The first Lamborghini to ever be made is the 350 GTV, which was later sold as a production model known as the 350 GT.
It all started when Ferrucio Lamborghini decided to bring his Ferrari for a simple repair. At the time Ferrucio was manufacturing tractors out of demilitarized equipment and had no intention in building supercars. However that day he approached Enzo Ferrari with a complaint about the clutch of his latest Ferrari. Enzo’s response to the complaint was, “What does a tractor maker know about super cars? Go back to your farm and leave the supercars to me”. In rage and insulted, Ferruccio took his Ferrari home and fixed the problem himself using a tractor clutch. This little repair would be his first step in a long journey in the automotive world.
1963 350 GTV
Lamborghini’s biggest issue with Ferrari’s supercars was the lack of quality. To avoid that, Lamborghini hired the best designers and car engineers. With a strong team behind him, Lamborghini created his first prototype car, the 350 GTV. The 350 was Lamborghini’s first 3.5-liter V12 supercar. It was first unveiled to the public in 1963, at the Turin Auto Show.
The new car created a stir in the media. This was because not only of its looks, but also because of the fact that this was a challenge to the famous Ferrari. At the same Auto show Lamborghini met a man named Carlo Anderloni, who at the time had gained fame for many Alfa Romeo bodies. They both joined forces and decided to create a more feasible production version of the prototype 350. Less than a year later, the team introduced a resigned version of the 350 GTV, and called it the 350 GT.
1964 350 GT
The 350 GT was first unveiled at the 1964 Geneva motor show, showing off its new tamed engine, streamlined chassis, and more elegantly designed body. The new beast’s four-cam V12 engine was reduced from 360 horsepower to 270, at 6,500 rpm. Like the concept 350 GTV, the production version had four-wheel independent suspension and an aluminum body.
The first production car of the 350 GT was built shortly after it’s unveiling. For production, the body of the 350 underwent a few changes. These changes included the replacement of the pop-up counterpart headlamps with fixed headlights. The manufacture of the bodies was entrusted to Touring of Milan. They used their patented Supperleggra method of construction, which fixed aluminum-alloy panels directly to a tube shaped structure. Production sales of the 350 GT started slow, with only 13 production models built in 1964.
The 350 GT soon impressed journalist and car enthusiasts around the world, and production increased to 25 cars per month. The follow year, Lamborghini introduced the groundbreaking mid-engined Miura as a rolling chassis at the 1965 Turin Auto show. Then covered by Gandini’s body design the 350 GT made yet another unveiling at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. Lamborghini sold a total of 120 production models of the 350 GT, over the next few years. Each car sold was practically hand-made, so the modifications were unpredictable. The grille was often revised, a second windshield wiper and cowl air intakes were added, and the leather dash was eventually replaced with a polished aluminum dash.
1966 400 GT
In that same time period (1965-1966) Lamborghini also created the option of the 400 GT. The 400 GT is basically a 350 GT with a larger, 4-liter, engine. It also, later, came equipped with a Islero steering wheel. The 400 GT had an increase in compression from 9.5 to 10.2:1, and had an increase of up to 320 horsepower at 6500rpm; and a new torque rating of 276 lb-ft at 4500rpm. Only 23 of these cars were built with this engine. Only three of the 23 cars made, was produced in skinned aluminum. The other 20 models were produced in heavier steel.
1966 400 GT 2+2
400 GT 2+2
In March of 1966 Lamborghini unveiled another car, with a similar styling of the 350 GT and 400 GT, at the Geneva Auto Show. This car was known as the 400 GT 2+2. The major exterior change of the 2+2’s design is a larger amount of headroom and seating. To create this amount of headroom and space, Lamborghini had to lower the floorpan, and raise the roof 2.6 inches, giving the 2+2 an overall height of 50.6 inches. Because of these changes the new car had a slightly taller appearance when viewed from the front. The front end also received the addition of a second windshield wiper, 4 circular sealed beam headlamps, and extra metal between the front wheel arch. In the rear, the trunk of the 2+2 was larger and the window was reduced. These details are what made the 2+2 different than its brother the 350GT.
Lamborghini powered the 2+2 with front mounted DOHC V12. This engine had 320 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, and a torque of 276bhp at 4,500rpm. The most notable change about this new car is that it now had a new transmission and differential. The new transmission had a Porsche styled baulk-ring synchronizer system on all five forward gears and reverse as well. This new transmission was agreed to be much smoother and quieter than the ZF unit of the 350 GT and 400 GT.
With the production figures of the 120 for the 350 GT and 224 for the 400 2+2, Lamborghini has earned the title of creating as rare car as any of the Ferraris. Even though Lamborghini is technically superior to the Ferrari, the 350 GT and 400 GT 2+2 are available at a fraction of the price of a similar Ferrari. The 350 GT was featured as the very first Lamborghini produced and is currently the only survivor with a three-seat interior. The Lamborghini badge also unique to the first 350 GTs. Overall, the 350 GT is a rare car that won its place in history as a one of the kind classic supercar.