LAMBORGHINI 350 GTV
Too futuristic? Too American? Too odd? The new Lamborghini 350 GTV with body by Franco Scaglione, launched in October 1963, didn’t cut it.
When Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916–93) complained about shortcomings in the Ferrari he had bought, Enzo Ferrari (1898–1988) is said to have remarked, ‘What does a tractor manufacturer know about sports cars?’
True or not, Ferrari road cars at that time, for all their speed, were doubtless carelessly made in many respects, and have even been referred to simply as ‘a cynical way to finance the racing team’. Lamborghini, on the other hand, went on to show that he knew a thing or two about cars.
An industrialist and tractor-building millionaire, Lamborghini, took on the task of creating a ‘supercar’ with immense seriousness, building an impressive new factory and assembling a strong design and development team from the incredible network of high-performance car experts that northern Italy had on offer.
Front seven-eighths view of the Lamborghini 350 GTV - By alfone45 (alfone45) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The fabulous #Lamborghini V12 engine, both sculptural and effective, was the work of Giotto Bizzarrini (1926–), who had formerly worked at Ferrari, though some reports, perhaps mischievously, suggested a consultancy involvement from Honda.
However, when the car was first shown at the 1963 Turin Motor Show, the engine had not yet been installed, so Lamborghini apologized for not being able to open the door or hood, exclaiming, ‘My mechanic has forgotten the keys, the cretino!’
The styling of this first model was entrusted to former Bertone designer Franco Scaglione (1916–93) and was a little odd, the front end reflecting, perhaps, the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.
Even a loyal company history admits that ‘approval of its styling was by no means unanimous’. But on the road the 350 was really good and, cleaned up stylistically by Touring of Milan, allowed Lamborghini to do what many have tried but few have achieved – to create an enduring new supercar brand.
Rear three-quarter view of the Lamborghini 350 GTV - By Craig Howell from San Carlos, CA, USA; cropped and adjusted by uploader Mr.choppers (Lamborghini 350 GTV) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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After the 1963 Turin Motor Show the car lay in storage for over 20 years until it was sold to car dealer Patrick Bernardoni in 1985.
For several of its forgotten years the 350 GTV was placed outside, where it was exposed to the elements, in order to free up more space in the Lamborghini factory.
It was eventually sold to Bernardoni on the condition that he would restore it to its original state.
After a lengthy restoration process, the car was completed in 1990 and driven for the first time.
The car is now on show at the Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy.
Some text taken from 50 Cars that Changed the World published by Conran Octopus with permission.