Forgotten icon: Lamborghini 400 GT Monza
Made to look like 250 GTO's brother
When Ferruccio Lamborghini presented his new car company in 1964, the world was amazed how some tractor-builder had the nerves to challenge the great Prancing Horse. But, with their first model 350GT, Lamborghini put themselves on the map. After getting a lot of attention and praise, they already started working on its successor, the 400GT. Both the 350 and 400 were styled by the famous Carrozzeria Touring, and were really beautiful. But, Ferruccio wasn't really satisfied with 400GT's look. While Ferrari was making every car enthusiast wet with the 275 GTB and 330 GT, Lamborghini was seeking some help.
Many coachbuilding companies took their shots, but Ferruccio wasn't happy with the results. To be honest, if I were him, I'd be unhappy too. Despite looking elegant, the 400GT didn't have that "exotic" vibe. It could've easily been mistaken for a Fiat. But, Italian coachbuilders Neri & Bonacini made the most exotic 400GT-the Monza.
These coachbuilders were known for making Ferrari and Maserati racing cars, so that meant that they knew their job. They were working with Lamborghini from the start, but only by supplying chassis and engines. However, one day they decided to make their own version of Lamborghini's grand tourer. The 400 Monza was quite different than the standard one, with its cockpit sitting low, new grille that looks like it's going to bite you, and an overall design that made it look like 250 GTO's evil twin.
The project was constantly supervised by Ferruccio, who wanted to see if the car would look better than the standard 400GT. It featured the same 3.9-litre 320hp V12 from the standard model. The 400GT Monza was completed in 1966, when it was presented at the Barcelona Motor Show. It gained a lot of attention but, sadly, it remained a one-off. In fact, it was sold to a wealthy Spanish race car driver, who used it as his daily car. After clocking an impressive 7.163 km on the odometer, the owner left the 400GT Monza in one of his garages in Spain. Lying there with some old motorcycles and a powerboat, the car became forgotten.
It sat there for almost 30 years, having many enthusiasts speculate about its fate. Then, in early 1990s, the owner passed away. When his family found the car, they didn't pay much attention to it. Finally, in 1996, they contacted the famous Bonhams who identified it as the missing Lamborghini Monza. The car was in its (almost) original shape, with nothing being touched or replaced since 1966; even the engine was running well. When Bonhams got their hands on it, they borrowed the car to the Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata.
After the car spent some time amongst its family members in the museum, it was given back to Bonhams. In 2005, at an auction in London, the Lamborghini 400GT Monza was sold for $315.000. Whoever the owner is, I hope that he'll take care of it and not forget about it.