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  Lamborghini 400 GT      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1966 - 1968
Numbers built:23
Designed by:Touring
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 04, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOn one fateful day in the early 1960s, Enzo Ferrari lost a loyal customer and gained a major competitor. On this day he told Ferruccio Lamborghini, who came in with a complaint about his latest Ferrari, that Lamborghini should stick to building tractors and leave building sports cars to him. A determined Lamborghini ignored the second half of the 'Old Man's' comments and the rest is, as they say, history.

Lamborghini's biggest problem with Ferrari was the lack of quality, so for his own creation he left nothing to chance and hired some of the best engineers and designers. The best known of these was no doubt Giotto Bizzarrini, who had recently left Ferrari where was responsible for the highly successful 250 GT racing cars. For Lamborghini he designed a state of the art 3.5 litre V12 engine with twin overhead camshafts. Six twin-choke Webers were fitted horizontally between the camshafts to make the engine low enough to fit under the bonnet. Initially it produced over 350 bhp, but Lamborghini was not interested in a peaky racing engine and he had Bizzarrini retune it to produce 280 bhp. A 320 bhp version was available as an option.

For the overall design, Lamborghini employed Franco Scaglione, who until this day is one of the most underrated designers of the era. His previous work included the Alfa Romeo BATs and more recently the ATS 2500 GT and influences of both were found in the very elegant GT he penned for Lamborghini. His work was turned to metal by Sargiotto Bodyworks and fitted on a square steel tube chassis built by Neri & Bonacini. Many of the remaining mechanicals like the five speed gearbox were sourced from third parties. Not equipped with an engine yet, the Lamborghini 350 GTV debuted at the 1963 Turin Motorshow.

Over the next months, much work was done to make the Lamborghini sports car production ready. Carrozzeria Touring was commissioned to smoothen out the body with the replacement of the pop-up headlights as the biggest noticeable change. Many more details were altered to the extent that the Touring body was almost completely new. Under the supervision of chief engineer Giampaolo Dallara, Neri & Bonacini continued the work on the chassis, which was independently sprung all around. In the spring of 1964, the Lamborghini 350 GT was ready for production and unveiled in Geneva. It was welcomed by the press with universal praise and once behind the wheel the praise turned into admiration.

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