortable high performance seats. The seat frames are carbon fibre. Our prototype uses a flat, 12 cylinder, 5 litre, 4 valve, 4 cam power plant which produces approximately 3 80 horsepower. Development is underway for a prototype 60 degree V-12 of 5 litres with four valves, four cams and a very sophisticated intake system with individually mapped electronic fuel injection for each cylinder. Alan Lockheed has developed a software package called the "Engine Expert" and he and Bizzarrini are experimenting with all the engine design variables so that while we build the engine we will be very close to our ultimate horsepower goal of 450 horsepower. We are currently designing our own production chassis using Bizzarrini's own chassis development software package. We also have had great fun with William Mitchell's "Racing by the Numbers" software package which allows experimenting with an infinite number of suspension parameters, gear ratio changes and setting up an entire car on the computer to yield an incredibly close idea as to what the finished product will perform like. My background in racing has given me the experience to know that small details count. One such a detail has been to use a set of racing car scales to weigh all four corners of the car and balance the cross corner weights so that the car is as reasonably balanced as possible. Designing a sports car for the next century takes a tremendous amount ofresources, research, creativity and ingenuity along with problem solving ability. And it takes a tremendous amount of outside help to be able to create such an accomplishment. This prototype is the first step in a project that will be completed over time. BIZZARRINI HIGHLIGHT PROJECTS I look back and think that Bizzarrini has not been involved in a significant sports car project for the last 20 years, yet he was the person Ferrari and Lamborghini called upon to solve major problems during Bizzarrini's career. His initial recognition was due to his brilliant chassis designs ofhis day and solving great engineering problems, but I believe that his real genius will equally be recalled by automotive historians for his projects which have had some ofthe most beautiful automotive designs of all time. Some of his greatest automotive accomplishments include the following: 1. He was the designer and constructor that Enzo Ferrari called upon who developed and refined Ferrari's most successful race car in the entire company's existence, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. This car won the Manufactures GT Championships in 1962,1963 and 1964 and which has proved to be one of the most valuable sports cars of all time. 2. The production ofthe first truly monocoque uni-body ultra high performance GT cars - the ISO Rivolta in 1962. 3. The design of the Lamborghini V-12 motor in 1962 -1963. 4. The designer and constructor of one of the world's truly great GT cars of its day, the ISO Grifo Bizzarrini, GT Strada and the gorgeous Bizzarrini Spider, S.1. in 1968. It has been very flattering to hear that many discerning automotive collectors say that this Bizzarrini project that you see before you may be his greatest styling accomplishment. PRODUCTION OF THE BZ-2001 AT LONG BEACH CALIFORNlA In April of 1993, Bizzarrini flew to the United States to see the completed BZ-2001 and introduce it to the world. The Long Beach Grand Prix was the site chosen for the occasion. The Ferrari Owners' Club honored his lifetime achievements and hosted several special events including the world premier of the BZ-2001 at the Automobile In Art Museum m Long Beach, and honored him as a special guest oftheir dinner event. Ing. Bizzarrini was amazed how positively the public reacted to the BZ-2001. Time after time he was told by hundreds of people who saw the car that it was one ofthe most beautiful cars in the world. Other places visited during his visit to the United States included the following: 1) Special VIP guests to see the Jay Leno Tonight Show. After the show, Jay took us to see his automotive collection. 2) European Auto Restoration facility. 3) Metal Crafters in Costa Mesa, California who build many of Chrysler Corporation's prototypes. 4) The Mazda Design Center which Luis Romo had originally set up for Mazda in 1984. 5) The Isuzu and Subaru design facilities. 6) Merle Norman automotive collection. Ing. Bizzarrini's observations were worth noting. He observed many foreign makes of automobiles in the United States manufactured by Japanese, Germans, and British, but very few Italian cars. We had informed him that the Italians had not kept pace with the marketing requirements of the American market, and it was at this point that he wanted to see if the three of us could build a prototype for one of the Italian manufacturers under Disegno di Bizzarrini. That possibility is being considered at this time. Since Ing. Bizzarrini returned home to Italy on April 20, 1993, over 25 major media articles on the BZ-2001 have appeared. FORMATION OF DISEGNO di BIZZARRINI Ing. Bizzarrini has been extremely pleased with the project, so much so that he suggested that we form a company to design projects and to build models and prototypes for other companies. That being done, the company that has been formed is Disegno di Bizzarrini. This will allow our small but creative team the ability to share our services of design, styling, and prototype construction with other companies and corporations who like the type of projects that we build. When I look back at the project and reflect upon what was born with this I have some very touching memories. On our trip to Europe to meet Bizzarrini, my wife and I conceived a child. That child, named Tyler, was born in August of 1991, the same month that Luis started the construction ofthe full size BZ-2001. Giuseppe Bizzarrini also had a son born during the project. Luis Romo, project manager, had a daughter born during the project. On the day that the car was scheduled to be completed and delivered to the Barrett-Jackson Auction was the exact day that my wife and I were to have our second child, Travis, and only our interference with nature's path caused him to arrive a few days early. Several children from team members will carry the Bizzarrini name into the next century. We feel very proud of our car, our team, and of our efiorts. We feel that we have built a world class supercar. The prototype was substantially completed in the late spring of 1993. We will complete the prototype and Bizzarrini will continue to design our own chassis, motor, etc. and put these cars in front of the world to bejudged. MANUFACTURING The manufacturing strategy for the BZ-2001 is scheduled to be an evolutionary process to take advantage of our momentum and developments as follows: 1 ) The first BZ-2001 is a prototype from which a production line of cars will evolve and be developed. The prototype was derived from a Ferrari Testarossa in which a multitude of improvements were made to the base vehicle. This will be the starting point for the BZ-2001 speciales which will be built similar to the prototype. It will also be the beginning of the evolutionary vehicle which will be developed into the higher production Phase II vehicle. 