News Culture

Cleanse Your Mind with a Rare $1 Million Bizzarrini P538 Getting Its First Wash in 32 Years

The star of a top-secret car collection shines again.

Few things are more satisfying than seeing a car brought back to its former beauty. The pro detailers at AMMO NYC are truly miracle workers in this regard, and they finally got their hands on one of the rarest cars of all: this one-of-six Bizzarrini P538 race car. 

AMMO founder Larry Kosilla had been itching to get into this collection of over 300 cars for about four or five years until its owner finally contacted him last month for a big, deep clean job. Its owner wanted to sell most of his massive collection that he’d built up since the late 1970s and needed his cars to look pristine. While the video doesn’t provide for a super-clear look at the warehouse treasure, we can certainly spot multiple American muscle cars, a one-off Oldsmobile pace car, some custom hot rods, and of course, molto Ferraris.

Tucked in among numerous other finds was this Bizzarrini P538—one of two in the collection out of the few remaining P538s still in existence. Kosilla spotted cars that hadn’t moved for as long as forty years with “caked-on layers of dust,” and this open-top P538 was no exception. The collection included not only this one, car number 003, but also Bizzarrini P538 number 004. 

The Bizzarrini as AMMO NYC found it., Screencap via AMMO NYC on YouTube

Giotto Bizzarrini designed this incredible car after his stint as the chief engineer of the Ferrari 250 GTO. This P538 was powered by a four-carb, 355-horsepower, 327 cubic-inch V8 from a Chevrolet Corvette behind the driver that fed into a five-speed manual transaxle built for racing. The very name comes from this layout, with P standing for “Posterior,” or the rear-engine layout of the car. 53 stands for the 5.3-liter engine and 8 denotes its V8. 

Unearthing this car from under the dust was like a miniature archeological dig. There was no water, so the AMMO NYC team used their own foam spray to get a good view of the paint underneath. The car was in surprisingly good condition under all that grime, with what looked like rusty mirrors turning out to be just brown schmutz on the outside. 

The open interior was also easier to clean up than you might expect, with a vacuum and a foaming seat cleaner doing the heavy lifting. As Kosilla explains, the key with a car of unknown condition is to start off gentle until you know what’s underneath. After that, a more intense lather and a steam cleaner wrapped in a towel helped bring the seats back to life. 

You can tell how grimy the cars in this collection are by all the dust on the car next to the Bizzarrini., Screencap via AMMO NYC on YouTube

Finally, a leather conditioner was applied to help restore the dried-out seats. The thirsty seats took several rounds of conditioner before they were soft again. 

Moral of the story: keeping cars inside is good, even if you sadly don’t drive them. As a site called The Drive, we still recommend driving those cars—not just for fun, but to keep the mechanical bits properly lubricated and in working condition.

Pressure from a steam cleaner later uncovered the details on the outside, followed by a gentle clay bar and polish job. This removed the top layer of dried-out paint and in turn, the swirls in the paint. Smaller tools worked on the details, which is always part of what makes these extensive detail jobs so fascinating to watch. No part was left untouched.  

The engine, which was in even better shape from being under a cover all these years, and really just needed a steam clean and some dusting. 

Engine bay before cleaning., Screencap via AMMO NYC on YouTube

If you want to see the full thirty-minute tour of just part of this insane car collection, Kosilla says that it’s coming up on the AMMO NYC YouTube channel. There’s a third building he hasn’t seen yet that promises to have even more automotive treasures that have remained unseen for decades. 

Finally, this ultra-rare Bizzarrini can to roll onto sales sites with its former beauty restored. Here’s hoping the next owner restores the mechanical bits as well after sitting that long, and shares its glory with the world once again. 

Got a tip? Send us a note:

h/t: Road & Track