The feud between Enzo Ferrari and Feruccio Lamborghini is a famous and often recounted example of what happens when strong personalities have a disagreement. But from a motoring enthusiast’s perspective, the car born out of that clash is probably equally memorable. The first Lamborghini car was the 350 GT unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. Unsurprisingly, it followed a set up closely mimicking Ferraris of that era – the 350 GT was a front engined, V12 powered, rear drive grand tourer. The car originally came with a 3.5 litre motor good for 280 bhp and a top speed of 152 mph (245 kph). The initial design was the work of Giotto Bizzarini, who too had had a tumultuous past with Ferrari, while the coachwork for the production models was by Touring of Milan. The styling was decidedly more sedate than the later mid engined cars like the Countach and Miura.
The car seen here though is the later Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 seen recently at the Bonhams Auction. This car was unveiled in 1966 and featured an updated 4.0 litre V12 good for 330 bhp. This pushed the top speed up to 156 mph (251 kph) and the car now had a 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) time of 7.5s. Another change was the new 5 speed gearbox developed in-house which replaced the earlier ZF unit. This also came in the roomier 2+2 configuration, making it a comfortable long distance cruiser. This car is also especially unique for having been originally delivered to the Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney at the height of the band’s popularity in the late 60s. Built in 1967, the car was one of only 224 ever built and one of only four imported into the UK by the importer Mitchell & Britten and was specially modified into right hand drive configuration by Hoovers. The car has been in exceptionally good condition and has had regular work done to its throughout its life to keep it up to speed.
The Lamborghini 400 GT, while not the most iconic of Lamborghinis and some way off what the brand would eventually stand for, is still notable for being the first compelling challenge to Ferrari’s dominance from within Italy. It was a unique alternative to the more race focused Ferraris and was approachable to a much wider clientele. Photos Courtesy: Bonhams.