2) Versions of the BZ-2001 will be sold to specific customers on a custom order basis as speciales. They will have drive trains as requested by each customer and will be sold according to the rules and regulations of the country to where they will be sold. These cars will be specialty manufactured vehicles. 3) As the evolutionary process continues, Disegno will refine its chassis, suspension, etc., and will develop one or more drive trains for the next stage of specialty manufactured cars. 4) During the above process, the chassis and components will be developed to fully meet all U. S. DOT/EPA standards. This will take approximately 18 to 24 months and the company will seek additional funds to capitalize this portion ofthe operation. This will establish Disegno as a manufacturer with the goal to produce a minimum of 200 cars per year. To accomplish our goals, the manufacturing process will be as follows: 1 ) Lease a facility. 2) Complete the development and tooling necessary to make a production run of BZ-2001 speciales. 3) Ing. Bizzarrini will simultaneously continue the development, based upon the layout of the basic BZ-2001, for the higher volume chassis. This basic information will be formally engineered for compliance to U. S. NHTSA crash standards by an American team of engineers in coordination with Bizzarrini and Luis Romo. The compliance process will be processed, where applicable, through what is called "piggy-backing" the items previously approved by other manufacturers that are part of the specifications of the BZ-2001. These items may be such items as motor and drive trains that OEM suppliers have invested millions of dollars in the development and approval process. 4) Production will continue with BZ-2001 speciales and specialty manufactured cars. 5) Components for the higher production cars will be sourced and packaged into the design of the BZ-2001. 6) Upon completion and evaluation of a series of BZ-2001 speciales and obtaining DOT and EPA certification, the company will direct its assets for the expansion of manufacturing and evolve to the status of automotive supercar manufacturer. To keep momentum moving from the anticipated media coverage, an initial production run of 20 "speciales" BZ-2001s will be built similar to the prototype or custom "one-offs" for a price of $250,000. These will be collector cars for world-wide exotic car enthusiasts. Disegno projects that it will take 9 to 12 months to produce the first units of the collector car series and a turn around time of approximately 4 months thereafter to produce each car. These cars will feature special lightweight carbon fibre/kevlar composite body panels. Projections how a total of 20 units sold within 18 to 24 months, with an approximate 4 month from the orders date construction turn around time after the first few units have been sold. Phase I BZ-2001 units will continue at the rate of 1 per month to 12 per year after the first 20 units. These cars will be sold for racing purposes and most likely not be U. S. A. specification cars. DETAILS OF THE EVOLUTIONARY VEHICLE Vehicles sold as completed vehicles in the U. S. are subject to the following regulations : 1) EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approval for emissions and drive train durability. 2) Vehicles sold in California are subject to CARB (California Air Resources Board) emissions approval. 3) Federal safety standards arise through FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards which are administered by NHTSA (National Highway Trafic Safety Administration). The Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces these regulations. During the Phase I period, the evolution will continue to produce the Phase II BZ-2001 which will be designed to meet and be ready for full governmental certification. Ing. Bizzarrini will design the initial chassis specifications based upon a high performance mass produced drive train. That chassis will be structurally designed for U.S. NHTSA crash standards and prototypes then assembled. The priority is to evaluate all possible drive trains that fit into our production picture until the year 2001 and design the chassis to fit that drive train and our body. At this point of development, Disegno will have a contract with one or more major automobile manufacturers. This will provide a dealer network for parts, service, and warranty work that will save Disegno millions of dollars of time and energy; and furthermore, allow us to focus our attention on manufacturing our products. The body panels would be tooled by specialists in low production which will result in complete car body panels costing the most reasonable price after the proper investment is made in tooling. The production of the Phase II BZ-2001 will build up to 150 units per year with major portions of the car being subassemblies by outside specialists with assembly at the Bizzarrini factory. The Phase II car would be designed to meet 1996 Federal standards and be ready for initial delivery at the end of 1995. Price target is $ 125,000 which will make it one of the greatest values in the world for this type of car. Weight will be safely reduced to the ultimate reasonable amount to increase performance and fuel economy. The goal will be exempt from Federal "gas guzzler taxes. " We are not interested in building a large overhead or company which could be highly vulnerable to economic cycles or downturns. During slow sales periods, rather than massive lay offs, this philosophy will allow us to contact suppliers and inform them that we will withhold further purchases until sales improve to warrant additional purchases. Components will be designed by Disegno to our specifications and constructed as subassemblies by carefully selected fabrication and specialty manufacturers for the following items: 1) Paint and body panels 2) Chassis 3) Drive train components 4) Wheels and tires 5) Interior panels and trim These subassemblies will be shipped to Disegno for inspection and final assembly and many of these subassemblies may be manufactured outside of Califorinia where production costs are lower per unit. The use of outside subcontractors for subassemblies will reduce the company's investment in captital assets, man power, and space requirements, and will provide excellent quality control. Upon completion of each vehicle it will be mounted on a race-type platform scale that will be used to set up the suspension and chassis for proper weight distribution. Spnngs and shocks will be adjusted to the proper height, and each BZ-2001 will be road tested to insure proper performance of the vehicle.
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Copyright January, 1996.Paul Negyesi